This sopa de lentejas (Mexican lentil soup) is loaded with amazing flavors and aromas. From the spicy chorizo, to the fantastic spices, this soup is the perfect comfort food to warm you up during the coldest months.
What are lentejas
Lentejas (lentils, in english) are a legume and a staple in many gastronomies around the world. In Mexico you’ll find various dishes made with this food, the most popular is a simple soup made with lentils, spices and a light tomato sauce that is served mostly during the Lent season.
How to cook lentejas
There are many ways of cooking this legume, and depending on the type or age of the product you might need first to soak them overnight. The most easy way of cooking is just boiling them with water and salt, then use them in various recipes. Just remember, the older the lentils are, the more time they’ll need to cook.
Do lentils need to be soaked?
Depends. If lentils are not too old or bad quality, you don’t really need to soak them. It is enough just to rinse them with cold water.
- LENTILS: I cooked my lentils only with a pinch of salt as they will absorb all flavor when cooked with the other ingredients anyway. Feel free to use canned lentils, but give them a quick rinse to get rid of their preservative liquid before adding them to the pot.
- CHORIZO: I am using my homemade chorizo for this recipe. Can’t tell you enough how easy is to make. Of course, a shortcut is using store-bought, just make sure is Mexican chorizo which is not same as Spanish chorizo.
- SPICES: The star without doubts is the chipotle powder, really. It gives a nice smoky flavor to this lentil soup. If you can’t find chipotle powder you can use canned chipotle in adobo or, at last resource, smoked paprika. The rest of spices are pretty much in everyone’s pantry, such as garlic, pepper, cumin, and oregano.
- VEGETABLES: Once you use tomatoes and onions as a base for the soup, pretty much you can add any vegetables your want. I’ve added just carrots and potatoes but think of zucchini, green beans or celery.
- MEATLESS: During the Lent season, a meatless version of Mexican lentil soup is served. It is a simple version made with recaudo (tomato, onion and garlic blended) and various vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, calabacitas (zucchini) and chayotes. Even without chorizo or other types of meat, this lentejas soup is so delicious because of the different spices that add a depth of flavor.
- YUCATAN STYLE: With bacon, Spanish chorizo, pork meat, ham, cabbage and plantains. Is called potaje de lentejas yucateco and is served every Thursday, as the tradition calls.
- CHICKEN: Use chicken drums to make lentejas con pollo. Cook the chicken for 15 minutes with a little bit of oil, then add it alongside with the lentils, it will need about 30 minutes to cook, so adjust the liquids accordingly.
Mexican Lentil Soup Recipe
Cook the lentils with the method you prefer (stove, slow cooker, pressure pot, etc). I cooked mine with just salt and just until al dente, so they will finish cooking with the other ingredients.
In a deep braising pan or a medium stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes or until slightly translucent.
Add chorizo, set the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes while stirring constantly and breaking it with the back of a spoon.
Add the tomato sauce and the spices mixture, cook while stirring for 2 minutes, just the time to make the spices to release their aroma and flavor the tomato sauce.
Add the lentils and the vegetables, cover all ingredients with chicken stock or water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook for 25-30 minutes. Adjust with salt and add more water if needed.
Now, from here you can adjust the thickness of this Mexican lentil soup by adding more water or allowing to evaporate until your desired consistency. You can even use a potato masher and mash a bit the soup, to make it thicker. Is really up to you.
How To Serve
- Lentejas soup can be served straight away with warm corn tortillas, flour tortillas or even with bolillo rolls (I love the last because I can dip it in the broth!).
- You can also serve with a dollop of Mexican crema, chopped cilantro and avocado slices.
Make It Vegan
For a vegan, yet tasty version of this Mexican lentil soup, leave out the chorizo (or replace with vegan chorizo!) and use a vegetable stock instead of chicken. Serve with avocado, cilantro, fresh hot chilies, squeeze of lime and tortilla chips (totopos).
This is a prep meal
I love making lentejas because they are a wonderful prep meal. Normally I’d cook a large batch and divide it into small portions to store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to 3 months.
How To Reheat
Place the lentejas leftovers in a deep pan. Because the lentils will soak some moisture, just make sure to add a splash of water and heat over medium heat stirring from time to time.
Other Mexican Soups You Might Like
- Sopa de Fideo. The most loved soup for Mexicans, super easy to make and so delicious.
- Caldo de Res. Beef soup with vegetables, served with Mexican red rice, this soup is a staple in the Mexican cuisine.
- Caldo de Queso. A delicious cheese and potato soup from Sonora.
- Albóndigas. Meatballs soup loaded with veggies, this classic Mexican soup is a must try!
- Mole de Olla. A brothy version of mole, loaded with beef and veggies.
Watch How To Make It
Thank you for watching this video and post, hope you liked the recipe and let us know if you made it.
Lentejas (Mexican lentil soup)
- 3 cups cooked brown lentils (read notes)
- 7 oz Mexican chorizo (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 can tomato sauce (14 oz)
- 1 small onion (chopped)
- 2 medium carrots (peeled and cut into small cubes)
- 1 large potato (peeled and cut into small cubes)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp chipotle powder (or smoked paprika)
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 1 ½ tsp oregano
- 1 small bunch of cilantro (chopped)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 cups water or chicken broth
- salt (to taste)
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a stock pot. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes or until slightly translucent.
- Add chorizo, set the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce and the spices mixture, cook stirring for 2 minutes.
- Add the lentils, carrots and potatoes.
- Pour in the chicken stock (or water) and bring to a boil.
- Cover and cook for about 25-30 minutes over medium-low heat, adding more water if necessary.
- Adjust with salt and allow the soup to thick to your desired consistency (read notes).
- Serve warm with homemade tortillas or bolillo bread.
- 3 cups of cooked lentils are about 1 ½ cups of uncooked lentils.
- At the end, you can adjust the thickness of this soup by adding more water or allowing to evaporate until your desired consistency. You can even use a potato masher and mash a bit the soup, to make it thicker.