Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Minted Butter and Spiced Croutons

February 26, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is my version of the oh so humble Turkish lentil soup that can be found in every worker's lunch place (esnaf lokantasi). It is cheap, wholesome and delicious. I never grow tired of lentil soup, especially on a cold winter day. Sometimes I vary the veggies I put in depending on my mood. The croutons can be whipped up in no time from day-old bread and the spiced red pepper flakes (pul biber) found here in Turkey, but Spanish smoked paprika or any chili powder will do. —Ulli Allmendinger

What You'll Need
  • Soup
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups home-made vegetable (from scraps) or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 lemon
  • Spiced Croutons
  • 1/2 cup day-old good bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes (Spanish smoked paprika also works wonderfully)
  1. Rinse red lentils and soak in water for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
  2. Add lentils, chopped onion, red pepper, bay leaf and 6 cups of broth of your choice to a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are beginning to dissolve.
  3. Remove bay leaf and puree soup in a blender or with a hand-blender until fine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. In a small pan, melt butter, then add mint and saute for a few seconds. Turn off heat and set aside.
  5. For the croutons, melt butter with red pepper flakes, then add bread cubes and fry in the pan until reddish golden.
  6. Serve the soup drizzled with minted butter, a few spicy croutons and a squeeze of lemon. Afiyet olsun!
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  • Ulli Allmendinger
    Ulli Allmendinger
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2 Reviews

Ozlems T. February 28, 2013
Great recipe, and a favorite in our household! A squeeze of lemon juice over the top adds a lovely zing!
Ulli A. March 2, 2013
Hi Özlem, the next time you are in Turkey, I'd love to meet. I saw you are also teaching at ICI, where I will be giving some classes this spring.