One-Pot Wonders

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

August  4, 2014
Photo by Alpha Smoot
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

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 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
  • 8 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) red lentils, rinsed and picked over for debris
  • 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
In This Recipe
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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