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Chili-Spiced Lentil Soup Recipe

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You’re going to love this chili-spiced Mexican lentil soup recipe! Not only is this lentil vegetable soup made with just 7 basic ingredients (plus spices), but it’s also ready in about 30 minutes, making it a great weeknight dinner option. It’s delicious, hearty, and full of nutritious ingredients. Naturally vegetarian and vegan, serve with plenty of toppings for a flavorful meal.

If you love soups (winter staple at our house!), my easy minestrone soup and vegetarian ramen noodles are two other great vegetarian soup options.

Bowl of Mexican lentil soup with garnishes

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

What You’ll Love About Lentil Vegetable Soup

  • Delicious taco flavors
  • Easy to make (just 10 min prep) 
  • Made with nutritious ingredients 
  • Great recipe to freeze for later
  • Plant-based (vegan and vegetarian) 
  • Family friendly


This lentil vegetable soup is made up of basic ingredients:

  • Olive oil – Use a high quality olive oil for best flavor.
  • Onion – I’ve used a white onion, but you could also use a yellow onion.
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic for best flavor. If you want a shortcut, try frozen garlic cubes, they are better than jarred.
  • Lentils – I recommend using green or brown lentils (French green lentils also work!). You could use red lentils, but they cook faster, so you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. They also don’t stay intact as much as other varieties, which I like.
  • Spices – Chili powder, cumin, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and paprika.
  • Vegetable broth – Use your favorite vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought).
  • Marinara sauce – My secret soup ingredient! Make sure you are using a plain marinara, not an Italian or basil flavored sauce.
  • Corn – Use frozen corn to keep this really easy.
  • Toppings – See the full list below, but I highly recommend fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro at a minimum!
Ingredients to make Mexican lentil soup recipe

Topping Ideas

You’ll want to serve this lentil soup with a few of these toppings:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Diced or sliced avocados
  • Diced onions
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salsa
  • Hot sauce

How to Make Mexican Lentil Soup

Let’s make this vegan lentil soup! It comes together in just a few simple steps:

  • Sauté aromatics. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and
  • sauté until soft. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  • Toast lentils and spices. Add lentils and spices to dutch oven and stir to coat lentils with spice mixture.
Lentils and spices in dutch oven
  • Simmer soup. Add vegetable broth, water, and marinara sauce to lentils and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, but still intact.
Lentil vegetable soup in dutch oven
  • Serve soup. Season soup with salt and black pepper to taste and desired toppings.
Mexican lentil soup in bowls with toppings

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mexican lentil soup vegetarian?

Yes, this Mexican lentil soup is vegetarian and vegan. Be sure to check your toppings as the cheese and sour cream are obviously dairy so if you’re trying to keep this vegan, swap those out with your favorite alternatives or skip.

Is lentil soup good for you?

Yes, lentil soup is good for you! (Even though this question + answer is totally subjective.) But yes, considering that this soup is loaded with plant-based protein, fiber, and vegetables…it’s made with a lot of nutritious ingredients.

What kind of lentils can I use?

I recommend using brown or green lentils, but French lentils also work. The only variety I don’t recommend is red lentils as those tend to fall apart a bit. If you prefer that style, you can certainly use them, you may just need to adjust the cooking time.

Bowls of vegetable lentil soup

Storage Instructions

Store the soup in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How to reheat

Reheat soup in a saucepan or microwave until hot.

Can you freeze lentil soup?

Yes, you can freeze lentil soup! Divide soup into souper cubes and freeze until solid. At that point you can transfer into a freezer bag (stasher bags work well).

Frozen lentil soup

How to Serve Mexican Lentil Chili to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in. 😉

To be totally honest, I wasn’t sure how my kids were going to feel about this soup. But serving with tortilla chips helps any meal, and it turns out that they loved it! Since we don’t know what they will think, I would serve with a few sides (milk, fruit, bread) so that if they decide not to eat the soup, they still have enough to eat.

All of my articles on feeding kids can be found here and if you want a FULL list of all of the videos I have with hacks, tips, scripts, and ideas for feeding kids, check out my instagram or tiktok page.

Bowl of vegetable lentil soup with toppings

What to Serve with Lentil Soup

I love this lentil vegetable soup all on its own (with some toppings of course!), but if you’re looking to add some more, try one of these easy side dishes:

More Easy Soup Recipes

If you like this easy lentil soup recipe, you might like some of these other easy soup recipes too:

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Bowl of Mexican lentil soup with garnishes

Chili-Spiced Lentil Soup Recipe

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan
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This Mexican lentil soup recipe is made with just 7 ingredients + spices and cooks in 30 min. It’s an easy family-friendly weeknight diner.


Units Scale

For Soup: 

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups green or brown lentils
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 24 oz. marinara sauce (not Italian or basil)
  • 2 cups frozen corn

Optional Toppings:

  • sliced green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • lime wedges
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • tortilla chips


  1. Prepare ingredients:
    Dice onion.
    Mince garlic. 

  2. Heat oil in dutch oven or heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute, until fragrant.

  3. Add lentils and seasonings to pot, stirring to coat everything with the spices. Cook about 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

  4. Pour in vegetable broth, water, and marinara sauce and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally for about 15-25 minutes, until lentils are soft, but still intact.

  5. Stir in corn and cook for another few minutes, until corn is heated through.

  6. Serve soup with toppings as desired.


Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Keywords: Mexican lentil soup, Mexican lentil soup recipe, lentil vegetable soup

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