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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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:
- 1 - 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
- Sumac and Dried Mint
- Add yogurt, salt and lemon juice to a small bowl.
- Mince 1 clove of garlic (if you like garlic) 1 1/2 - 2 cloves (if you REALLY like garlic).
- Use the side of a sharp knife to crush the garlic and add it to the yogurt mixture.
- Garnish with spices and put aside, covered, in the refrigerator.
Serving Size2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving Calories 21Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 2mgSodium 162mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 2g
- 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)
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until they just begin to soften.
- Add the garlic and carrots and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, red pepper flakes and stir for one minute.
- Add the potato, red pepper paste and tomato paste to the pot and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and lentils. Bring the soup to a boil, and then cover and reduce to simmer.
- 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.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes until the lentils and potatoes are soft.
- Garnish with parsley (or cilantro), and serve with the yogurt sauce, lemon wedges and red hot pepper flakes on the side.
Amount Per Serving Calories 159Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 0mgSodium 151mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 5gSugar 3gProtein 9g