This southwest-inspired soup is made with hearty lentils, sweet corn, diced tomatoes, and plenty of seasoning to create a delicious, veggie-packed soup!

mexican lentil soup
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I love lentils. They’re affordable, they last a long time in your pantry, and they’re a great source of protein and fiber. They make a great, hearty base for this plant-based soup, and once you try it, you’ll fall in love! The seasonings in this soup might remind you of your favorite tacos and while there is a hint of spicy flavor, the heat is pretty mild so this is a great recipe for the whole family.

This style of recipe is often called Mexican lentil soup, and that might be exactly what you searched for to find this recipe. But since this isn’t an authentic Mexican recipe, I’m calling it as Southwestern Lentil Soup.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Olive Oil– This helps enhance the flavors, but you can use additional broth to sauté the vegetables if you want to keep this recipe oil-free.
  • Mirepoix– The onion, carrot, and celery are a traditional mirepoix base. If you’re missing an ingredient, check out this post for substitution options.
  • Chili powder– This adds a smoky, slightly spicy flavor.
  • Cumin– This adds additional flavor with a hint of earthy spice.
  • Oregano– Dried oregano adds a savory slightly floral flavor.
  • Garlic– Don’t skimp on the garlic! If you don’t have fresh garlic you can use minced garlic. In a pinch, you can use one teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Lentils– You need to use brown or green lentils for this recipe. Red lentils break down too quickly and won’t work in this recipe. If you want to use red lentils, try my Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup.
  • Corn– Canned corn adds a little sweetness to the soup. Be sure to use canned sweet corn, not creamed corn. You can substitute with frozen corn.
  • Tomatoes– I used canned diced tomatoes with green chilies. You could substitute with fire-roasted diced tomatoes if you want to add a little smoky flavor. If you can’t find them in a 14.5oz can size, please use two 10oz cans.
  • Vegetable Broth– I like Edward & Son’s “Not-Chicken” style broth, but any style broth is fine.
  • Lime juice– adds a little bit of acid to the soup and helps brighten the overall flavor.

Benefits of Lentils

Lentils contain 9 grams of protein per 1⁄2-cup servingA bowl of lentil soup like this one can provide more than 20 grams of protein. Plus, they’re very affordable! They last a long time in the pantry so I recommend stocking up the next time you’re at the grocery store!

Types of Lentils

There are different types of lentils, and they can be used for different things. This soup is best with brown or green lentils. These lentils soften, but they don’t completely break down. They give this soup a nice, hearty texture. Red lentils break down easily, so they’re great in a soup like this immunity boosting soup, but they wouldn’t work as well in this soup. Black lentils hold their shape even after they’ve been cooked, making them a great option for salads! But I wouldn’t use black lentils in this recipe, as they’re too firm for this soup.

How to Make Mexican Lentil Soup