Mexican Lentil Soup

Mexican Lentil Soup

(Sopa de Lentejas)

Darlene Winter


  • 1 1/4 cups brown or green lentils, cleaned & rinsed
  • 8 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2  large onion, not diced
  • 1 bay leaf, dried
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper
  • 4 springs cilantro


1.  Place your lentils in a medium sauce pot, add water, onion and bay leaf. Bring to a low simmer and let cook for 20 minutes.

2.  While lentils are cooking, make a small incision using a sharp knife on the tip of the serrano pepper (like an X). Set a large sauce pan to medium heat and add the diced onion. Let the onions cook until translucent and tender, about 4-5 minutes. If it begins to stick to the pan add a little bit of water.

3.  Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add diced tomato and chile serrano (whole) and cook until the tomato has broken own, about 6 minutes.

4.  Remove the half of onion and the bay leaf from the lentils, and add the vegetable mixture, and cilantro springs to the pot. Simmer slowly for about 8 minutes.

5.  Remove the cilantro sprigs and whole serrano pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6.  Optional: Cut the serrano pepper into rounds and add it back to the pot to make the soup extra spicy. 

You can make this in an Instant Pot, below are the directions:

Instant Pot Instructions for Mexican Lentil Soup

Start by Sautéing the onion, tomato and Chile by using the “SAUTE” button on the Instant Pot. Once the vegetables are tender add lentils, add cilantro springs and water or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer. Turn off Instant Pot and place cover on top. Adjust setting to “MANUAL” and cook for 18 minutes. Let it stand to release pressure naturally, at least 10 minutes.

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