Soups

Turkish Lentil Soup

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Creamy and delicious Turkish lentil soup! The soup is super easy to make, comes together in one pot in just 20 minutes. It’s bright, refreshing, and a great way to incorporate more lentils into your meal plan.

turkish lentil soup in a bowl with lemon and parsley on top

This lentil soup is pretty straightforward to make. First, garlic, onion, and potatoes are sauteed with few spices in a pot, and then the red lentils are added together along with the vegetable broth. Once cooked, everything is blended until creamy and smooth! To finish up the soup, I there’s an optional kind of sauce that can be added in each individual serving consisting of garlic, lemon, and parsley which lightens up the soup and brings all the ingredients together.

There are a few ways this soup is prepared in Turkey. In most restaurants, it’s thickened with white flour, as opposed to homemade red lentil soup made with only red lentils or red lentils and potatoes as a thickener. The potato does not add any flavor to the soup, and it’s just there to help the lentils thicken the soup. Most of the time, I make this soup with potatoes, but I will share both versions with and without potatoes with you since the process is very similar.

Turkish Lentil Soup is the best way to eat lentils!

I’ve been making this Turkish lentil soup for more than a year now, and it never disappoints. What I especially love about this one is the versatility of the ingredients. Of course, red lentils are a must, but you can switch the other ingredients such as potatoes for more lentils, vegetable broth with regular water. Add toppings of your choice, such as feta cheese, parsley, or cilantro. Drizzled olive oil, lime juice, or zest on top.

Another delicious quick recipe is this lemon rice soup! I especially love this one because it’s creamy, lemony, and packed with veggies.

Health Benefits Of Lentils 

Lentils have many health benefits! Red lentils have up to 25% protein in them, making them a big source of plant protein. They are also rich in fiber, potassium and a great source of B-vitamins. By consuming them regularly, they can help manage blood sugar levels and cholesterol, help with weight loss, increase energy levels!

What goes into Turkish lentil soup 

  • red lentils are best for Turkish lentil soup, they give a creamy texture and cook quickly;
  • potatoes contibute to the creamines but don’t change the flavor of the soup;
  • onion and garlic blended along with the lentils to add more flavor and complexity to the soup;
  • vegetable broth or water, both can be used and the result would be pretty similar;
  • spices: salt, pepper, oregano,Vegeta powder (optional but adds a lot of flavor especially if you are using water insted of vegetable broth)
ingredients for turkish lentil soup

Best lentils for Turkish lentil soup

Red split lentils are best for Turkish lentil soup. Although other lentils may work, they would require different cooking times and most likely more water to cook them. However, red lentils are used traditionally to make Turkish lentil soup, so that’s what I recommend trying.

How to Make Turkish Lentil Soup

  • In a pot, add olive oil on medium heat. Dice onion, and add that in the oil with a pinch of salt and oregano, fry for 1-2 minutes or untill softened and translusent. Next, dice the garlic cloves and add them to the pot, fry for another minute. Then add the potaotes and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Add the lentils and vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Wait for them to start boiling, then turn the heat on low and simmer for 10-15minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  • If using an immersion blender, blend immediately. If not, turn the pot out of the heat and wait for it to cool for 5 minutes. Then mix the lentils in a blender until creamy and transfer it back to the soup.
  • Boil for another minute or two take it of the heat and seve.

The most amazing Gremolata lemon sauce

When I discovered this delicious Gremolata sauce it was a game-changer for me! It can definitely be made without the garlic but the parsley, lemon, and olive oil freshen and brighten up the soup. What’s especially great is that it’s optional and can be added to each individual serving. The sauce can be made a few days in advance and stored in an airtight container for later use. I love adding Gremolata to soups, on top of salads, drizzled on grilled fish, into pasta salads etc, etc.

To make it: Dice or mince the garlic and add it to a small bowl. Add the freshly diced parsley followed by the lemon juice and olive oil and optionally some lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Mix everything well together and drizzle it over the soup once served.

Another option would be to put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse or a mortar and mix until you get a pesto-like texture. But for soups just dicing and mixing all ingredients together is just fine!

gremolata lemon sauce in a bowl

The Secret to an amazing Lentil Soup

Few secrets make this lentil soup over the top good! A big flavor enhancer is sauteing the veggies before boiling the lentils. The onion, garlic, and potatoes create a base for the water or vegetable broth which then the lentils soak up while boiling.

Another important thing is the vegetable broth. It doesn’t add only flavor but also gives a gorgeous yellow color to the soup and makes it rich in flavor. I also highly recommend adding the freshly squeezed lemon juice. It lightens up and makes the soup refreshing and oh so delicious!

What to serve with red lentil soup

This Turkish lentil soup goes especially great simple toasted bread, freshly baked pita bread, or crunchy croutons. I also love serving it on the side with salads or simply as a light appetizer before the main dish!

turkish lentil soup recipe

You’ll also love to try:

Turkish Menemen Recipe
Lentils and Rice – Fakorizo
Easy Potato Frittata
Zucchini Fritters Recipe


The Most Delicious Lentil Tomato Soup

If you are looking for something quick but nutritious for dinner, this Turkish lentil soup is for you. I included two versions of this soup, with and without potato. Both of them are delicious and do not have a significant difference in the end result.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main, Sides, Soups
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Turkish
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Lentil Soup

  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 garlic clove diced
  • 170 g 1 cup diced potatoes into 1/2 inch 1 cm cubes or 1 medium potato see notes if not using potatoes
  • 110 g 1/2 cup red lentils rinsed, or 180g lentils of not using potatoes
  • 1000 g 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optoinal Gremolata Sauce

  • 1 lemon juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove thinly diced or minced
  • a handful of parsley diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a pot add some olive oil and turn the heat on medium. Once the oil has been preheated, add onion a pinch of salt, and oregano and fry for 1-2 minutes or until the onion is translucent. In the meantime, slice the garlic and add that to the onion as well Finally, add the tomatoes cut into half-inch 1cm cubes, stir until everything is well combined and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the previously rinsed and drained lentils, followed by the vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Wait for them to start boiling, then turn the heat on low and simmer for 10-15minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  • Once the lentils are soft, turn the heat off and wait for the soup to cool down a little bit. Blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer the cream back to the pot.
  • Turn the heat on medium and boil for another 2-3 minutes.

Gremolata Sauce

  • Dice or mince the garlic and add it to a medium bowl.
  • Dice the parsley as well and add that to the bowl followed by the olive oil lemon juice, and optionally some lemon zest, salt and pepper. (Check notes if you want to make this sauce in a food processor. )
  • Mix everything well together and pour over each serving.

Notes

  • The potato does not change the flavor of the soup; it’s just there to act as a thickener. I usually make this soup with potato, but if you don’t like using it add 180g lentils instead of 120g.
  • Although it’s not necessary for this soup you can also make this gremolata sauce in a food processor, you would just have to toss everything in a food processor and pulse until you get a pesto-like consistency. If you decide to use a food processor I would suggest making larger quantities and storing the leftovers in the airtight container in the fridge. 

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