Sausage Lentil Mexicali Soup

Sausage Lentil Mexicali Soup

I haven’t done a lot of cooking with lentils since I gave up being Vegan many, many moons ago, but by chance over the holidays, DD was wanting to donate food to her school food drive (which had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that each item of food that she brought in was worth five points of extra credit – absolutely nothing at all). Now I always give the same things to canned food drives: Peanut Butter, Dried Beans, Brown Rice or Tuna. That is what I donate. Protein sources. Somehow one of the bags of lentils became separated from it’s fellows and didn’t actually make it to the school food drive before it ended. I found him about a month later, cowering in fear in the very back of the trunk of my car. The poor dear. So I brought the lonely little guy in to the house and gave him a comfy spot on the shelf and promptly forgot all about him. Or, atleast, I did until I came across a recipe for Bacon Lentil soup at Serious Eats, which inspired me to make a hearty lentil soup of my own on this chilly night.This makes a pretty big batch of soup – plenty for dinner AND leftovers.

When I’m making any kind of dish with dried beans, I won’t add salt or acids (such as tomato, vinegar or citruses) to the beans until they are thoroughly cooked. It’s one of the few dishes I do that with. I’ve heard that some people have debunked this as a cooking myth, but I’ve had rotten luck every time I’ve tried cooking dried beans with salt or acids, I failed at making anything something that tasted good. Edible was about the best that could be said for it; so now I err on the side of caution. Also – while it’s technically not neccessary with Lentils, being one of the few legumes that doesn’t require it, I went ahead and soaked the lentils after rinsing, while I prepped the other ingredients. Word on the street is that soaking can sometimes help with uh… certain ah… by products? of eating legumes and I figured it couldn’t hurt, and might also help them cook a teeny bit faster. ;-) Oh , also – when adding the spices near the end, I like to mix them with a little bit of the soup broth first, so I don’t spend a lot of time chasing around little blobs of goopy* spice. It’s not neccessary, but I think it makes my life easier.

*Yes, thats a technical term.


  • 1 lb dried green lentils; rinsed and picked over
  • 1 lb italian sausage
  • 1 onion; diced
  • 5  cloves garlic; minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms; sliced
  • 3 carrots; peeled and sliced
  • 6 medium russet potatoes; peeled, quartered and sliced
  • 3 quarts broth
  • 1 – 28 oz can of whole tomatoes; chopped w/ liquid
  • 1 – 4 oz can Jalapeno Peppers; diced
  • 1 lemon; juiced
  • 1 lime; juiced
  • 1/8 cup White Wine
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro; finely chopped
  • 1 tbls Cumin
  • 2 tbls unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Chili Pepper
  • Kosher Salt


  • Brown and Crumble Sausage in a large skillet over medium heat
  • Add diced onion to sausage and saute until onions are translucent
  • Transfer Sausage and Onion Mixture to a large Soup Pot
  • Return Skillet to heat
  • Add Mushrooms to skillet and saute until lightly browned
  • Remove Mushrooms from heat
  • Add Mushrooms, Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic and Broth to soup pot
  • Cover Soup and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables are tender
  • Stir in tomatoes, jalapenos, white wine, cocoa powder, cumin, chili pepper and Kosher Salt (to taste), and allow to simmer for about five more minutes
  • Remove from heat and just before serving, stir in Cilantro with the Lemon and Lime juices

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