Turkish lentil soup

Turkish lentil soup, also known as Mercimek Çorbası, is a beloved dish in Turkish cuisine deeply rooted in the country’s culinary traditions. This heartwarming soup not only boasts a rich flavor but is also renowned for its nutritious properties and straightforward preparation.

The base of Turkish lentil soup consists of red or green lentils, depending on personal preference. Lentils are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and various essential nutrients. They are combined with onion, carrots, and potato, providing an aromatic and flavorful base for the soup. Garlic, paprika, and red pepper are often added to enhance the taste and introduce a subtle spiciness.

The cooking process typically begins with gently sautéing onions, garlic, and vegetables in olive oil. Subsequently, lentils are added, along with the necessary herbs and spices. After adding water or vegetable broth, the soup is slowly cooked until the lentils are tender, allowing the flavors to meld.

What truly sets Turkish lentil soup apart is the addition of fresh lemon juice just before serving. This imparts a refreshing citrus kick that complements the earthy taste of the lentils. Traditionally, the soup is served with a slice of lemon and fresh bread on the side.

This simple, nutritious, and flavorful lentil soup is not only beloved in Turkey but has also gained a worldwide reputation as a comforting and nourishing meal. Whether enjoyed as a savory starter or a filling main course, Turkish lentil soup offers a delightful culinary experience that reflects the warmth and hospitality of Turkish cuisine.

What you need for Turkish lentil soup

  • 1 cup red lentils (washed and drained)
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 carrots (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 potato (in pieces)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for extra spice)
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh bread and lemon slices for serving

Turkish lentil soup beautifully served with lemon and garnish.

How to make it

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic. Sauté until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the washed lentils and potato to the pot, mixing them with the vegetables and herbs. Pour the vegetable broth into the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and let it simmer until the lentils are tender, usually 20-25 minutes. Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup, leaving some lentils recognizable. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and stir well.

Serve the Turkish lentil soup hot, garnished with extra lemon slices and accompanied by fresh bread. Enjoy this delicious and nutritious Turkish lentil soup!

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