This delicious Turkish lentil soup (called mercimek çorbası) is a velvety soup with loads of flavor.
This hearty soup is filling and healthy - perfect for a chilly day when you want a rich bowl of warm soup.
While this particular soup is Turkish, 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 Soup
The lentils, potato, onion, and carrots are simmered for 30 minutes, which makes everything very tender and easily blendable.
I like blending this soup till smooth - I think it really brings the flavors together. You can fully 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.
If you like Mediterranean flavors and enjoy regional spices like Aleppo pepper and cumin, you'll love this recipe. Be sure to check out our other favorite Turkish recipes as well!
Ingredients You'll Need
Lentils - You'll need 1 cup of red lentils. They're the star 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 1/2 tablespoons of paprika.
To serve - I like to serve this with a few slices of pita bread for dipping.
More Tasty 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 - a wonderful, creamy soup perfect for fall and winter.
- White Bean Soup Recipe - a vegan white bean soup with 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 1/2 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 an immersion blender for this recipe - I have the Breville Immersion Blender and it's great!
Storing Tips - This recipe will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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- 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
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 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 1/2 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