This recipe starts with The Healthy Cook's Simple Lentil Soup. Got leftovers? Jazz them up with these toppings for Mexican Lentil Soup.

This recipe was developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at

Simple Lentil Soup

Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 9 cups


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ lb. (1¼ cups) black, green, brown, or red lentils, or yellow split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 15 oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large heavy pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Sauté the onion and carrots until lightly browned, 5–7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 25–30 minutes (15–20 minutes for red lentils or yellow split peas). Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  3. Optional: For a smoother consistency, purée some or all of the soup with a hand blender.
  4. Season with the salt and pepper. (Don’t worry if you don’t use all the soup. It freezes beautifully.)

Mexican Lentil Soup

Purée 2 cups of the Simple Lentil Soup in a blender with 1 chipotle in adobo or 1 tsp. chipotle powder. In a medium pot, bring the puréed soup plus 2 more cups of the basic soup to a simmer. Top each cup of soup with a few thin slices of fresh chile pepper (try jalapeño, fresno, or serrano), 1/8 of a sliced avocado, and a few fresh cilantro leaves.

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 cup Simple Lentil Soup + Mexican toppings):

  • Calories: 200
  • Total fat: 9 g
  • Sat fat: 1 g
  • Carbs: 24 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Total sugar: 4 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Sodium: 380 mg

Photo: Kate Sherwood/CSPI.