This hearty vegan taco soup is made with Mexican spiced red lentils, and topped with rich avocado crema and crispy tortilla strips.
When I was eight years old, my family up and moved across the country, from the Philadelphia area, to the San Diego area, where we spent about six years. Even at that age, the difference in the Mexican food was apparent. I've gone back a couple of times as an adult, and always feel the need to note how much more authentic the burritos and tacos are on the other side of the country. (Sorry fellow Pennsylvanians. Take heart, as you've got way better Italian fare.)
Based on my assessment of Mexican food from my time spent in California, I can confidently say that my recipes are absolutely inauthentic. I noted this as I worked on this recipe, and again just prior to putting this post together, along with the fact that I'm heading on a bit of a Mexican food kick. I'm pretty sure tofu rarely comes into play south of the border, nor does edamame, or quinoa, and tacos are not soup.
Just a warning.
I'll also warn you this: inauthentic Mexican food rocks. At least, tofu, edamame, quinoa and soup tacos do.
I actually threw this one together when I was looking for a fun way to use up the rest of my tortillas from this recipe (I'm guessing sweet potatoes are a bit of a stretch too), because those little bags always have way too many tortillas for one recipe. I wanted to do a tortilla soup, but with some kind of extra special inauthentic twist. (Is tortilla soup even authentic to begin with?) What better way to eat some tortillas crunchies on soup than to taco-ify it? Indeed, there's no better way that I can think of, as this was delicious, and packing a bowl with fresh and crispy toppings makes it completely meal worthy.
More delicious made-up Mexican-ish creations forthcoming. Get excited!
This post originally published on April 6, 2015.
Red Lentil Taco Soup
For the Taco Soup
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ red onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups dried red lentils
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ancho chili powder
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Tortilla Strips
- 6 corn tortillas
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- few dashes salt
- avocado lime crema
- fresh cilantro
- jalapeño slices
Make the Taco Soup
Coat large saucepan or Dutch oven with oil and place over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño. Sauté until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in broth, tomatoes with juices, lentils, cumin and ancho chili powder. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice, salt and pepper.
Make the Tortilla Strips
When soup has about 10 minutes of simmer time left, preheat oven to 400º. Brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil and slice into ¼ inch wide strips. Arrange in an even layer on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake until crisp and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with avocado crema, cilantro, scallions, jalapeño slices and tortilla strips.
Nutrition information does not include toppings.