Turkish Red Lentil Soup Recipe

posted in: Destinations, Lunch, Recipes, Turkey | 18

 

One of our go-to dishes when we travel is roast chicken. And there are 2 really good reasons. We enjoy a really good Roast Chicken. And the added bonus is being able to make a good flavored stock with the leftover carcass and bones. And from the stock we can make a risotto, a pilaf or a really good soup like this one. It’s like getting 2 meals for the price of 1 and all relatively healthy and easy to do.

Making soup is true slow cooking at its best. There is a little up-front work chopping vegetables but then it’s mindless as the soup cooks and fills your house with wonderful aromas.

Scenery near Saklikent Gorge near Fethiye
A warming Red Lentil Soup suits the Turkish climate

Soup is popular in Turkey and now having visited I understand why.  I wasn’t mentally prepared for the cold winter temperatures.  For some reason I had this impression that Turkey was a warm climate (and it is in summer).  But the winters are often very cold.  There are many high mountains that are snow-covered throughout the winter and most of spring.  Indeed it snowed on 2 days in late April when we visited Cappadocia.

True to the guild system developed in the royal kitchens, the soup makers had their own guild so it is not surprising that soups are so delicious in Turkey.

On special occasions, it is normal to have a 5 course banquet, where a pot of soup is always the first course.  The host has the responsibility for providing all the food at a Turkish dinner for friends or family.  No taking of  “pot luck” and yes Turkey is where that phrase came from!

Prepare yourself for copious amounts of bread served with soup.  Receiving a whole, large loaf of bread to go with soup for a table of 2 is not uncommon!  Sometimes this would be a crusty loaf and at other times what we would call Turkish Bread (soft and airy).

Red Lentil Soup 3

In winter, it is common to have a pot of soup keeping warm on the kitchen stove.  Red Lentil Soup is particularly popular and is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  It has a reputation for being a go-to dish when things are not going well.  It can bring on better luck!

Other popular Turkish soups include Yoghurt Soup and Mushroom Soup.  The soups are tasty without being overly spicy.  And quite filling.  Many locals would have a large bowl for a warming lunch on a chilly day before going about their afternoon business.

There are many variations to this dish.  I hope you enjoy this easy but satisfying dish.

Cheers.

 

Turkish Red Lentil Soup compassandfork.com
12 of the Most Popular Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World Red Lentil Soup | Turkey compassandfork.com
Red Lentil Soup
Print Recipe
Print Recipe
There is nothing fancy about this soup. And it is dead easy and cheap to make. The soup is neither too thin nor too thick, making it ideal for having any time of the year. The ingredients may not look that exciting but when you taste the soup you will be pleasantly surprised how good and rich it tastes. You can feel the nourishment making you feel good. This is true comfort food.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4people 15minutes 35minutes
Servings Prep Time
4people 15minutes
Cook Time
35minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. In a colander rinse the lentils well under cold water. Put aside to drain.
  2. In a pan large enough to hold the soup, melt the butter gently. Over a low to medium heat, add the onions and gently stir. Turn up the heat and add the pepper paste, paprika and eggplant. Stir for 2 minutes. Then add the lentils and stock. Bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 25 minutes.
  3. After 25 minutes the lentils should be breaking down. Turn off the heat. Check for seasoning adding sea salt and ground pepper to taste.
  4. Serve the soup into 4 bowls. Provide chilli flakes, lemon wedges and dried mint for the table. Red Lentil Soup compassandfork.com
Recipe Notes

The Turkish pepper paste gives this soup an underlying depth of flavor. You could use tomato paste instead.

 

It’s not mandatory to add the eggplant but it gives more substance to the dish. You could also use carrots. Omit the vegetables if you are looking for a lighter summer soup.

 

Vegetarians can use vegetable stock.

 

Dried mint can be substituted with fresh mint or fresh parsley.

18 Responses

  1. The Gifted Gabber
    | Reply

    This looks really hearty and tasty. I grew up eating lentils, but my mom primarily prepares it one way which is now the way I prepare them – basically stewed with onions and seasonings. I will have to consider this recipe this fall when I get the hankering for a soup or stew. Visiting via Comment Happy Hour.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Thanks for your comment. We love eating lentils in curries, soups and stews. And it is a bonus that they are good for you and are relatively cheap. Cheers….Mark

  2. Piyali Mutha
    | Reply

    Turkey is a beautiful country and through my own travels I could see familiar grounds in your post. What a lovely post this is. A nice visual of your travel through pictures and words. The soup wholesome, hearty and scrumptious. A true Turkish delight.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Piyali thanks for your kind comments. We weren’t prepared for the fact that Turkey would be such a stunningly beautiful place. Cheers….Mark

  3. Anne Murphy
    | Reply

    I enjoy red lentil soup, but I don’t think I’ve put eggplant in it… and it sounds like a wonderful combination. This will happen – we have a lot of eggplant, and I was just looking for new ideas!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Thanks Anne. The eggplant certainly gives it more substance and makes it a heartier meal and it does not detract from the taste. Cheers….Mark

  4. Agata
    | Reply

    We eat a lot of soups but I have to admit, I’ve never had a lentil soup before.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Agata, Try it, you’ll never know it’s lentils. It’s just a delicious soup.

  5. Priya
    | Reply

    Healthy and delicious! So flavourful too!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Hi Priya. Sorry for my slow reply. The flavor is surprisingly good too. Cheers….Mark

  6. Byron Thomas
    | Reply

    This looks delicious! Love your blog!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Byron, It is a very tasty soup. I am glad you like our blog, thanks for visiting.

  7. Heather
    | Reply

    This is a beautiful recipe!! It’s so hard to find recipes that use mint but this is perfect!! I will be trying this when the weather cools down 🙂

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Hi Heather. You are right about the mint, it gives the soup a real lift. Cheers….Mark

  8. Farida
    | Reply

    This sounds so interesting, since we Arabs mainly make vegan red lentil soup, love using butter too and chicken stock too!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Farida, it is such an easy soup with simple ingredients but somehow it just tastes great. I think the dried mint at the end is the secret. Thanks for your comment.

  9. this sounds delicious – I love having soups for lunch so I will add eggplant to my shopping list so I can make it. Thanks for sharing with YWF too.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      This soup is seriously delicious. The ingredients might not look that exciting but honestly it is divine.

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