Shelf stable soup has come a long way from the days of the emergency can hidden deep in the pantry for years on end. With light weight long life pouches now readily available, they are also much lighter to pack and carry and the varieties are endless. I tend to use soups as a base for something else, they have already done most of the work for you by combining a range of ingredients and doing all the cooking. This recipe was thrown together at the end of a long day when I wanted something healthy but with minimal effort.


200g chicken breast

600g pouch/can of tomato-based vegetable soup

½ cup red lentils

1 chicken stock cube

1 cup of water

Pinch of chilli (optional)

Bread to serve


  1. Heat a pan over medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Cook chicken breast for 5 minutes each side, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. In a large pot, combine soup, lentils, stock cube and water. Add chilli and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and check seasoning before adding chicken.
  3. Shred chicken with a fork or clean hands, add to the stew and mix through. Serve in bowls with bread on the side, see tip below.

Serves 2-3


  • Choose a soup base that already has a good vegetable content. A minestrone works well as they often contain kidney beans as well meaning you can omit the lentils if you want.
  • You can also cook the chicken directly in the stew if you want to keep it to a one pot meal. Cut chicken into thin strips and cook for 5-6 minutes in the simmering stew
  • Brush bead with olive oil and grill before serving


  • Any flavour soup that appeals or is available can be used. Asian style curry soups are great bases for a chicken stew, follow the steps above and omit lentils/beans
  • Lentils can be swapped for any canned beans, or omitted
  • Dehydrated vegetable soups can also be used as a back country or light weight option. Re-hydrate as per instructions and follow recipe as above
  • Canned chicken or sliced dried sausage can be added in place of fresh meat as a back country option

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