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Kalyn's Kitchen

Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro (Video)

This Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro was a hit at my annual soup party this year, and this delicious and inexpensive dish is low-glycemic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and if you use portion control it can be South Beach Diet phase one! Use Stew Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

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Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

This amazing Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro is another soup I made for my annual soup party this January, and even though I didn’t mind the original photos for this dish, I couldn’t resist updating them with better ones when I had the chance. This soup was a huge hit at the party, and when I looked at the notes for the original post, I noticed that I made it for a soup party in 2010 as well, when I first posted the recipe!

The soup was adapted from this recipe from Budget Bytes, who had adapted it from Andrea Meyers, so you can tell the recipe has had a lot of fans! I love red lentils in soup because they cook quickly and dissolve into the soup more than regular lentils, and in this soup the lentils are seasoned with turmeric, ground cumin, and chile powder. Those spices plus the combination of lime and cilantro makes this soup a winner for me. I eat mine with a dollop of sour cream, but if you skip the sour cream this tasty soup is vegan, and it can be phase one for the South Beach Diet if you have a small serving.

Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

The recipe starts by bringing the lentils and water to a boil, then letting the lentils sit covered for 30 minutes. While the lentils are pre-cooking in the hot water, saute chopped onions and celery in olive oil for a few minutes, then add minced garlic and cook a bit more. Add turmeric, cumin, and chile powder and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Then add the vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, and hot sauce, and let simmer, adding the lentils after the 30 minutes is up.

Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

When lentils have cooked in the hot water for 30 minutes, add the softened lentils and water to the soup pot and cook about 15-30 minutes more, until lentils are soft. At this point the soup isn’t too much in the looks department, but your kitchen will be smelling wonderful. Taste and see if you want to add salt, pepper, or any more hot sauce.

Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

While soup cooks, chop up a good-sized bunch of cilantro. (I used a whole cup of chopped cilantro, but you could get by with less.) When lentils are soft and starting to dissolve into the soup, add the lime juice and cilantro and cook about 5 minutes more. Serve the soup with more limes to squeeze if desired. This is good with a dollop of sour cream or vegan sour cream substitute.

More Soup Ideas with Lentils:

Photo Index for Beans and Legumes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Indian-Spiced Slow Cooker Red Lentil Soup ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Vegan Red Lentil Soup with Lemon and Cumin ~ Cafe Johnsonia

Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro

This Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro was a hit at my annual soup party this year, and this dish is delicious and inexpensive.


  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 T minced garlic (or less, but I like a lot of garlic)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chile powder
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) roasted tomatoes (I like petite dice tomatoes for soup)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. green Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce of your choice. Green Tabasco is fairly mild, so you may want less if you use a stronger hot sauce.)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes, or less if you’re not that into lime)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional: cut limes and sour cream or vegan sour cream substitute for serving the soup


  1. Put red lentils in a small pot, rinse and drain if needed, then add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, turn off heat and cover. Let lentils sit in the hot water 30 minutes.
  2. While lentils are cooking in the water, finely chop onions and celery and mince garlic (or you can use minced garlic from a jar like I did.)
  3. Heat olive oil in heavy soup pot, add onion and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes, just long enough that vegetables are starting to soften.
  4. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more.
  5. Add ground turmeric, ground cumin, and chile powder, stir, and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  6. Add diced roasted tomatoes, vegetable broth, and hot sauce (I used green Tabasco sauce for this recipe).
  7. Add lentils after they have soaked for 30 minutes, then let soup simmer for 15-30 minutes (or until lentils are as soft as you’d like them. I simmered it about 25 minutes.)
  8. While soup cooks, wash, dry and finely chop 1/2 – 1 cup fresh cilantro and squeeze limes to get 1/4 cup fresh lime juice.
  9. When the lentils are softened as much as you’d like, stir in chopped cilantro and lime juice and cook 5 minutes more.
  10. Serve hot, with additional cut limes to squeeze into the soup.
  11. Can top with sour cream or vegan substitute if desired.


Recipe adapted from Mexican Lentil Stew at Budget Bytes and Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup at Andrea Meyers.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This recipe is a great main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, although dried beans and lentils are limited to a small serving for Phase One. It’s also suitable for other low-glycemic diets, but probably too high in carbs for a traditional low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

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    72 Comments on “Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro (Video)”

  1. Do you recommend eating this right away or does it overnight well in the refrigerator?

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  4. It tastes really good, but the lentils don’t need to soak 1/2 hour, they turned to mush before could even add them to the stew! With 2 cups of veg broth, the lentils can be added with the broth and cook 1/2 hour. Sue

  5. This looks amazing Kalyn. I love red lentils but most of the recipes I was finding had little variety. This will be a nice taste variation over the Indian spiced versions.

  6. I love lentil soups, This is my kind of soup… I love it 🙂

  7. Kathleen, my pleasure! So glad you liked it.

  8. I just made this and it is so great! Lots of good spice and flavor, and so easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe!