Lentil and Cactus Soup (Mom's Recipe)Ingredients

  • 14 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, cut into thirds
  • 1 pound lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chicken bouillon (such as Knorr(r))
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (such as Knorr(r)), or to taste
  • 1 cup cooked nopales (cactus), drained
  • 3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped


Bring the water to a boil in a soup pot with 3 cloves of garlic. Stir in the lentils and 1 1/2 tablespoons of chicken bouillon. Simmer over medium-low heat until lentils are almost soft, about 1 hour.

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet, and cook and stir the onion and 2 chopped cloves of garlic until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and continue to cook and stir until the tomato releases its juice, about 5 more minutes. Stir the tomato mixture into the lentil soup along with cumin and 2 more teaspoons of chicken bouillon, or to taste. Bring the soup to a simmer, stir in the nopales and potatoes, and cook over low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.