This delicious Turkish lentil soup recipe (called mercimek çorbası) is a velvety soup with loads of flavor.
It's filling and healthy - perfect for a chilly day when you want a rich bowl of warm soup.
While this soup is part of Turkish cuisine, it does have similarities to other regional lentil dishes and several Indian and subcontinent dal recipes. What sets this dish apart is the blend of spices and, in particular, the dried mint.
Why You'll Love this Delicious Turkish Soup
The lentils, potato, onion, and carrots are simmered for 30 minutes, which makes everything very tender and easy to blend.
I like blending this soup until smooth - it combines the flavors so well. You can thoroughly blend it or leave it a little chunkier and more rustic, depending on how you like to enjoy your soup.
This recipe tastes even better after a day or two in the refrigerator, making it a perfect meal to make on the weekend and enjoy throughout the week.
You'll love this recipe if you like Mediterranean flavors and enjoy regional spices like Aleppo pepper and cumin. There are a few steps to this soup, but it's a simple soup to make.
Be sure to check out our other favorite Turkish dishes as well!
Lentils - You'll need 1 cup of red lentils. They're the stars of this show. Bright and full of fiber, red lentils are a quick-cooking split lentil, often used in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking.
Vegetables - You'll need 1 medium yellow onion, a large carrot (or a couple of small carrots), 1 large potato (Russet or Yukon Gold), 2 garlic cloves, and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
Stock - You'll need 5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. If you'd like this recipe to be vegan, you'll need to use vegetable stock.
Spices - You'll use paprika, salt, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and cayenne or Aleppo pepper, and dried mint.
Toppings - You can top the top with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, chopped parsley, and an optional paprika oil made from 3 tablespoons of neutral oil and 1 ½ tablespoons of paprika.
To serve - I like to serve this with a few slices of pita bread for dipping.
First, you'll heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté for 4 minutes.
Then add the carrots and potatoes and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next add the garlic cloves and stir for 30 seconds.
Then you'll add the tomato paste and spices. Stir for 30 seconds until fragrant, then deglaze the bottom of the pot. Do this by adding a small amount of stock and stirring to loosen and mix any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the remaining stock and lentils. Stir and increase heat till the soup is boiling. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
If the soup is getting too thick, add up to 1 cup of water, a little at a time.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the dried mint. Using an immersion blender or a traditional blender, blend the soup till you have a creamy texture and all the ingredients are incorporated.
Make the Paprika Oil - Heat the oil in a small pot and add the paprika. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Continue to stir till fully incorporated.
Serve with lemon wedges to add a squeeze of lemon just before eating. I also recommend adding a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a drizzle of paprika oil.
More Healthy Soup Recipes to Try
If you like veggie-forward soups like this one, try some of our other favorite recipes.
- Udon Noodle Soup with Mushrooms and Bok Choy - a delicious noodle soup with loads of umami flavor.
- The Best Butternut Squash Soup - if you love creamy soups, you'll also love this wonderful, creamy soup perfect for fall and winter.
- White Bean Soup Recipe - a vegan white bean soup with dried or fresh herbs, plenty of fresh vegetables, and greens.
Tips for Making this Recipe
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Cooking Tips - Be sure to check your soup a few minutes before you remove it from the heat. If it's too thick, add ½ to 1 cup of water to thin it out a bit. You want it to be a slurping soup consistency, not a thick puree.
Recommended Tools - I wholeheartedly recommend using a hand blender or immersion blender for this recipe - I have the Breville Immersion Blender and it's great!
Storing Tips - This recipe will keep in an airtight container the refrigerator for up to 5 days, making it a great dish to meal prep.
Soup makes a simple dish perfect for winter months and this soup is a filling and complete meal that's sure to be a family favorite. If you try this recipe, let us know! Connect with us on Instagram and share your photos or leave us a rating.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 large or 3 small carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 medium Russet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne OR Aleppo pepper
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1 lemon, sliced
Optional Paprika Oil
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil (like canola or safflower)
- 1 ½ tablespoons paprika
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion and sauté for 4 minutes.
- Add the diced carrot and diced potato to the pot. Sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic cloves and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste, cumin, salt, paprika, oregano, black pepper, and cayenne. Stir for 30 seconds and then deglaze the bottom of the pot with a small amount of the chicken or vegetable stock.
- Add the remaining stock and lentils. Stir and increase heat till the soup is boiling. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- If the soup is getting too thick, add up to 1 cup of water.
- Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the dried mint. Using an immersion blender or a stand blender, blend the soup till it's creamy and all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Optional Paprika Oil - Heat the oil in a small pot and add the paprika. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Continue to stir till fully incorporated.
- Serve with lemon wedges. If you'd like, add a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a drizzle of paprika oil.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 516mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 12gSugar: 8gProtein: 9g