Tasty and nourishing lentil veggie soup bursting with smoky, spicy taco flavors and loaded with all your favorite toppings. It’s easy to make all in one pot with lots of flexibility. You will love this fun and delicious Mexican style spin on lentil soup.

Let’s make the perfect vegetarian taco soup…

This soup is definitely something special! It is packed with vegetables and lentils and all things nutritious, but tastes amazing and not just like the “healthy version” of taco soup. It’s tasty, filling, meal worthy and amazing all round.

Some of the things that are working well for this recipe:

  • The ingredients are basic. Sooo basic and cheap. We use dried lentils and all the spices are straightforward and internationally available – so it’s not authentic Mexican cuisine whatsoever, but it works.
  • The process is simple. All cooks in one pan! Add some things, add some more things, simmer. Done.
  • It’s super flexible because the magic is all in the spices and the toppings. You can control the spice / heat level to your liking by selecting your own chili powder and the quantity you use. You can control whether it ends up creamy / cheesy or whether it stays vegan and fresh when you choose your toppings. You can choose whatever vegetables you want to work into it. You can add beans if you want.

What to know about the ingredients

  • You can use green, black or brown lentils – but not red. Red lentils turn smooth and creamy in soups whereas green, brown or black lentils will retain their shape well. In this recipe, the lentils are designed to replace the ground meat crumbles you’d find in a taco soup – and while no one is going to think this soup has meat in it, I think they do a fantastic job as a vegetarian stand in.
  • My veggie line up is mushrooms, peppers and frozen corn. I love the texture of the mushrooms and the flavor of the pepper here, but feel free to use what you have. Something like eggplant or zucchini can stand in place of, or alongside, the mushrooms. You could also add some greens like spinach or kale at the end.
  • You need a well stocked spice collection. This includes chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. All available in supermarkets in my experience. Fennel seeds aren’t a common addition to Mexican / Tex Mex style foods, so if you aren’t sure why they’re here: I find that they add a chorizo / Italian sausage kind of vibe which is very welcome in recipes which would normally contain meat. I love fennel seeds and cook with them often so I highly encourage you to try them!

This soup is easy to make & ready in an hour

Here is the plan: You’ll saute your veggies in a delicious combo of Mexican inspired spices. Cooked down for a while with the spices, they reduce and almost caramelize in the mushroom juices – take note of how they look in the image below….

So good, right? Then you just add your lentils, stock/broth and tomatoes. And in half an hour, you have a chunky, smoky, spicy soup that you can starting piling your toppings on.

Q: How spicy is this soup?

As spicy as you want it! The spices in this soup are nice and punchy, but as written, it’s very mild in terms of heat. Most of the smoky flavor is from the smoked paprika. If you like your food spicier, please feel free to throw more chili powder in there until it’s at a level you are happy with. But if you want it spicy, you also need to use a spicy chili powder. Something like ancho (which I love for it’s mildness) might not cut it so get something with a higher heat rating.

Q: How can I make this vegan?

The soup itself, as written, is completely vegan. As pictured, there is cheese and sour cream on top but you can choose whatever toppings you prefer. Just using avocado and cilantro / coriander, it would still be delicious. Coconut yogurt could also be an excellent topper.

Topping Ideas

The fun part! This is what makes taco soup so good. Instead of a big bowl of uniform soup, you put lots of things on top so that every bite is a little different.

Whatever you’d put on a taco is welcome on this soup! Here’s some thoughts:

  • Avocado or guacamole (guac will melt in a little, but what the hey)
  • Sour cream or yogurt (non dairy versions keep it vegan)
  • Grated cheese – it gets all melty and sinks in a little. We love.
  • Fresh coriander / cilantro
  • Crunchy slaw
  • Black olives
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sliced jalapeños

Lentil & Vegetable Taco Soup

Tasty and nourishing lentil veggie soup bursting with smoky, spicy taco flavors and loaded with all your favorite toppings. It's easy to make all in one pot with lots of flexibility. You will love this fun and delicious Mexican style spin on lentil soup.
5 from 2 ratings


  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder, increase this for a spicier finish
  • 2 tsps soy sauce
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 14 oz (400 g) can of chopped or diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cups (140 g) dried green lentils
  • 4 cups (950 ml) vegetable stock, see notes
  • ½ cup (8 tbsp) frozen sweetcorn kernels

Toppings of Choice

  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese
  • Olives
  • Avocado slices or cubes
  • Cilantro, coriander leaves


  • Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a big soup pot.
  • Saute your onions and peppers for a few minutes until soft.
  • Add your mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are reducing.
  • Time to add in the seasonings! The fennel seeds go in first – mix them through until the fragrance is released. Then add the smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander and chili powder. Mix through until the spices are well incorporated with the vegetables and the fragrance is released.
  • Add the soy sauce and stir until incorporated. Cook until your vegetables are soft and caramelized. (There’s a picture in the blog post to show what they’ll look like.)
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and dried lentils, mix through.
  • Finally add the vegetable stock and frozen sweetcorn and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the green lentils are soft.
  • To serve, ladle into bowls and add your toppings of choice.


Nutritional information excludes toppings.
This makes 4 meal sized portions but can stretch to feed 6 if you’re serving alongside something else. (A cheese quesadilla for dipping perhaps?)
For the vegetable stock / broth, I just like to round up to two stock cubes to my 5 cups of water – this is a little more concentrated than the recommended amount but it works out fine.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 307kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 1008mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 10g