This Turkish lentil soup (mercimek corbasi) is packed with Mediterranean flavors. It is creamy, nourishing, and absolutely delicious. Let me share this authentic Turkish recipe with you today.
Mercimek çorbası -Turkish Lentil Soup
- Mercimek çorbası -Turkish Lentil Soup
- Why should you make it
- Ingredients for Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe
- How to make Turkish lentil soup
- How to blend lentil soup
- Aleppo pepper
- What to serve with Turkish red lentil soup
- How to store and reheat
- More healthy soup recipes
- Turkish Red Lentil Soup (mercimek çorbası)
Back in my pre-mum life, I used to travel. A lot. I was very lucky to travel for work and visited many countries. However, my favorite city was always Istanbul in Turkey. There is nothing you would not love about this city. The friendliest people, the sunniest days, and one of the most delicious cuisines on the planet.
Many Turkish companies have a kitchen where a warm lunch is cooked for the workers every day of the week. And mercimek corbasi or Turkish red lentil soup is a staple in Turkish cuisine. I had this simple yet delicious soup many times. Always freshly cooked, served with some warm Turkish crusty bread and lemon wedges. Sooo delicious!
Why should you make it
- Quick dinner. This is a perfect dish for a weeknight. It will take you 30 minutes from start to finish.
- Kid-friendly. The sweetness of red lentils and carrots makes this soup very kid-friendly. My kids love this simple soup and chances are yours will too 😉 It is also a great baby food option.
- Healthy meal. This delicious soup is packed with nutrients from vegetables and lentils. Lentils are also a great source of protein, while butter provides some fats which make this simple soup a complete dish.
- Budget-friendly recipe. This soup has only a very few simple ingredients and definitely won't break your budget. Let's see what you will need to make it.
Ingredients for Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe
This traditional Turkish lentil soup requires only very few basic ingredients. But please don't be fooled by this, because it is absolutely loaded with flavors.
- Red lentils. Look for Turkish red lentils, if you can find some, they are the best. The Indian dahl variety will work but will be different in taste.
- Potatoes. Any white potatoes work well.
- Onion. Brown onion is the best.
- Butter. Organic or grass-fed if possible. Feel free to substitute butter with olive oil to make this delicious soup vegan.
- Tomato paste. An important element of the recipe. Tomato paste is a tomato concentrate and can usually be found next to passata and pasta sauces.
- Dried mint. Another essential part of the recipe. While the soup still will taste great without dried mint, (I did it before), the soup will lack the authentic Turkish flavor. Dry mint is usually available in the herbs section of the supermarket. Choose one with a fine texture.
- Water. This simple soup is very flavourful as it is, but if you would like to use vegetable stock or chicken stock instead of water, go ahead.
- Sea salt and black pepper to season.
The full list of ingredients is in a recipe card below.
How to make Turkish lentil soup
I love this recipe on a busy weeknight because it comes together in no time. It is really so fast and tasty. Another simple recipe for your quick dinner collection.
- Once you have peeled and chopped the potatoes and carrots, put them in a large pot.
- Measure and rinse the red lentils, and add them to the pot.
- Peel and half the onion, and add the halves to the vegetables and lentils.
- Now add some butter and water just enough to cover the veggies and lentils.
- Bring to a boil and simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes until everything is very soft.
- Heat some more butter in a small frying pan, add tomato paste, and gently fry it for a couple of minutes. It will release the sweetness of the tomatoes. The taste of melted butter will add a lot of flavor to the soup.
- Add a teaspoon of dried mint and mix.
- Transfer the tomato-mint mix to the soup and stir well to combine. The soup now will get a beautiful rich orange color.
- Blend the soup until smooth.
How to blend lentil soup
There are a couple of ways you can blend the soup. But before you start, make sure the soup is not piping hot so you don't burn yourself.
- Immersion blender. This is probably the easiest way to blend the soup. You simply blend everything in a saucepan until the soup is creamy and smooth.
- Food processor. If using a food processor, make sure to blend the soup in batches. Never overfill the bowl to avoid burns and injuries.
- Thermomix. I used a Thermomix to blend the soup. It takes me about 25 seconds, going slowly from speed 0 to 8. Once again, do not overfill the Thermomix bowl, blend in batches.
Transfer the soup back into the saucepan, add some lemon juice, and an extra sprinkle of mint, and serve with some fresh crusty bread and lemon wedges on a side. Enjoy!
A quick word about Aleppo pepper. As I mentioned above I enjoyed this soup in Turkey many times and it was never served spicy. However, I came across multiple recipes on the web that use Aleppo pepper to garnish the soup so I thought I add this option if you would like to spice the soup up.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add one crushed garlic clove and a teaspoon of Aleppo pepper. Fry gently for 20-30 seconds until fragrant, don't burn it. Take off the heat and transfer it into a small bowl. Now you can garnish your soup with Aleppo pepper.
If you can't find Aleppo pepper, use red pepper flakes instead.
What to serve with Turkish red lentil soup
You can serve this delicious wholesome soup as an appetizer or as a main dish. Turkish crusty bread or flatbread is obviously a great addition. I like it with TAVADA PATATES SALATAS, Turkish potatoes.
How to store and reheat
Turkish red lentil soup makes a great meal prep. You can cook it in advance and once the soup has cooled completely refrigerate it in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
The soup will become quite thick after refrigerating, this is normal. Just add some water, little by little, mix, and reheat on the stove. Do not dilute the soup too much.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. I would recommend freezing it in smaller containers or freezer bags for easier and faster defrosting.
Defrost the soup in the freezer overnight and reheat it. Once again you might need to add some water if the soup becomes too thick. Don't forget a squeeze of lemon.
More healthy soup recipes
Turkish Red Lentil Soup (mercimek çorbası)
- 1 cup dry red lentils rinsed and drained
- 2 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 brown onion, peeled and halved
- 80 gram butter, grass-fed if possible
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dry mint
- Place potatoes, carrots, onion, red lentils, and half of the butter along with a big pinch of salt in a large pot.
- Add enough water to cover the vegetables, approximately 3 cups, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat down to low and simmer the vegetables for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are very soft.
- In a small frying pan, melt the remaining butter and add the tomato paste. Fry the tomato paste with butter over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the dried mint and mix.
- Add the tomato-butter mix to the soup and blend until smooth.
- Immersion blender: If using an immersion blender, take the soup off the heat and carefully blend it until smooth.
- Kitchen blender: Let the soup cool down a little before transferring it to the bowl. Never overfill the bowl to avoid injuries.
- Thermomix: If using a Thermomix, slowly bring the speed to 7-8 and blend the soup for 15 seconds. Once again, do not overfill the bowl.
- Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and serve.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and add one crushed garlic clove and a teaspoon of Aleppo pepper. Fry gently for 30-40 seconds until fragrant, don't burn it. Take off the heat and transfer it into a small bowl. Now you can garnish your soup with Aleppo pepper.
- Refrigerate soup for up to 3 days in an airtight container. The soup will become quite thick. Simply add a little bit of water and reheat.
- Freeze the soup in small containers or freezer bags for faster defrosting.
- You can use vegetable stock or chicken stock instead of water if you prefer.
- Feel free to swap butter for olive oil to make the soup vegan.
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