Red Lentil Soup with Yogurt and Garlic

(Last Updated On: June 15, 2019)

Prior to visiting Turkey, I had never tried red lentils. But in Istanbul you can’t go to a restaurant that features local dishes without running into red lentil soup.

As I’ve found out, the red lentils can be more convenient to work with than some other dried legumes because there is no need to soak them in advance and they are tender after about 20 minutes of cooking. The typical version of the soup is relatively simple, with a few typical Turkish spices, perhaps a bit of bulgur wheat added, and is served with a large wedge of lemon.

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Red Lentil Soup Recipe

For my version, I’ve added a few more vegetables and paired the soup with a few other Turkish favorites – yogurt and garlic. The soup by itself is very good, but the yogurt sauce brings it to a whole new level. And best yet, from start to finish you are ready to eat in under an hour.

Here are some additional Turkish recipes you might enjoy:

First, start by making the yogurt sauce:

Garlic and Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Yogurt Sauce with Lemon, Garlic, Sumac and Mint

Ingredients

  • 1 - 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • Sumac and Dried Mint

Instructions

  1. Add yogurt, salt and lemon juice to a small bowl.
  2. Mince 1 clove of garlic (if you like garlic) 1 1/2 - 2 cloves (if you REALLY like garlic).
  3. Use the side of a sharp knife to crush the garlic and add it to the yogurt mixture.
  4. Garnish with spices and put aside, covered, in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

2 tablespoons

Amount Per ServingCalories 21 Total Fat 1g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 2mg Sodium 162mg Carbohydrates 3g Fiber 0g Sugar 2g Protein 2g
Directions for making the Vegetable Lentil Soup:

Yield: 6 Servings

Red Lentil Vegetable Soup

Red Lentil Vegetable Soup

Red Lentil Soup with Potatoes, Onions and Carrots topped with a Garlic and Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 Medium Carrot, Diced
  • 1 Medium Potato, Peeled and Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Paste (use Tomato Paste as a substitute if necessary)
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • 1 Cup Red Lentils (dry)
  • 5 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • Parsley ( or Cilantro) and Lemon Wedges and Red Pepper Flakes (as a garnish)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until they just begin to soften.
  2. Add the garlic and carrots and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, red pepper flakes and stir for one minute.
  3. Add the potato, red pepper paste and tomato paste to the pot and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken broth and lentils. Bring the soup to a boil, and then cover and reduce to simmer.
  5. Add enough water to cover the vegetables as the soup continues to simmer. You can also add additional water if you would like a thinner soup.
  6. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the lentils and potatoes are soft.
  7. Garnish with parsley (or cilantro), and serve with the yogurt sauce, lemon wedges and red hot pepper flakes on the side.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per ServingCalories 159 Total Fat 6g Saturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 5g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 151mg Carbohydrates 20g Fiber 5g Sugar 3g Protein 9g

Here are some related articles about travel in Istanbul that you might also enjoy:

Turkish Hospitality in Istanbul, On Fire

The Best of Istanbul In A Day

Ultimate Guide to Istanbul Street Food

Grit Spice and Delights in Istanbul

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5 thoughts on “Red Lentil Soup with Yogurt and Garlic”

  1. We have a vegan version of this soup that we make all the time. It’s one of my favourite meals, though I’m pretty sure I never ate it when we were actually in Turkey.

  2. I adore lentils in pretty much any format and although I’ve made soup with them many times, I’ve not had it with the addition of yoghurt sauce – sounds wonderful.

    • I used to have the same reaction to cilantro – it made things taste like either soap or tin foil. I’ve read that it is a sensitivity or allergy. After I moved to California and started eating it more I lost the sensitivity and now its one of my favorite herbs.

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