mexican lentil stew

May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

We went to Minneapolis’ amazing May Day Parade on Sunday. It looked a little something like this:

Riding bikes over there, just a touch hungover from the previous nights’ shenanigans, we swung by Mercado Central, our local Latin American marketplace en route to pick up some tacos and some churros. Oh yes. That is how we roll.

I will be recreating the churros soon, but in the mean time…lentils. More lentils. All in the name of cinco.

Mexican Lentil Stew
adapted from Budget Bytes


  • 2 cups dry red lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely diced or one adobo chili in its sauce for a more legit Mexican flavour
  • 2 15oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 lime
  • cilantro


  1. In a medium skillet, bring the 2 cups of lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it sit with a lid on for about 20 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, begin the stew. Cook onions over medium heat in 2 tbsp of olive oil for about 3 minutes, then add garlic to the skillet. Cook for about one minute, then add the celery and jalapeno pepper.
  3. Cook until soft but not brown. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, turmeric, cumin, and chili powder. Continue to cook over medium heat until hot.
  4. At this point, the lentils should have absorbed the water and become soft. Add the lentils and any remaining water to the soup mixture. Stir well and slightly mash using the back of your spoon. Squeeze the juice of half a lime into the mixture.
  5. Serve, garnished with cilantro and a wedge of lime.

Well, if I’m going to be completely honest (and why wouldn’t I be?), this was definitely also garnished with Mexican beer, quesadillas and tortilla chips. Because it’s Cinco de Mayo and we may not have a piƱata, but we sure as hell have an appetite.

What’s your favourite Mexican food or recipe?
Someone feed me a Chimichanga, quick!

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