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When a home-cooked, hearty meal looks this good, one might assume it took hours to prepare.  However, Mexican Spiced Lentils takes less than 30 minutes to get to the table.  With a warm, spicy flavour, and consisting of heart healthy lentils and tomatoes, this dish is sure to be a new family favourite! 

From time to time, I crave lentils.  Is that weird?  There’s something rather comforting about a big bowl of lentil anything that really makes me feel all warm and cozy.  I’ve made several lentil dishes to share with you, but this one is new.  It combines canned lentils, which helps cut down on prep time, and a combination of spices, along with store-bought canned diced tomatoes.  It doesn’t seem like much, but the taste is so worth it!

Curried Coconut Lentils was recently posted to my blog, but you can also check out my Dijon Spiced Creamy Lentils and Caramelized Onions recipe, or even this Shepherd’s Vegetarian Skillet Pie.

Weeknight dinner prep for me is all about cutting corners.  As much as I love to cook and bake, it’s not what I want to spend my nights doing after I get home from work.  I will often buy canned tomatoes, or canned beans, etc., to cut down on the time needed to prep and cook.  In most cases, you will find my pantry filled with canned goods.  I usually watch for sales and buy them to stock up.  Canned goods are frowned upon by many food enthusiasts, but if you take the time, and through a little trial and error, you will find a brand that works well for you.

For this particular dish, not to outshine the lentils and the tomatoes, but the spices really do elevate this rustic bowl of deliciousness to a whole new level.  With the addition of chili powder, cumin, and paprika, the dish comes to life.  Mexican Spiced Lentils are a great meal on its own – just top with a little plain yogurt or sour cream.  Or, you can use it as a side dish.  It would pair lovely with grilled chicken with a spritz of lime, or a seared fish of choice.  

One last thing, lentils hold up really well to storage.  Once cooked, you can safely store this dish in the fridge for a day or two, or freeze it for a later time.  The lentils will keep their shape and consistency.

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5 from 1 vote

Mexican Spiced Lentils

When a home-cooked, hearty meal looks this good, one might assume it took hours to prepare. However, Mexican Spiced Lentils takes less than 30 minutes to get to the table. With a warm, spicy flavour, and consisting of heart healthy lentils and tomatoes, this dish is sure to be a new family favourite! 
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Lord Byron's Kitchen


  • 2 cups canned lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes


  • In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil until slightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute or two.
  • Add in all of the spices and stir into the onion and garlic mixture. Cook for two more minutes.
  • Next, add the canned tomatoes and lentils. Stir to incorporate.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Serve hot with sour cream or plain yogurt.


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This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. I have some lentils in my cabinet that need to be used up. This would be a great recipe to use them in.
    1. I know! It is weird, but I really do. And, I don't mind one bit - it's better than craving chocolate, right? :)
  2. I love lentils and these look so pretty. Love the rich color you have on this dish.. and the flavors sounds so amazing. I can almost smell the combination of smoky cumin and paprika.
  3. Have I been living under a rock?? There are canned lentils? We've just gotten into lentils but they are the dried kind. We love the taste but your recipe sounds better than our plain lentil dish. We love Mexican -- spicier the better. I'm pinning!!
    1. Oh no, Kylee; it's Thursday now. Did you mean this past Tuesday? Or next? Either way, let me know! I'd love to have you for dinner. :)
  4. Byron, you wrote this post for me, right?! I knew it! LOL just kidding ... I agree totally with you on: convenience cooking after work, canned goods can be good and Mexican spices are wonderful. This recipe is going into my weeknight rotation! (Since my dear husband doesn't eat lentils, I'll have lunches too!)
  5. These are the perfect comfort food when you want something hearty and spicy.. gorgeous pictures and these would be perfect for upcoming Cinqo de Mayo!!!
  6. Lentils and Mexican flavors are two of my favorite and you have combined them beautifully in this recipe. Being vegetarian, I often feel guilty about not feeding my kids enough protein. I rely very heavily on beans and lentils and always look out for different ways to make them, so it does not getting boring for them. This is a simple recipe to make on weeknights and I am bookmarking this!
    1. Thanks, Sandhya. My daughter is vegetarian too, so I often cook with lentils and beans to make sure she's getting enough protein.
  7. Oh My, you combined two of my absolute favorite Lentils+Mexican Flavors !! I'm so loving the idea of this and the fact that you used canned lentils - that's super quick. I can't believe I've never tried canned lentils till now but I guess that's what friends are for -- letting us know super quick n delicious recipes :)
  8. I made your recipe in the Instant Pot with dried lentils/more liquid with a can of Rotel for the diced tomatoes. Kudos - what a great recipe! Your Dijon lentils are up next.
  9. I am so happy to have found your website while I was looking for lentil recipes. You have some amazing recipes that I intend to try! I have been trying to add more vegetarian meals to our weekday menu, and you are an inspiration to me.
  10. I'm so excited to try this but I have dried lentils and an instant pot. I'm no where near a store as I am a camp cook right now. Will have to figure out how to make that work with this recipe. Should be fun!

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