This Easy Turkish Red Lentil Soup Recipe will be your new favorite soup and not just during the colder days of the year!
The Turkish lentil soup is stuffed with flavors and you can make the nutritious Mediterranean lentil soup at home too from scratch within 30 minutes! Children love the Turkish soup and it’ s also vegan, gluten-free and low carb.
I came across this Turkish red lentil soup recipe ages ago via the Turkish diaspora in Austria and Germany. Turkish families settled in central Europe in the past 50 years.
Besides driving large Mercedes in small villages they are also known for their popular fast food Dōner stalls and hair cutting skills.
These Turkish food joints are usually very popular amongst the local population. Some of those Dōner/Kebap stalls offer also more than just shawarma style stuffed flatbread and koftas. That is how I got to try and love the flavorful Turkish soup!
What is Turkish lentil soup?
The main ingredient of a Turkish lentil soup are the split red lentils (masoor dal lentil variety). This particular red lentil soup is cooked and then blend into a smooth soup.
While the soup ingredients might vary across Turkey, depending on the region and ethnicity, the Turkish red lentil soup is always blended into a smooth soup.
Lentils, Tomato, Garlic, and Onions are main ingredients of the Turkish cuisine and these ingredients are commonly used in a Turkish red lentil soup
The east and the west meet in turkey and this is something that you can taste in a dish such as the Turkish red lentil soup. Spiced herbs from the east, such as cumin and mint, as well as form the west, as for example paprika and parsley, find good use in the Turkish cuisine.
In a nutshell, the Turkish lentil soup incorporated local ingredients from turkey, reflecting the Mediterranean cuisine beautifully with a touch of middle eastern flair.
Similar soups can be found in countries in the area, such as Lebanon and Syria.
What is the Turkish lentil soup known as in turkey?
In Turkish, the famous lentil soup is known as mercimek çorbası. mercimek (pronounced as maertschimek) means lentils and çorbası (pronounced tschorbasi) means soup in general.
How to make Turkish red lentil soup?
The red lentil soup is stuffed with flavors and yet you can make this Turkish soup without any efforts.
To prepare this aromatic Mediterranean soup quickly and in easy, I suggest you prepare the vegetables such as Onion, garlic, Tomato, and carrot in advance by cutting them into smaller pieces.
This step is easy as you just need to cut the veggies small and not into a particular shape because the soup will be blend into a smooth spiced soup!
But before you swing into cooking mode, you will need to take care of the lentils by soaking them for 20-30 minutes in water before using the red lentils in your cooking process.
So start out by keeping the red lentils to soak in plain water for 20- 30 mins. This will speed up your cooking process later on and the lentils will be easier digested. Red split lentils (aka Masoor dal) are the easiest lentils to prepare because of the short soaking and cooking period.
Eventually, if you are in a hurry, you can just skip the soaking process of the red lentils for the Turkish lentil soup but the lentils, depending on the age and quality, might take longer to cook soft. In that case, use a pressure cooker/instant pot to cook the lentil soft in this dish.
So, once your lentils have soaked and you have your vegetables cut small, you can start out!
First, add some olive oil to the pan and fry your onion translucent. Then continue to add in the tomato, chopped garlic, and carrot. The ingredients can cook a bit before you add the flavor giving spices, including paprika and cumin powder.
Also, add the tomato paste as this helps in the consistency and flavor profile of the Turkish red lentil soup.
Black pepper will be added at the end together with the salt because black pepper has a tendency to slow down the cooking progress of the lentils.
Then it’s time to add the lentils and the broth to the pot. The next step will be to let the lentil soup cook for 10-15 minutes. Once you can see that the lentils are cooked through, it’ s ready. Then you just need to blend the whole soup to a smooth creamy soup.
After that bring the soup back to the pot and warm it up if it has cooled down a lot. Mix in the lemon juice which will give the Turkish lentil soup the little extra kick.
Then pour the soup into the soup bowls and add pour some olive oil with red chili powder/flakes and sprinkle fresh peppermint over the soup. Serve the soup.
The olive oil, red pepper flakes, and peppermint make this dish special and compliment all the flavors. You have to add the fresh peppermint because it gives so much character to the soup. You will not want to miss it!
Tools and things you might need to make the Turkish red lentil soup recipe:
- Hand Blender – to easily blend the soup smooth
- Instant Pot – to make this Turkish soup without soaking the red lentils
- Food Processor – to save time preparing vegetables
Easy Turkish Red Lentil Soup Recipe
How to Video
For the Soup:
- 7 ounces Red Split Lentils aka Masoor dal lentils or 7 oz or 1 cup
- 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Onion slices
- 2 clove Garlic
- 1 Tomato cut small
- 1 Carrot cut small
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 3 cups Water mixed with concentrated Stock
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- to taste Salt
- Before you start cooking I suggest that you keep your red split lentils to soak for 20-30 mins. This will soften the lentils so that they cook faster. At the same time, it ensures that the lentils are soft, which in turn will help you to digest the lentils easier. You can skip that step if you are short on time and if you have an instant pot/pressure cooker.
- Prepare all your vegetables before you start out cooking. This will help you in your cooking flow.
- To get cooking, pour the olive oil into a shallow cooking pan and fry your onion slices soft. Then continue to add in the tomato and garlic as well as the carrot pieces.
- Then season with paprika and cumin powder and add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir fry the whole content on low to medium heat.
- At this point, you can add in the strained lentils (without the lentil water) and the broth. Mix the whole content well and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. The lentils will fill out the pot and they should be soft.
- Then blend the whole soup into a smooth soup without pieces and bits. Take it back to the heat if the soup got cold. Then once away from the heat pour and mix in the lemon juice.
- Pour the soup into serving bowl and garnish with a few drops of olive oil, chili pepper flakes, and fresh peppermint.
- You may soak the red lentils or cook them directly which will prolonge the cooking time.
- Don' t skip the garnish!
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