Mexican Lentil Soup – Vegan & Gluten-Free

It’s soup weather!  The leaves are turning and there’s a chill in the air, so what better thing to make than a spicy, Mexican soup?  This soup was inspired by a trip to Mexico.  I was eating tortilla soup on a gorgeous outdoor cafe and realized that I might be able to duplicate the texture of the soup with lentils.  I’m happy to say that it worked perfectly and the result is this healthy and delicious Mexican lentil soup.

Mexican Lentil Soup - Soup Close Up

You are going to need some dried chile peppers.  Do not be intimidated by them…they’re your friends and they will make this soup delicious with a deep, rich flavour that you can’t get elsewhere.  They’re also really easy to work with and can be stored in your pantry for ages!  Get some.

Mexican Lentil Soup - Chili Peppers

For my soup, I use:

– 2 Chiles Ancho

– 2 Chiles Guajillo

– 3 Chiles de Arbol

Don’t be worried about using so many chiles here – these are NOT super spicy, blow your head off chiles.  This combination produces a deep, rich, sweet and slightly spicy flavour.  Start by taking the stem end off of each and taking out the seeds and anything else you find in there.

Mexican Lentil Soup - Deseeding

Fry the chiles in a pan over medium heat for about 30 – 45 seconds, turning occasionally (I use tongs for this.)  The chiles will change colour and get shinier. Place your roasted chiles in a bowl or measuring cup and cover with boiling water.  Set these aside to soak while you get on with the soup.  I usually put a small plate on top as well to keep the chiles submerged.

Mexican Lentil Soup - Toasting  

Now roughly chop:

– One Onion

– 2 Carrots

– 2 Stalks of Celery

Saute these in about a tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot until they are just starting to turn golden (about 10 minutes.)

Mexican Lentil Soup - Veggies

Now add to the pot:

– 1 teaspoon cumin, freshly ground

– 1 tsp coriander, freshly ground

– 5 cloves of garlic, chopped


Saute another minute or so to toast the spices and add:

– 1 can (14.5 oz) of tomato (I love to use the fire roasted tomatoes here!)

– 6 cups of water or veggie broth

Stir and salt (generously) to taste.

Mexican Lentil Soup - Soaked Peppers  

Time to get back to those chiles!  I like to use a hand blender to puree them, but you can also just use a regular blender.  Puree peppers until they are a thick paste and add them to the pot.  Some people strain their peppers, I don’t, but feel free to strain them through a fine mesh strainer, if you’re that kind of person.

Mexican Lentil Soup - Pureed Peppers  

Now add 1 cup of red lentils to the pot and give it a stir.  Simmer the soup for about 20 min (until lentils are tender) and then blitz the whole thing with your hand blender or blender.   Add salt to taste and the juice of one lime.  This soup is even better the next day, but who can wait?

Mexican Lentil Soup - Soup Spread  

Serve with as many fixings as you like!  Suggestions include:

– Wedges of lime

– Thinly sliced cabbage

– Cilantro

– Finely diced onion (I like to run mine under some water to remove the “fire”)

– Diced avocado

– Hot sauce

For those that love dairy, you can also put out:

– Cheese (almost any kind is good here, from crumbly Queso Fresco to regular mozzarella or cheddar)

– Sour Cream or Greek yogurt

Mexican Lentil Soup - Spread Close Up

This is a great dish for a group since everyone can customize their meal.  You could even put some shredded chicken on the table for the meat lover to add.


Mexican Lentil Soup
A delicious tortilla soup made with lentils instead of tortillas!
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  1. 2 chiles Ancho
  2. 2 chiles Guajillo
  3. 3 chiles de Arbol
  4. 1 medium onion
  5. 2 carrots
  6. 2 stalks of celery
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin, freshly ground
  8. 1 tsp coriander, freshly ground
  9. 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  10. 1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomato
  11. 6 cups of water or veggie stock
  12. 1 cup of red lentils
  13. 1 lime (additional wedges for serving)
  1. Remove stems and seeds from the chiles
  2. Fry the chiles in a pan over medium heat for about 30 – 45 seconds, turning occasionally with tongs
  3. Please toasted chiles in a bowl or measuring cup and cover with boiling water, set aside
  4. Roughly chop onion, carrots and celery
  5. Saute veggies in large soup pot over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil for 10 minutes
  6. Add cumin, coriander and garlic and saute for another minute
  7. Add tomato and water or veggie stock
  8. Stir and add salt to taste
  9. Using a hand or regular blender, puree the chiles into a thick paste
  10. Add chile paste and lentils to pot
  11. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  12. Puree soup with hand blender (or in a regular one)
  13. Add juice of one lime and more salt, if required
  14. Serve with as many fixings as you like
This Fox Cooks http://www.thisfoxcooks.com/


  1. Greg

    Hello Fox! Made this tonight and the family really enjoyed it. Definitely a keeper recipe! Absolutely delicious. I loved all the different pepper flavours and the texture was just right. Yum!

    1. Rasa

      Thanks Greg! So glad that you and everyone enjoyed it!

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