One-Pot Wonders

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

August  4, 2014
9 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 8 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges for serving
  1. Pick through the lentils to remove any debris. Place the lentils in a colander or strainer and rinse them in cold water.
  2. 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 to maintain a steady simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are completely tender and falling apart, about 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
  3. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Vicki
  • Anastasia Stepanova
    Anastasia Stepanova
  • Sunny Aalami
    Sunny Aalami
  • James Spitznas
    James Spitznas

9 Reviews

Linda D. February 3, 2024
Made this again last night. Still a winner. Next time I will leave out that cup of water.
Vicki February 12, 2023
Unbelievably delicious! Used Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base which is seasoned enough so no more salt is needed. Looking forward to trying the lemon juice with it! I wish I had fresh mint but have to wait till spring.
Alex January 1, 2022
I've made this so many times over the years... it's delicious! The lemon wedges are a must.
foodie2811 October 27, 2020
My picky son loves this soup. We added the mint, lemon and sour cream and it was delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Anastasia S. August 17, 2019
Thank you, I love this recipe. It’s tasty while not heavy at all for my stomach. Perfect for summer!
Sunny A. October 24, 2018
I struggle to understand why this is called a turkish lentil soup. It's a very basic red lentil soup that I make myself all the time!
Linda D. September 4, 2018
Sauteed the onion before adding the carrot and used chicken stock in place of the vegetable broth. Was cautious about adding the mint to the soup, so I served it on the side. Next time, I will stir the mint right into the soup. Very good lentil soup-thank you!
James S. March 15, 2017
It seemed a little bland in the pot so I added 1t smoked paprika, 1/2t ground black pepper and 1/8t cayenne and it was perfect -- very satisfying. I found the recipe filled three large soup bowls. Will definitely make again!
Susan December 22, 2015
Quick, easy and delish! Followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, stirring a little yogurt into my bowl instead of lemon. Will definitely make this again.