My parents traveled to Istanbul a few years ago, and couldn't stop talking about the lentil soup they had there. This is my version of it, adapted from my mother's version of a Whole Foods recipe. This is a lighter, brothier, warmer-weather version of lentil soup, perfect for those cool summer nights. My favorite part is that you serve the soup with lemon wedges, so everyone can add their own squeeze of lemon right at the table. —ieatthepeach
Test Kitchen Notes
Simple, uncomplicated dishes like this hearty soup are meant to be "keeper" dishes in any kitchen. Nourishing and flavorful, it's incredibly quick to whip up and sort of cooks itself to perfection with minimum supervision. The sautéed carrots add a hint of sweetness and the broth renders a rich flavor. The cumin adds a touch of smokiness. A perfect dish for a nippy autumn supper. —Panfusine
4 to 6
olive oil, plus more for drizzling
large yellow onion, diced
large carrot, diced
to 4 garlic cloves, minced
crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
(about 1 1/3 cups) red lentils, rinsed and picked over for debris
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the carrot is starting to soften. Add garlic, cumin, red chili flakes, and lentils, and cook for 1 additional minute, or until the spices are incredibly fragrant. Add vegetable broth, water, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are completely tender and falling apart. Remove the bay leaf.
Transfer half of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth, then stir the purée back into the remaining soup. (Or, if you have an immersion blender, blend the soup in the pot until it’s about half-puréed.) Remove from the heat and stir in the mint, then season with salt to taste. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze into the soup.