turkish lentil soup

turkish lentil soup

After a beautiful 25 degree spring day yesterday, Melbourne has turned grey and wintry again today. But it is getting close to the end of where we can reasonably expect many more cold days and nights, so this is probably my winter soup farewell for 2013.

This soup, a veganised version,  is based on a recipe in Turquoise: A Chef’s Travel’s in Turkey, by Greg and Lucy Malouf.  The recipe comes via my friend Susan who also tinkered with it a bit before handing it on. I’ve tinkered a bit more.

Five of us gathered the other night at Susan’s place to do a blind tasting of some new fennel pickle recipes she is testing. We had this soup for dinner before hand, with some bread and a salad. It was a good reminder of the simple pleasure of dining with friends. We often go to great lengths to make complex food when entertaining, but food doesn’t have to be super fancy to be great when shared.

Anyway, enough philosophising. I loved this soup. I had a cold at the time and its chilli hit was just what I needed. It’s quick and easy to make. You can decide you want some and actually have it about 40 minutes later.

It just qualifies as seasonal. It has parsley and mint in it from the plants in my garden,  both of which seem intent on world domination.

I ate it with some sourdough and hummus.


turkish lentil soup
prep time
cook time
total time
recipe type: quick meals
cuisine: turkish
serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (finely diced)
  • 1 medium carrot (finely diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 200g split red lentils
  • 1½ litres water
  • 1 medium tomato (diced)
  • ¼ cup bulgar wheat
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper
  • 1 handful parsley (chopped)
  • mint (finely sliced)
  • lemon wedges to serve
  1. Heat oil over a low heat in a large, heavy based saucepan.
  2. Stir the onion, carrot and garlic around in the hot oil, then add the cumin, smoked paprika, hot paprika and sweet paprika and saute for 5-8 minutes until the vegetables soften.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the lentils and water and bring to the boil.
  5. Cover the pan and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  6. When the lentils have broken down and become creamy, add the bulgar and tomatoes, salt and pepper then simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the parsley.
  8. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into warmed serving bowls.
  9. Garnish with the mint and serve with lemon wedges.
You can vary the amount of hot paprika here. If you're feeling wimpy you can just use a small amount, or replace all the smoked paprika with hot. The amount in the recipe is for the minimum. It is barely spicy at all.



4 thoughts on “turkish lentil soup”

  • sounds great – agree a simple lentil soup is one of the good things in life – love the mint garnish – I really need to use up mint in my garden – never thought of putting it into a lentil soup

    • Yes Johanna the mint is good, but in the amount that gets used, it won’t make a dent in most mint plants! 🙂

  • ooh this is exactly the kind of soup I’ve been craving whilst on holidays. Thanks so much for your recipe. Can’t wait to get home and into the kitchen!

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