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Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe

Turkish Lentil Soup, also known as Mercimek Çorbasi, is a smooth, aromatic and comforting soup that originates from Turkey. This hearty dish is typically enjoyed in the colder months and is known for its warming and filling qualities. The soup is made using simple, wholesome ingredients that come together to create a dish that is satisfying and full of flavour.

Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe
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One ingredient that you may not have in your pantry is Aleppo pepper. It's a type of chili pepper that gives a moderate heat and fruity flavor to dishes. If you can't find it, you can substitute it with a half portion of cayenne pepper and a half portion of sweet paprika.

Essential Ingredients for Turkish Lentil Soup

Butter: Used to sauté the onion and carrot, adding a rich flavor to the soup.

White onion: Adds a sweet and savory taste to the soup.

Carrot: Provides a subtle sweetness and adds to the overall texture of the soup.

Tomato paste: Adds a tangy flavor and enhances the color of the soup.

Ground cumin: Gives the soup a warm and earthy flavor.

Aleppo pepper: Adds a moderate heat and fruity flavor to the soup.

Vegetable stock: The base of the soup, provides depth of flavor.

Red lentils: They are the star of the show, providing heartiness and a creamy texture when cooked down.

Yukon gold potato: Adds thickness and heartiness to the soup.

Sea salt and Black pepper: Used to season the soup.

Fresh lemon wedges: Adds a tangy freshness that enhances the other flavors.

Fresh mint: Adds a refreshing note to the soup, perfect for balancing the earthy flavors.

One reader, Artair Waldron says:

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This Turkish lentil soup recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are rich and comforting, and the texture is perfectly creamy. It's a breeze to make and tastes like it's been simmering all day. I love serving it with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of mint. So delicious!

Artair Waldron

Key Techniques for Making Turkish Lentil Soup

How to sauté the onion and carrot: In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion and carrot for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.

How to purée the soup: Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until completely smooth. Alternatively, transfer the soup to a traditional blender and carefully purée until smooth.

How to season the soup: Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

How to serve the soup: Serve the soup warm, sprinkled with chopped fresh mint and fresh lemon wedges for squeezing. Enjoy!

How To Make Turkish Lentil Soup

This simple lentil soup is a smooth, delicious, and slightly spicy appetizer that’s popular in Istanbul. Whip up a warm batch in just 30 minutes!

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



  • 1tbspbutter,or olive oil
  • 1medium white onion,peeled, diced
  • 1carrot,diced
  • 1tbsptomato paste,optional
  • 1tspground cumin
  • ½tspAleppo pepper
  • 6cupsvegetable stock,or chicken
  • 1cupred lentils,rinsed, picked over
  • 1small yukon gold potato,diced into ½-inch cubes
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper,to taste
  • fresh lemon wedges,for serving
  • fresh mint,chopped, for serving


  1. Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and carrot for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.

  2. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, and Aleppo pepper. Sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the stock, red lentils, potato, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

  4. To purée the soup, use an immersion blender to purée until completely smooth. Or transfer the soup to a traditional blender and carefully purée* until smooth.

  5. Taste the soup, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Serve warm, sprinkled with chopped fresh mint and fresh lemon wedges for squeezing. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • If there is no Aleppo pepper, substitute with ½ teaspoon of sweet paprika plus a pinch of cayenne.
  • *When using a traditional blender, it’s important to not overfill the blender; hence, purée in batches as hot liquids expand when blended. Also, always keep the cap on the blender lid slightly tented open so that hot air can escape.
  • Any leftovers can be stored in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freeze for up to 3 months.


  • Calories: 255.90kcal
  • Fat: 3.82g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.97g
  • Trans Fat: 0.12g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.02g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.48g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.18g
  • Fiber: 7.64g
  • Sugar: 4.08g
  • Protein: 13.65g
  • Cholesterol: 7.63mg
  • Sodium: 1137.54mg
  • Calcium: 57.26mg
  • Potassium: 676.80mg
  • Iron: 4.21mg
  • Vitamin A: 172.85µg
  • Vitamin C: 19.04mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Turkish Lentil Soup

When puréeing the soup, ensure to do it in batches if you're using a traditional blender. Overfilling can cause a mess and potential burns from the hot soup. Always start on a low speed to prevent the soup from splashing. If you're using an immersion blender, make sure the blender is fully submerged in the soup to avoid splattering. This will also give you a smoother consistency.

Time-Saving Tips for Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop and measure all your ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

One-pot wonders: Opt for recipes that require minimal dishes and cooking tools to save time on cleanup.

Batch cooking: Make a large batch of soup and freeze individual portions for quick and convenient meals later on.

Time-saving tools: Utilize kitchen gadgets like food processors, immersion blenders, and slow cookers to expedite meal preparation.

Efficient organization: Keep your kitchen well-organized to easily locate ingredients and cooking utensils, saving time and reducing stress during meal prep.

Substitute Ingredients For Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe

  • butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can provide a similar richness and flavor to the dish, while also being a healthier alternative to butter.

  • white onion - Substitute with yellow onion: Yellow onions have a slightly stronger flavor compared to white onions, but they can still work well in the soup and provide a similar texture.

  • carrot - Substitute with celery: Celery can add a similar crunch and subtle sweetness to the soup, while also contributing to the overall flavor profile.

  • tomato paste - Substitute with crushed tomatoes: Using crushed tomatoes can add a different texture to the soup, but it will still provide the desired tomato flavor and richness.

  • ground cumin - Substitute with coriander: Coriander can offer a similar earthy and slightly citrusy flavor to the dish, complementing the other spices and ingredients.

  • aleppo pepper - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can provide a similar level of heat and smokiness to the soup, enhancing its overall flavor profile.

  • vegetable stock - Substitute with chicken stock: Chicken stock can add a savory depth of flavor to the soup, and it can work well with the other ingredients in the recipe.

  • red lentils - Substitute with green lentils: Green lentils can be used as a substitute for red lentils, providing a slightly firmer texture while still delivering a delicious and hearty soup.

  • yukon gold potato - Substitute with sweet potato: Sweet potatoes can add a touch of natural sweetness and a creamy texture to the soup, creating a unique twist on the traditional recipe.

  • fine sea salt - Substitute with kosher salt: Kosher salt can be used as a substitute for fine sea salt, providing a similar level of salinity to the dish.

  • fresh lemon wedges - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar can add a tangy acidity to the soup, similar to the brightness that fresh lemon wedges would provide.

  • fresh mint - Substitute with fresh parsley: Fresh parsley can offer a vibrant and herbaceous flavor to the soup, enhancing its overall freshness and aroma.

Presentation Ideas for Turkish Lentil Soup

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting this Turkish lentil soup, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use clean, white serving bowls to showcase the vibrant color of the soup and allow the garnishes to stand out.

  2. Garnish with precision: Carefully place a sprig of fresh mint on top of the soup, ensuring it is delicately positioned to add a pop of color and freshness. Additionally, strategically place a lemon wedge on the side of the bowl to add a touch of brightness to the presentation.

  3. Consider the balance of flavors: When plating, ensure that the soup is the focal point, but also pay attention to the placement of the garnishes. The goal is to create a visually appealing dish that complements the rich and aromatic flavors of the Turkish lentil soup.

  4. Mindful portioning: Serve the soup in smaller, sophisticated portions, allowing the flavors to shine without overwhelming the palate. This approach will also align with the refined dining experience expected by culinary professionals with 3 Michelin stars.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Lentil Soup

  • Stockpot: A large pot used for making soups, stews, and stocks.
  • Immersion blender: A handheld blender used for puréeing soups and sauces directly in the pot.
  • Traditional blender: A countertop blender used for puréeing and blending ingredients.
  • Chopping board: A flat board used for cutting and chopping vegetables and other ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile kitchen knife used for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients.
  • Measuring spoons: Utensils used for measuring small amounts of ingredients accurately.
  • Measuring cups: Utensils used for measuring dry and liquid ingredients accurately.
  • Ladle: A long-handled spoon with a deep bowl, used for serving soups and stews.
  • Stirring spoon: A long-handled spoon used for stirring and mixing ingredients in cooking.

Storing and Freezing Turkish Lentil Soup

  • Let the turkish lentil soup cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • Transfer the cooled soup to an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag.
  • If using a container, leave about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing.
  • Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy identification.
  • Store the soup in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze the soup, place the airtight container or freezer-safe bag in the freezer.
  • Lentil soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to enjoy the frozen soup, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat the thawed soup in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  • If the soup appears too thick after reheating, add a little vegetable stock or water to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed before serving the reheated soup.

How To Reheat Leftover Turkish Lentil Soup

  • To reheat leftover turkish lentil soup, start by transferring the desired portion into a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel to prevent splatters and help retain moisture. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the soup is heated through and steaming.

  • For a stovetop method, pour the leftover soup into a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If the soup appears too thick, add a splash of vegetable stock or water to thin it out. Heat until the soup is simmering and warmed through, about 5-7 minutes.

  • If you have a larger portion of leftover soup, consider reheating it in a slow cooker. Transfer the soup to the slow cooker, cover, and heat on low for 1-2 hours, or until the soup is heated through. This method is particularly useful if you need to keep the soup warm for an extended period.

  • To add a fresh twist to your reheated soup, consider garnishing it with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkle of fresh mint leaves, or a squeeze of lemon juice. These toppings will brighten up the flavors and make the soup taste as if it were freshly made.

  • If you find that the lentils have absorbed too much liquid during storage, you can add a bit more vegetable stock or water when reheating to achieve your desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed before serving.

Interesting Fact About Turkish Lentil Soup

The Turkish lentil soup recipe is a traditional dish that has been enjoyed for centuries in Turkey. Lentils are a staple in Turkish cuisine and are often used in soups, stews, and salads. This soup is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients, as lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. It's a perfect comfort food, especially during the colder months. Lentil soup is also a popular dish during Ramadan, as it is filling and nutritious. It's a versatile recipe that can be easily adapted to suit different tastes and dietary preferences.

Is Making Turkish Lentil Soup Cost-Effective?

The Turkish lentil soup recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. With affordable ingredients like red lentils, vegetable stock, and potatoes, this recipe offers a budget-friendly option for families. The use of fresh mint and lemon wedges adds a refreshing touch without breaking the bank. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $10, making it an economical choice. Overall Verdict: 9/10

Is Turkish Lentil Soup Healthy or Unhealthy?

This Turkish lentil soup recipe is generally healthy, as it contains several nutritious ingredients:

  • Red lentils are rich in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals
  • Vegetables like onion, carrot, and potato provide essential nutrients and fiber
  • Vegetable stock is a low-fat, low-calorie base for the soup
  • Cumin and Aleppo pepper add flavor without significant calorie contribution
  • Fresh mint and lemon provide additional vitamins and antioxidants

However, there are a few aspects that could be improved to make the recipe even healthier:

  • The butter could be replaced with a healthier fat, such as olive oil
  • The potato, while nutritious, is relatively high in carbohydrates

To further enhance the nutritional value of this soup, consider the following suggestions:

  • Replace the butter with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants
  • Reduce the amount of potato or replace it with a lower-carb vegetable, such as cauliflower or zucchini, to decrease the overall carbohydrate content
  • Add more vegetables to the soup, such as celery, bell peppers, or spinach, to increase the fiber and nutrient density
  • Include a source of lean protein, like shredded chicken or turkey, to make the soup more satiating and balanced
  • Garnish with a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt for added protein and creaminess without excessive calories

Editor's Opinion on This Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe

This Turkish lentil soup recipe is a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The combination of red lentils, potato, and aromatic spices creates a rich and satisfying soup. The addition of fresh mint and a squeeze of lemon adds a refreshing and bright finish. The recipe's simplicity makes it accessible for home cooks, while the use of traditional Turkish spices adds an authentic touch. Overall, this soup is a comforting and nourishing dish that is sure to impress with its depth of flavor and heartiness.

Enhance Your Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Naan: Whip up some homemade garlic naan to dip into the delicious Turkish lentil soup.
Mediterranean Salad: Create a refreshing Mediterranean salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta cheese to serve alongside the hearty lentil soup.
Lamb Kebabs: Grill some succulent lamb kebabs seasoned with Middle Eastern spices to pair with the flavorful Turkish lentil soup.
Baklava: Indulge in a sweet and flaky baklava for dessert after enjoying the comforting lentil soup.

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Appetizer and Dessert Combinations for This Lentil Soup Recipe

Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal. Filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs, each bite is bursting with deliciousness.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful caprese skewers are a fresh and vibrant appetizer option. Alternating cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves on skewers, they are drizzled with a balsamic glaze for a burst of flavor in every bite.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and decadent texture of this dessert will leave your taste buds craving for more.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender baked apples and a crispy oat topping. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.

Why trust this Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe:

This Turkish lentil soup recipe is a trusted classic, featuring red lentils and a blend of aromatic spices like cumin and Aleppo pepper. The addition of fresh lemon wedges and mint adds a refreshing twist to the dish. With a rich base of vegetable stock and the perfect balance of flavors, this recipe promises a comforting and satisfying experience for all soup enthusiasts. Trust in the simplicity and authenticity of this recipe to bring the flavors of Turkish cuisine to your table.

Share your thoughts and experiences with this Turkish Lentil Soup recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section. Let's discuss any variations or tips you may have to perfect this comforting and flavorful dish.
What is the best way to serve Turkish lentil soup?
I recommend serving the soup warm, garnished with chopped fresh mint and fresh lemon wedges for squeezing. It pairs well with a side of crusty bread or a simple salad.
Can I use something else instead of red lentils?
Red lentils work best for this recipe, but you can also use brown or green lentils. Keep in mind that the cooking time may vary, and the texture of the soup might be slightly different.
How can I make this soup creamier?
To make the soup creamier, you can add a splash of heavy cream or coconut milk after puréeing the soup. Stir it in gently until fully combined.
Can I make this soup in advance?
Yes, you can make the soup in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop, adding a splash of water or stock if needed to reach your desired consistency.
Is this soup suitable for vegetarians and vegans?
Yes, this Turkish lentil soup is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans as it is made with vegetable stock and does not contain any animal products.

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