Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Source: combination of several recipes

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 3-4 people

Categories: lunch, dinner, first course, main course

This is my favorite soup and favourite dish at the moment. Easy to make, cheap, nutritious, and delicious! Compared to other soups this one is done rather fast, because red lentils unlike other legumes don’t have to be soaked for hours but can be rinsed and used right away.

I first had this soup at a soup restaurant and since then I was hooked, I had to learn how to make it at home and it took me several tries and recipes to get the delicious taste I fell in love with. I think I finally got the right taste, I discovered the secret ingredient is tomato paste and with tomato paste the soup is called Turkish red lentil soup.


  1. 1 1/3 cup (about 8 ounces) red lentils, picked through and rinsed
  2. 7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  3. 1 large onion, diced
  4. 1 large carrot, diced
  5. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1/8 teaspoon paprika powder
  9. ½ teaspoon thyme or oregano
  10. 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste



Ingredients for serving

  1. Lemon or lime wedges
  2. Chopped fresh mint  
  3. 1 avocado diced (optional)



Ingredients for side dishes

  1. Whole grain bread toasts for serving
  2. Lettuce, tomato and cucumber for a small side salad




  1. Wash the lentils, I usually put them in a sifter and rinse them 2 or 3 times and then set them aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, in a little water or vegetable broth sauté the onion with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and sauté for another 3 minutes. Keep adding water or vegetable broth as needed.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir it for around 1 minute. Now add the cumin, paprika, thyme, and sauté for 10 seconds to bloom the spices. Immediately add the lentils, water, broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a boil.
  4. After it has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover the pot halfway, and let it cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils have fallen apart and the carrots are completely cooked.
  5. After the soup has cooked and the lentils are tender, blend the soup either in a blender or simply use a hand blender to reach the consistency you desire. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  6. Serve the soup with lemon or lime wedges, fresh mint and my own twist: ¼ of diced avocado. Chop the lettuce, tomato and cucumber and serve as a side salad.
  7. Enjoy!





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