Turkish Red Lentil Soup is super easy to make and perfect on cold days to warm you up. One of the best vegan soups because it is super filling and full of flavors.
This post was originally published in 2009 and we are now updating it with new pictures and additional information.
If you happen to go to a restaurant in Turkey, you see that there is one soup they always have on their menu: Red Lentil Soup. It is like the national soup of Turkish people. Believe it or not, we can even have it for breakfast in the morning on a cold winter day. With a lot of lemon juice. I don’t know a better way to start a freezing day.
If you need a satisfying soup that is not heavy and comes together quickly, this recipe fits the bill perfectly. I can imagine the happy smile on your face when you have a bowl of heartwarming and tasty red lentil soup. Even the smell coming from the bowl is so comforting.
How to Make Red Lentil Soup
Although red lentil soup has several versions in Turkish cuisine, I’d like to share the simplest recipe here. The steps are quite straightforward and anyone can make it. The best part is that you don’t need to soak lentils, they cook well in about 20 minutes.
Put everything in a deep pot, cook until tender and then blend until smooth. Make an olive oil drizzle with spices in a sauce pan and drizzle it over the soup either when it’s still in the pot or after sharing it in bowls. Don’t forget to serve it with a few lemon wedges. I know I forgot it when shooting the photos but we never have it without squeezing lemon on it.
Is Red Lentil Soup Healthy?
This soup is not only decadent and comforting but also super nutritious. Lentils are a good source of protein and fiber, that’s why it is perfect for vegans. Plus, they have a low glycemic index when you boil them yourself. It might be higher though if you are using canned lentils. Also, it is low in calories. To put it in a nutshell, red lentil soup is a great option for a healthy diet.
Lentil Soup Red or Green?
I love all types of lentils and use them often in my cooking. Red lentil soup is smooth and creamy without cream. We mostly have it as a starter and have the main course afterwards. I sometimes use a combination of yellow and red lentils to make this soup. On the other hand, a green lentil soup makes a super satisfying lunch or dinner on its own. Have you seen our Lentil and Spinach Soup? It’s one of our favorite meals.
Can You Freeze Red Lentil Soup?
If you have leftovers and won’t be eating it in the next few days, freezing the soup is a good idea. Make sure it is cold enough before putting it in the freezer. Also, keeping it in an airtight container is important.
A quick note about re-heating red lentil soup: If it is too thick, add a little hot water when re-heating.
The original post is as follows:
I want to share a Ramadan tradition that is still alive especially in small cities of Turkey. As it’s hard for traditions to survive in big cities, they are mostly seen in towns or small cities where people have more intimate relationships. On the other hand, people in big cities are always complaining that they don’t have these old traditions any more. One of the Ramadan traditions I remember is that neighbors exchange whatever they cook for dinner. And this is mostly the responsibility of the youngest family member to take the food to the next door neighbor. It was mine when I was a child.
Food exhange during Ramadan
Mom used to prepare a bowl of the dish she made and tell me to take it to our neighbor. I must admit that I always wonder what our neighbor cooked on that day. She used to empty my bowl and fill it with the dish she cooked and give it in return, which is the second part of this tradition. That’s why I love it, it’s a very good way of sharing. In this way, you have a richer dinner table. And I think the significance of giving this responsibility to children is to teach them sharing.
Mom used to pick another neighbor next day and I used to take the dish to them. I used to walk so fast going and coming back form our neighbor’s home as I didn’t want to miss the time of iftar. And when I heard imam’s voice on the way home, calling for the prayer (which means we can break our fast), I used to start to run! Everything was more exciting those times. But if there is no child in a house, you yourself take the dish to your neighbor. When I talk to mom on the phone these days, she says they still have this tradition in my hometown.
Among the soups I learnt from mom, red lentil soup is my favorite. Our neighbors used to love it, too. One bowl was never enough for them, so mom used to send them a small pot full of this soup. This is a traditional Turkish soup and you can find it at every Turkish restaurant at any time.Print
Turkish Red Lentil Soup
Spicy red lentil soup with potato, onion and carrot flavors.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 potato, chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried mint
- Salt to taste
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet chili powder or flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- Combine lentils, onion, carrot, potato and spices in a large pot. Pour water over them. Cook it uncovered until it boils over medium high heat.
- Bring the heat to medium low and let it simmer stirring occasionally until everything is tender.
- Blend it until smooth using a hand blender. Put it back over the lowest heat, add in lemon juice and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- For the olive oil drizzle, heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add in chili powder and dried mint, stir once or twice and remove from the heat.
- Serve the soup hot in bowls with a drizzle of the spicy olive oil. You can garnish it with herbs.
In the original recipe there was an optional step:
Melt 1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan and cook 1 tablespoon flour in it over the lowest heat until it gets brown. Transfer it into the pot when the soup is simmering and stir well.
This gives a nice subtle smoky and buttery flavor but it’s completely optional. I mostly skip it because I’m mostly in a hurry and don’t want another step when cooking or baking. The soup is still so tasty without that flour addition.