Gluten Free

Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips

7/10/2019 11:10:00 PM

Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips. It's a super comforting and hearty soup, loaded with vegetables and lentils, and the spicy-smoky hit of chipotle chillies. It's full of protein and is incidentally vegan and gluten free. The chipotle tortilla chips are an amazing topping (or general snack), all crunchy and corny and smoky and salty. Together they make the ultimate healthy winter warmer!

Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips
Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips

I'm not a big winter person, but I unequivocally love winter food. Stews, soups, braises, sizzling bibimbap, pasta bakes covered in melted cheese, hot puddings - basically, if it sticks to your ribs, I want it in my belly. Of course, this type of food isn't always the healthiest, so I'm super thrilled to be sharing this recipe for Mexican lentil soup with you today! It's one of those unicorn recipes that's hearty and comforting, but still incredibly healthy and full of vegetables and nutrients.

Ingredients for Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips
Ingredients for Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips

I also love the bright colours of the ingredients - I'm all about bringing summery brightness into my life through my cooking. Don't you feel cheered up just looking at all those vibrant colours?

The soup is based on a medley of vegetables - carrots, onion, celery, capsicum, tomatoes - spiced up with the warming flavours of garlic, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika and chipotle chilli. Vegetable stock is your liquid, and red lentils add body and protein. It's also easy and quite quick to cook, as the red lentils only take about twenty minutes. In fact, the trickiest part is chopping all the vegetables at the start, but after that you're really just chucking everything into a pot and stirring occasionally.

Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips
Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips

I based this recipe on one I got from my buddy Jimbo (of "Jenbo" fame), which he found on Yummy Mummy Kitchen. Jimbo used to be my work BFF many years ago, but has since moved to Malaysia with his partner and is in charge of running the household and cooking. Where we once talked about business requirements and where to get the best espresso martinis in the CBD, we're now exchanging easy and healthy weeknight recipes. Sunrise, sunset!

I've made the soup a couple of times, adapting and tweaking it each time to my tastes and to the ingredients we have available in Australia, and now I've landed on the combo that I absolutely love. Firstly, red lentils instead of green. (Just because I always have them in the pantry and they cook faster). And crucially, chipotle chillies in adobo, rather than canned diced green chillies. I haven't seen canned diced green chillies in the shops here, and for my first attempt I used a fresh jalapeƱo. The spiciness was nice, but the overall flavours were a little flat. Using a chipotle chilli added a fabulous smokiness and heat, really taking it up a notch. (I recently learned that chipotles are just ripened and smoked jalapeƱos. Mind blown). Cans of chipotle chillies in adobo used to be a bit of a specialty ingredient here in Australia, and I used to have to search for them at gourmet stores, but they seem to be becoming more prevalent and more and more supermarkets have started stocking them. Woo.

I'll also add that while I'm calling this a "Mexican Lentil Soup", I'm certainly not making any claims to authenticity, and I have no idea if any soups like this actually exist in Mexico. It's just a plain old lentil soup with a delicious Mexican-inspired flavour profile: chipotle chilli, cumin, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika and so on.

Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips
Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips

Let's talk about the toppings! Fresh lime, fresh coriander, and avocado are a must. I also love a generous dollop of sour cream. (This of course de-veganises the soup; dairy avoiders and vegans replace the sour cream with your favourite non-dairy alternative, or simply leave it out). The last time I made this soup, I also made some chipotle tortilla chips in the air-fryer, and let me tell you, they were out of this world! Total game changer. I had some corn tortillas lying around, so while the soup was simmering, I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with chipotle seasoning. (Another chipotle-based product that's recently become available at my local supermarket! It's a mix of chipotle chilli powder, salt, sugar, and garlic powder. If you can't find it, I'd suggest using a mix of those component ingredients. Or even just salt! They'll still be good). I cut the tortillas into eight wedges each, and then cooked them in the air-fryer for five minutes at 180C. My experiment worked! They came out crispy and hot and so delicious. They were so fab on top of the soup as a crunchy kinda Mexi-crouton, but were also amazing dipped in guacamole as a snack. Give them a go!

Mexican Lentil Soup with Chipotle Tortilla Chips
With all the fixings...

I totally love this soup! I feel extra virtuous eating a big vegetable-based meal, but totally warmed and comforted at the same time. This is NOT your sad desk salad!

Mexican Lentil Soup
A Recipe by Sarah Cooks, primarily adapted from Yummy Mummy Kitchen

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, chopped into small cubes
2 sticks of celery, chopped into small cubes
1 red capsicum, chopped into small cubes
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 chipotle chilli in adobo sauce (from a can), finely shopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 x 400 gram tin chopped tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock
1/4 cup red lentils
To serve: fresh coriander, sour cream (omit to keep it vegan), avocado, lime wedges, chipotle tortilla chips (see recipe below)

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
Add the onion, carrot, celery and capsicum. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, approximately 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, chipotle chilli, cumin, smoked paprika, and dried oregano and cook for a further few minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock and red lentils and stir well. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the red lentils are cooked.
Serve in shallow bowls with coriander, sour cream, avocado, lime wedges and chipotle tortilla chips on the side for people to add to taste.
Serves 4 as a main, more as a starter

Chipotle Tortilla Chips
A Recipe by Sarah Cooks

4 x corn tortillas
Extra virgin olive oil
Chipotle seasoning

Brush the corn tortillas with olive oil and sprinkle with chipotle seasoning. Cut each tortilla into eight wedges, and cook in an AirFryer for 5 minutes at 180C.
Note: if you don't have an air fryer, they can be cooked in the oven, or deep-fried.
Note: chipotle seasoning is available at my local supermarket in the spice aisle, and is a mixture of salt, sugar, garlic powder and dried chipotle chilli powder.

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

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  1. This sounds so delicious and I love the colour! So much winter food is brown, brown, brown haha.

  2. Like you I don't like winter but winter food is awesome and pretty much the only thing that gets me through it!



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