Mercimek Çorbası – Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Heidrun Kubart
by Heidrun Kubart
4 Plates
35 min

This vegan Turkish red lentil soup has long been a favorite recipe. It’s easy, healthy, tasty, creamy, filling, and quick to make. And it tastes in every season: On the one hand, the red lentil soup is a typical cold season dish. Thanks to the lemon and mint, it also tastes great on warmer days. In addition, the lentil soup tastes sophisticated, but the recipe does not contain any fancy ingredients.

Red lentils do not only taste great, they are also quite cheap, and they can do a lot more. They contain more protein and iron than beef. Lentils also contain many other minerals such as zinc and magnesium, as well as some B vitamins, and are therefore really nourishing

This recipe is a great classic of oriental cuisine.

Mercimek Çorbası – Turkish Red Lentil Soup
Recipe details
  • 4  Plates
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 35 min
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  • 1 cup red lentils
  • olive oil
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh mint (dried is also ok, but use less then)
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
  • some chili powder (if you like it spicy)
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ - 1 lemon, the juice from it (and a little more for serving)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • Optional for serving (all or some of it, or nothing): Sumac (if you happen to have it at home. It gives the whole thing a lemony note), dried mint, or fresh mint. For the paprika butter: About 2 tbsp of vegan butter with 1/2 to 1 tbsp of paprika powder;

Wash the lentils with water in a colander and set them aside.
Cut the vegetables into pieces (since they are ultimately blended, they don't have to be cut small, particularly pretty, or evenly cut). Put the potato pieces aside.
Fry the carrot, onion, and garlic in a little olive oil.
When the onion pieces start to turn translucent, add the cumin, paprika, tomato paste, mint, parsley, and vegetable stock powder. And chili, if you use some. Stir and fry for 1-2 minutes.
Now add the lentils, water, and potato pieces and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables and lentils are soft.
Now add lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Next, blend everything. I use the same blender I make smoothies with.
If you feel the soup is too thick, add a little more water.
Serve the soup with a piece of lemon and fresh bread such as Turkish flatbread.
  • You can also add some sumac on top. Sometimes I further like to add some paprika butter: To do this, simply melt vegan butter and stir in sweet paprika powder. Fry for a short moment only, maybe a few seconds.
  • Dried mint also tastes great on this lentil soup. Sprinkle it on top or use it in your seasoned paprika butter. You can further use fresh, finely chopped mint. Parsley also goes well with it. Or you simply take everything at once - whatever you feel like.
Heidrun Kubart
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  • Cathleen Burke Zuabi Cathleen Burke Zuabi on Apr 13, 2022

    I make a version of this soup every night during the month of Ramadan with Fattoush salad. I use any and all vegetables that I have in the fridge including carrots, bell pepper, celery, onion, potato. I add cumin, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. I use an immersion blender and blend it right in the pot I made it in, a lot less mess. My husband is Jordanian and his mom taught me how to make this it's called Shorbat Adas. I also make it on cold, winter days. Warms the soul...

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    • Heidrun Kubart Heidrun Kubart on Apr 14, 2022

      This soup is so good that I understand that you make it, or your version, every night for a month. Unfortunately my immersion blender is broke since a while, and I fell in love with my big powerful blender. :-) But you are right, it's less mess and a bit less cleaning.

  • Aisha chakmak Aisha chakmak on Apr 13, 2022

    This is the only soup my picky eater wouldn’t refuse to eat. A truly life saver. We all love this hearty soup. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • Heidrun Kubart Heidrun Kubart on Apr 14, 2022

      You are welcome!

      My baby girl also loves it. But luckily she isn't picky (yet? … ;-))