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Smoky Sweet Potato & Lentil Tortilla Soup {gluten-free, vegan}

Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman and The Love and Lemons Cookbook.
Servings: 6 -8 servings



  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons toasted cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (more or less depending on saltiness of vegetable stock)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) tomato paste
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and diced
  • 2 medium-sized jewel or garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into a large dice
  • 1 cup (200 g) French green lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups (1 liter) vegetable stock
  • 4 cups (1 liter) water
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle puree (more if you like; or 1-2 chipotles in adobo, seeded and chopped)
  • 14 ounces (415 ml) canned diced tomatoes


  • 4-6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, halved and cut into strips
  • 2-4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • large handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 4 ounces cotija or queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1-2 limes, cut into wedges
  • avocado chunks (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)


  • In a large, heavy soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Work in the tomato paste, then add the carrots, sweet potatoes, lentils, stock, water, chipotle, and tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook, partially covered, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender but still holding a shape, 30-40 minutes. Taste, adding more salt or chipotle if you like.
  • To make the tortilla strips, heat a thin layer of oil in a wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add enough tortilla strips to fit in a single layer, and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Remove and let drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips and oil.
  • Serve bowls of soup topped with a good squeeze of lime, a nest of tortilla strips, and a bit of cilantro and cotija (and avocado and sour cream, if you like). The soup keeps well, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
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