Turkish Red Lentil Soup

July 20, 2009 at 1:36 am (AMA, Beans, breakfast, B_(3 stars, like), Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Turkish)

Based on a recipe from the AMA cookbook. I’ve made this soup many times. I particularly like it for breakfast. It’s pretty authentic I think, since a Turkish friend makes a very similar soup, except he fries dried mint in oil before adding it to the soup, and adds some white rice with the lentils. This recipe is an old standby that I’ve reposted. It was originally posted on Oct 3, 2006.

Heat in a large (3-5 qt?) saucepan or Dutch oven:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil (you can probably reduce this to 1 Tbs. if you want)


  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, sliced

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 6 minutes. Add:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1.5 Tbs sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Then stir in:

  • 5.5 cups vegetable broth (unsalted) or water and bouillon
  • 1.5 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes (I used canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1.5 Tbs tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until the lentils are very tender and almost completely dissolved, about 30 minutes. After the lentils are cooked you’ll need to add more water (about 2 cups) to achieve the consistency of a very thick soup.

Garnish with fresh minced mint, plain yogurt, and lemon juice.

Yields about 7.5 cups?

My Notes:

I made this today but I ran out of paprika so only had about half the amount. Thes soup turned out less vibrantly red and more brownish, and was somewhat bland. I really like the yogurt in it though. Something about the combination makes even nonfat plain yogurt taste incredibly rich and sweet.

Rating: B (This is a solid recipe that I enjoy.  It’s also healthy and filling and easy to make.  However,  I wouldn’t fight for the leftovers.)

Derek: B (He enjoys it with the mint and yogurt but says it’s not terribly exciting.)


  1. captious said,

    My friend Zelly wrote to me: Everyone loved the “Turkish Red Lentil Soup.” In fact, my Turkish friend asked for the recipe. I think that’s quite a high complement. We didn’t discuss authenticity, just how fabulous it was. So there you go. Kudos on the recipe. It was also fun to use some mint from the garden – that really made all the flavors bounce. BTW, I used a mix of chicken broth and water instead of the vegetable broth because that’s what I had on hand. I ate the leftovers for two days for lunch and it was oh, so satisfying and warming.

  2. Amy said,

    I made this recipe recently and my husband and I loved it! He calls it daal and eats it with as much enthusiasm as he eats Indian daals. Very easy to make a large batch. I love how the paprika flavors AND colors the dish. We ate it with yogurt, dried mint and lemon juice and these flavors balanced the dish wonderfully and made it really delicious.

  3. Red lentil soup with lemon and spinach « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] Indian, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) I already have two go-to red lentil soup recipes (Turkish and curried), but somehow I wasn’t in the mood for either of them, and I decided to try a new […]

  4. Simple Italian lentil soup « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] with only five ingredients, and a version with quinoa), plus three recipes for red lentil soup (Turkish, curried, and one with lemon and spinach).  So I have no idea why I decided to try another pretty […]

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