Turkish Lentil Soup with Baby Spinach

By • March 8, 2010 20 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a traditional Turkish Lentil Soup. I had this soup when I visited the mystical ancient city called Constantinople also known as Istanbul. I rememeber it was a chilly evening in October, we were walking around in the historic neighborhood of Sultan Ahmet. We walked into a very cozy little restuarant & we insisted if we could sit on the rooftop section of the restaurant with a gorgeous view of the Blue Mosque in sight! Everytime I make this soup, it takes me back to Istanbul! onetribegourmet

Serves 4-6

  • 5oz packets Organic Spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped Onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced Garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped Carrots
  • 1/4 cup Red Lentils
  • 2 tablespoons Bulgur Wheat
  • 4-6 cups Organic Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 teaspoons Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 sprig Fresh Italian Parsley
  1. Sauté chopped onions & minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped carrots; let the carrot cook for few minutes. Add red lentils & bulgur wheat & sauté some more. Add the chicken stock. Add tomato paste & stir well. Add sumac, paprika, salt & pepper. Let the soup simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes until lentils & the bulgur wheat are tender. Serve hot with freshly squeezed lemon juice & chopped fresh parsley!

More Great Recipes: Beans & Legumes|Soups|Lentils|Soup|Tomatoes

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Comments (20) Questions (1)


5 months ago Molly M.

I made this soup for dinner tonight. I used Swiss chard instead of spinach, as it was what I had on hand this evening. I had to modify the spices a bit as I had no sumac. In place of the sumac I substituted ground coriander. I used quinoa in place of the bulgar wheat to make the soup gluten-free. It turned out wonderfully. I will be making this recipe again soon!


8 months ago Elizabeth Ellis

This is a wonderful soup! I worked with what I had and made some changes. To start I doubled everything, I had just a small amount of fresh spinach and I added that along with extra chopped parsley and cilantro to make up for the lack of greens. I think I also added extra bulgar, lemon, fresh garlic, and sumac too- to taste. It was fantastic and too, too easy. By the way, I added more bulgar and herbs because it was thin without the extra spinach, but keep in mind if you do this that the bulgar expands over time and you may end up adding in more liquid.


8 months ago lalf

Lovely soup! This recipe doubled quite well — I had a 10 oz bag of Swiss chard to use. At the end of the simmering, I pureed about 1/4 to 1/3 of the soup with an immersion blender and added it back into the remainder. I did use more parsley and lemon juice than indicated in the recipe. Fabulous flavor, husband couldn’t get enough. Thank you!


over 1 year ago Tarragon

I made this with French green lentils and chard. All else the same. Loved it. It was a great excuse to use medium-grind bulgur, which was perfect.


almost 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This turned out great, even without the paprika. I had some thyme on hand, so I threw some in. I didn't have any wheat bulgur, but used whole wheat couscous, which worked well. The soup tasted better the next day, as soups and stews always do, and today (two days later) I stirred a couple big spoonfuls of my first batch of homemade sauerkraut of the season into what was left. Not very Turkish, I admit, but wow, it was delicious. ;o)


over 3 years ago Synky

Amazing soup!!! Everyone wanted more.....even the 4 year old! I really liked the combination of everything, also gave me a reason to find and try sumac (actually discovered a Turkish/ Azerbajani grocery store). I think next time I would double the lentils out of personal fondness for them. But yes, great soup, even better the next day!


over 4 years ago SerenaH

Easy to make and a big hit with teenagers and adults. Served it with cornbread.
i didn't have any Bulghar, so I substituted cous-cous and I also cut up and added chicken from a Whole Foods cooked chicken. Thank-you


over 4 years ago linklau

Delicious! I had everything in my pantry to make this soup except the sumac. I substituted a bit of Penzey's Turkish Seasoning, which I received as a sample. It has sumac in it. My husband declared this soup to be "soothing". I think I'll order some sumac and try this again. It is hearty and filling, perfect thing to make a big batch of at the start of a busy week.


over 4 years ago crenkat

You've traveled so much and post so many interesting Middle Eastern/Turkish recipes, I wondered if you knew how to make Turkish Delight (lokum)? I'm looking for centerpiece and recipe ideas for a luncheon spotlighting Turkey.


almost 5 years ago kamelia

Very hearty and filling! I loved the addition of lemon and parsley at the end, it really made the soup. Even better the second day...!


almost 5 years ago onetribegourmet

Thanks Kamelia! I love this soup too....especially the next day! :)


over 5 years ago AlexandraD

At which point do you add the spinach?


over 5 years ago onetribegourmet

Alexandra..this is embarassing...I forgot to post when to add the spinach. :-0 I added the spinach after I saute'd the carrots for few minutes. At that point you can add the chopped baby spinach & saute it for a minute. I hope that helps. :)


over 5 years ago dymnyno

This looks and sounds delicious!! I am going to try it soon. I think that Istanbul is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in the world. The opulence of the Ottoman Empire and the starkness of today's Muslims is so striking !


over 5 years ago onetribegourmet

Thank you! Please let me know how the soup turns out for you! :)


over 5 years ago onetribegourmet

Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes bulgur wheat makes this soup more substatial, alomost like a one-dish meal.


over 5 years ago testkitchenette

I love lentil soup and this looks nothing short of amazing!


over 5 years ago onetribegourmet

Thank you so much for your kind words!


over 5 years ago HaikuTofu

This looks absolutely gorgeous. I love lentils- they are always tastier than I expect. The bulgar wheat must add a nice chew to this soup as well.


over 5 years ago onetribegourmet

Thank you so much!