Turkish Creamy Of Red Lentil Soup by Alex Bayev December 1, 2020 by Alex Bayev Published: December 1, 2020Last Updated on August 24, 2023 4.5K views 4.5K Pin8YumTweetShareTelegramVibeFlip8 Shares Lentil soup is one of Turkey’s most popular national dishes. It can be found there on almost any restaurant’s menu. Even outside Turkey, this soup has gained popularity practically all over Europe and in Middle Eastern countries. It was not invented by Turks. The first mention of lentil soup is found in the Bible and one of the comments of Aristophanes, the ancient Greek poet. I admit that I honestly have no idea how the biblical version of the soup differed from the modern Turkish and whether it was different at all. Most likely it did differ in some way. Anyway, today we are going to cook the Turkish version of this soup. Allow me to briefly tell you why this lentil soup deserves your attention. The soup cooks very quickly. From the beginning of cooking to serving, you will need just 30-40 minutes. Of these, 5-7 minutes are to prepare the ingredients (peel and cut potatoes, carrots, onions), 5 minutes are to fry the vegetables. Then it remains only to boil the lentils and puree everything once done. Oh, and a minute to make the deliciously fragrant paprika butter for a topping. Despite the simplicity of the cooking process and the ordinariness of the ingredients, the soup turns out to be very nutritious, fragrant, and rich. The soup costs practically nothing in the financial sense. Unsalted butter is probably the most expensive ingredient, and it can be replaced with vegetable oil if desired. In addition to these 3 points, you could tell us about the usefulness of soup and a dozen, if not hundreds of healing properties of lentils. But I am not a nutritionist to talk about these aspects. So, rather, let’s cook it at the first opportunity. After that, don’t forget to tell us in the comments how delicious it was. Contents🔪Ingredients🥣 Directions📋 Substitutes💭 Cooking Tips🌶️ Variations🥡 How to Store🥗 What to serve with?🙋♂️ FAQ 🔪Ingredients 2 tbsp. vegetable oil 200 g (7,1 oz) red lentils 1 carrot 1 onion 1 potato 1 tomato 2 garlic cloves 1 tbsp. tomato paste ½ chili pepper (optional) To serve: 1 tbsp. paprika 20-30 g (0,7-1,1 oz) butter Gear: Blender (submersible or stationary) 🥣 Directions Step 1. Dice onions, carrots, and potatoes. Randomly slice the tomatoes and finely chop the garlic. Peel 1 onion, 1 carrot, and 1 potato, then cut into medium dice. Finely chop 2 peeled garlic cloves. Cut 1 tomato into quarters and then cut those in half again. Cut the chili pepper (if you use and like it hotter) in half and remove the seeds. Step 2. Wash the lentils by straining them 2-3 times under running water. Weigh 200 grams (7,1 oz) of red lentils (approximately 1 cup), pour into a colander, and pour water over. Rinse lentils for 10-15 seconds, then drain. Repeat the washing process a couple more times. Step 3. In a saucepan, fry onion in 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, add garlic, and fry for another minute. Add carrots, potatoes, tomato paste, washed lentils, and pour in 1.5 liters of boiling water. Cover with the lid and cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Take a saucepan of 3+ liter capacity and place on medium heat. Pour in 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, heat it, and add the sliced onions. Fry for a couple of minutes until soft. Add the garlic and stir-fry for another minute. Next, add the sliced potatoes, tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils, and chili pepper(if you use). Gently stir-fry the contents of the saucepan for a few minutes then pour in 1.5 liter boiling water. Bring it to the boil and cover it with a lid. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils are soft. Step 4. Season. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or pour it into a bowl and use a stationary one. Season well with salt and pepper. Add salt and pepper. If you use an immersion blender, plunge it directly into the pot. If stationary, pour the soup into the blender bowl and puree. Before liquidizing the soup chili pepper it is advisable to take the half chili pepper out. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Step 5. To serve, melt butter in a small pan, add paprika, and stir. Pour the soup into warmed bowls and pour the melted paprika butter over the top. Before serving, melt 20-30 g (0,7-1,1 oz) of butter on low heat. When the butter melts and becomes golden, add 1 tbsp of paprika and mix. Pour the soup into bowls and serve with the freshly prepared fragrant butter. More Turkish recipes: Turkish Simit Ramadan Pidesi (No-Knead Turkish Pide Bread) Turkish eggs (Cilbir) 📋 Substitutes Carrot — 1 parsnip, sweet and slightly spicy taste; 1 sweet potato, sweet and starchy texture. Onion — 1-2 shallots, milder and sweeter taste; 1 leek (white part only), mild and slightly sweet taste; ½ cup chopped green onions, fresh and mild taste. Potato — 1 turnip, slightly bitter and earthy taste; 1 rutabaga, mildly sweet and earthy taste; 1 cup cauliflower florets, milder taste and less starchy texture. Tomato — ½ cup canned diced tomatoes, similar taste but softer texture; 2 tbsp. tomato paste, concentrated and richer taste; 1 cup chopped bell pepper, milder and slightly sweet taste. Garlic cloves — ¼ tsp. garlic powder, milder taste and finer texture; ½ tsp. garlic granules, milder taste and coarser texture; 1 tsp. garlic flakes, milder taste and flaky texture. Red chili pepper — ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, spicier and slightly smoky taste; ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper, hotter and more intense taste; ½ tsp. paprika, milder and sweeter taste. Sweet paprika — 1 tbsp. smoked paprika, smoky and slightly spicier taste; 1 tbsp. regular paprika, milder taste; ½ tbsp. ancho chili powder, mild heat and fruity flavor. Butter — 30 g (1,1 oz) margarine, similar taste and texture but plant-based; 30 g (2 tbsp) coconut oil, subtle coconut flavor and plant-based; 30 g (1,1 oz) ghee, richer and nuttier taste. 💭 Cooking Tips Rinse lentils. Thoroughly wash red lentils under cold water to remove any dirt or debris before cooking. Sauté aromatics. Gently sauté onions, garlic, and carrots in oil or butter to enhance their flavors and add depth to the soup. Toast spices. Briefly toast spices like cumin, paprika, or chili flakes in the oil before adding other ingredients. This releases their essential oils and elevates the overall taste. Simmer gently. Let the soup simmer gently to allow the flavors to meld and the lentils to become tender without overcooking. Blend for smoothness. For a creamier texture, blend the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a countertop blender. Be cautious if using a countertop blender, as hot liquids can create pressure. Adjust consistency. Feel free to add more broth or water if the soup is too thick, or let it simmer longer to thicken. Season to taste. Always taste the soup before serving and adjust salt, pepper, and spices as needed. Add a touch of acid. A squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can brighten the flavors and add balance to the soup. Garnish and serve. Top the soup with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil or melted butter, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley or mint for added flavor and visual appeal. 🌶️ Variations Swap oil and spices. Substitute vegetable oil with olive or coconut oil for a different flavor profile. Use smoked paprika or cumin instead of sweet paprika for a smoky or earthy twist. Add more vegetables. Incorporate other vegetables such as bell peppers, celery, or zucchini into the soup for more texture and flavor. Dice them similarly to the carrots and potatoes and sauté along with the onion. Use different legumes. Replace red lentils with green lentils, yellow split peas, or chickpeas for a variation in taste and texture while maintaining the overall essence of the dish. Experiment with herbs. Add fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano during the cooking process to infuse the soup with more depth of flavor. Adjust the amount based on your taste preference. Roast the vegetables. For a richer, more complex flavor, roast the carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes before adding them to the soup. This will enhance their natural sweetness and add a caramelized note to the dish. Add greens. Stir in chopped spinach, kale, or Swiss chard towards the end of the cooking process for added color, nutrients, and a slight bitterness that contrasts the soup’s sweetness. Incorporate grains. Add cooked grains like barley, quinoa, or rice to the finished soup for a heartier dish with more texture. Adjust texture. For a chunkier soup, only blend half of the mixture and leave the rest intact for added texture. Alternatively, skip blending altogether and enjoy the soup as a rustic, chunky dish. Lemon zest and juice. Add lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice to the finished soup for a bright, zesty note that enhances the flavors. Alternative garnish. Instead of paprika butter, top the soup with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, or a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds for added crunch and flavor. 🥡 How to Store Storing in the refrigerator After cooking, allow the soup to cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer the soup into an airtight container, making sure the lid is secured properly. Place the container in the refrigerator and store the soup for up to 3-4 days. When you’re ready to enjoy the soup again, reheat it gently in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating. Alternatively, you can use a microwave-safe container and heat the soup in intervals, stirring between each interval, until it reaches the desired temperature. Freezing for long-term storage If you wish to store the soup for a longer period, start by letting it cool down completely at room temperature. After cooling, pour the soup into freezer-safe containers or resealable freezer bags, taking care to leave about an inch of space at the top for expansion during freezing. Label the containers or bags with the date and contents, and store the soup in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve the soup later, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, ensuring it’s fully defrosted before reheating. You can then reheat the soup gently in a saucepan on the stovetop, or use the microwave method mentioned above. Please note that it’s best to hold off on adding any garnishes like paprika butter, yogurt, or fresh herbs until after you’ve reheated the soup. This will help maintain the garnishes’ texture and flavor, ensuring a delicious meal every time you serve the soup. 🥗 What to serve with? Warm crusty bread or pita. Serving warm bread, Turkish Bazlama, Pide Bread or pan-roasted pita alongside the soup allows you to soak up the flavorful broth and adds a contrasting texture. The bread’s mild flavor balances the soup’s richness and spices, creating a harmonious combination. Bulgur or rice pilaf. A side of bulgur or rice pilaf complements the soup by providing a hearty, slightly nutty, and chewy element. The grains absorb the soup’s flavors, and their mild taste complements the spiciness of the lentil soup without overpowering it. Cucumber and tomato salad. A fresh, crisp salad made from cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs, provides a refreshing contrast to the warm, hearty soup. The cool, crunchy vegetables and tangy dressing help cleanse the palate between bites of the rich soup. Grilled or roasted vegetables. Serving grilled or roasted seasonal vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms adds a smoky, caramelized flavor to the meal. The vegetables’ natural sweetness and tender texture balance the soup’s spices and provide a satisfying, wholesome accompaniment. Mediterranean mezze platter. Offer a variety of Mediterranean small dishes like hummus, baba ganoush or eggplant meze, taramasalata, dolma, marinated olives, fava and feta cheese to complement the Turkish red lentil soup. These diverse flavors and textures create a delightful contrast, making each bite interesting and enjoyable. Yogurt or labneh. A side of plain yogurt, Greek yogurt, or labneh adds a creamy, tangy element that helps to cut through the soup’s richness. The cool, smooth texture of the yogurt complements the warm, slightly spicy soup, creating a well-rounded flavor experience. 🙋♂️ FAQ What are the key ingredients in Turkish red lentil soup? The main ingredients in Turkish red lentil soup include red lentils, onion, carrot, potato, tomato, garlic, red chili pepper, and spices like sweet paprika or cumin. The soup is typically garnished with melted paprika butter, yogurt, or fresh herbs like parsley or mint. Do I need to soak the lentils before cooking? No, red lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking. However, it’s important to rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris Can I freeze Turkish red lentil soup? Yes, the soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Cool the soup completely, transfer it to freezer-safe containers or bags, and leave about an inch of space for expansion. Thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. How do I reheat the soup? Reheat the soup gently in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, or use a microwave-safe container and heat in intervals, stirring in between, until heated through. How can I make the soup creamier? You can blend the soup using an immersion blender or a countertop blender to create a smoother, creamier texture. Be cautious with hot liquids in a countertop blender, as they can create pressure. Can I add other vegetables or ingredients to the soup? Yes, you can add other vegetables like bell peppers, celery, zucchini, or leafy greens. You can also incorporate fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano, or add cooked grains like barley, quinoa, or rice for a heartier dish. Can I use other types of lentils for this soup? Yes, you can substitute red lentils with other varieties like green lentils or yellow split peas. However, the texture and flavor of the soup will change slightly. Is Turkish red lentil soup vegan? The soup can easily be made vegan by using vegetable oil or olive oil instead of butter and omitting the garnish or using a dairy-free alternative like coconut yogurt. What can I serve with Turkish red lentil soup? Complementary side dishes include warm crusty bread, pita, bulgur or rice pilaf, cucumber and tomato salad, grilled or roasted vegetables, Mediterranean mezze platter, or yogurt. How can I adjust the spiciness of the soup? You can modify the spiciness by adjusting the amount of red chili pepper or using milder alternatives like paprika or bell pepper. You can also add a dollop of yogurt to the soup to temper the heat. Turkish Cream of Lentil Soup 5 from 1 vote Lentil soup is one of Turkey’s most popular national dishes. It can be found there on almost any restaurant's menu. Even outside Turkey, this soup has gained popularity practically all over Europe and in Middle Eastern countries. It was not invented by Turks. The first mention of lentil soup is found in the Bible and one of the comments of Aristophanes, the ancient Greek poet. I admit that I honestly have no idea how the biblical version of the soup differed from the modern Turkish and whether it was different at all. Most likely it did differ in some way. Pin Recipe Print Recipe CourseSoupCuisineTurkish Prep Time10 minutes minutesCook Time30 minutes minutesTotal Time40 minutes minutes Calories1451kcal EquipmentBlender (submersible or stationary) Ingredients Metric – US Customary2 tbsp. vegetable oil200 g red lentils1 carrot1 onion1 potato1 tomato2 garlic cloves½ red chili pepper optionalTo serve:1 tbsp. sweet paprika30 g butter InstructionsDice onions, carrots, and potatoes. Randomly slice the tomatoes and finely chop the garlic.Wash the lentils by straining them 2-3 times under running water. In a saucepan, fry onion in 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, add garlic, and fry for another minute. Add carrots, potatoes, tomato paste, washed lentils, and pour in 1.5 liters of boiling water. Cover with the lid and cook for 20 minutes on low heat.Season. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or pour it into a bowl and use a stationary one. Season well with salt and pepper.To serve, melt butter in a small pan, add paprika, and stir. Pour the soup into warmed bowls and pour the melted paprika butter over the top. NutritionCalories: 1451 kcal | Carbohydrates: 181 g | Protein: 61 g | Fat: 59 g | Saturated Fat: 40 g | Cholesterol: 65 mg | Sodium: 302 mg | Potassium: 3703 mg | Fiber: 75 g | Sugar: 15 g | Vitamin A: 19657 IU | Vitamin C: 108 mg | Calcium: 215 mg | Iron: 21 mg Tried this recipe? Tag me on Instagram!I love seeing what you’ve made! Mention @bayevskitchen and tag it #bayevskitchen to be reposted in my stories! Pin8YumTweetShareTelegramVibeFlip8 Shares BudgetHealthyPaprikaQuick (up to 30 minutes)Super easyTurkishVegetables Leave a Comment Cancel Reply Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Recipe Rating Recipe Rating Δ You may also like Healthy Potato Soup Italian Chicken Tortellini Soup Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup Orange and Beetroot Soup Beer Soup White Onion Soup Ajo Blanco – Spanish cold almond cream soup Shrimp and Corn Soup Heston Blumenthal’s Mushroom Soup Raspberry Gazpacho: Easy to made Cold Soup Recipe... Alex Bayev Hi, I'm Alex Bayev, bayevskitchen.com founder and food blogger who is passionate about cooking and photography. Since starting my blog in 2015, I have been sharing simple yet elegant recipes made with high-quality ingredients that anyone can recreate at home. I believe that food has the power to create unforgettable experiences.