Turkish Green Lentil Soup Recipe – The Proof Of The Pudding Is In The Eating

Bastions of Turkish cuisine: Both soup (çorba) and legumes most certainly sit comfortably with that description. And in this green lentil soup recipe, we bring the two together to make a hearty Turkish meal.

Way back when, we did a post on the main types of çorba (soup) you see in the eateries of Fethiye. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, çorba is always on the menu in Turkey, and it’s on the menu at our little abode quite a lot, too.

Green Lentils Yeşil Mercimek

Green lentils – earthy and wholesome

As are lentils, of various varieties. When we lived in the UK, although we both loved to cook, lentils were not a regular ingredient in our dishes. Learn to cook Turkish, however, and your kitchen ‘pantry essentials’ will most definitely include lentils. You’ll find so many tempting lentil recipes in Turkish cuisine.

Green lentils (yeşil mercimek) might not look as bright and sunny on your kitchen shelf display as their red counterparts, but, for us, their earthy shades and firm texture make them a firm favourite. If you’re making a lentil dish where you are looking for a lentil that holds its shape whilst packing a bit of flavour, green lentils are the best option.

Green Lentils Yeşil Mercimek

Our kitchen store is never without green lentils

In the past, we’ve made a spicy red lentil soup (Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası). This green lentil soup recipe isn’t simply a soup of ‘same-ingredient-different-colour.’ Green lentil soup is hearty and wholesome. As with our green lentil salad recipe, the lentils are the star of the dish. Rather than acting as a flavouring and thickening agent, they’re visibly present, giving a textured soup. And then there’s our green lentil soup dressing that we drizzle over the surface just before serving…

Green Lentil Nutrition

Even better, when you’re going to the trouble of making your green lentil soup, you know you’re going to be fuelling your body with lots of nutritional benefit as well as warming, yummy flavours!

Whilst they’re low in calories and low in fat, they’re packed with protein, carbs and fibre. They also contain phytochemicals which protect against illnesses such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

So many dishes we humans love to eat fall into the ‘naughty-but-nice’ category so it’s obviously great to have healthy favourites such as green lentil soup. This foodie treat is also a treat for your body, too.

Right, let’s get down to it and make yeşil mercimek çorbası -Turkish green lentil soup.

Our Turkish Green Lentil Soup Recipe

Although it’s a traditional soup that you’ll see in Turkish recipe books, we’ve never seen green lentil soup served in restaurants in Fethiye.

Green Lentil Soup Recipe

Green lentil soup tastes much nicer than it looks

The first time we had it was a few years ago when a friend’s mum made it for us. Earthy green lentils simmered into a soup – on first viewing, the sight is not immediately aesthetically pleasing.

I remember looking down at it, thinking, ‘What on earth is that?’ Well, let us tell you that green lentil soup unquestionably befits the old proverb, ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ A polite, tentative first sip from my spoon and I was soon drinking it down eagerly. This soup is a winner!

How To Make Green Lentil Soup

Whilst it’s not necessary for flavours in the soup, we soak our green lentils for an hour or so before cooking. Much better for the environment – and our budget – because soaking reduces the cooking time.

Green Lentils In The Pan

Saute your ingredients before adding water

After that, it’s simply a case of sauteeing your ingredients for a few minutes before smothering them with hot water and leaving to simmer until your lentils have softened.

Green Lentil Soup Dressing

While your soup is simmering, you can make the dressing to drizzle over the top after serving. If you go to a lokanta in Fethiye, you sometimes get a separate dressing to add to your soup. If you’re with Turkish friends, this often appears automatically. If you’re not, you might have to ask for some as there is sometimes an assumption that foreigners don’t like or want the dressing.

For some soups, sizzling melted butter infused with chilli is poured over just before eating. For others, a garlic dressing similar to this might be served.

Dressing For Green Lentil Soup

The contrast of flavours between your soup and dressing is stark but tasty

This is a dressing of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, vinegar and crushed garlic. If you are a fan of strong flavours, you will love the contrast between the sharpness of the flavours in the dressing and the warming flavours of the green lentil soup.

Green Lentil Soup – Ingredients And Method

Here’s our green lentil soup recipe – yeşil mercimek çorbası (yesh-eel mer-jee-meck chor-ba-si).

Green Lentil Soup Recipe
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
This Turkish green lentil soup recipe is delicious year round and has the added bonus of being healthy and low in calories.
Ingredients
For The Green Lentil Soup
  • 200g green lentils (around 1 coffee mug)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 dessert spoonful salça (tomato paste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tbsp olive oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
For The Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of half of a fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • ½ tsp crushed black pepper
Instructions
For The green Lentil Soup
  1. First of all, fill your kettle and boil the water.
  2. Meanwhile, gently heat your olive oil in a deep saucepan and add your onion.
  3. Saute until your onion starts to sweat and now add your lentils.
  4. Stir around until the onions and oil have coated your lentils.
  5. Now add your garlic and spices and stir in.
  6. Add your salça and stir in thoroughly
  7. Turn the heat to high and immediately add 5 mugs of hot water from the kettle (use the same size mug as the one for your lentils).
  8. Bring to the boil whilst stirring to mix in your salça.
  9. Now cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  10. After 20 minutes, check your soup. Taste your lentils to see if they have softened. Add more water if needed.
  11. Cook for longer, if necessary but don't let your lentils get so soft that they go mushy. Keep them whole.
  12. When your green lentil soup is ready, use a hand blender and give your soup a couple of pulses. Some of the lentils will blend to make your soup thicker whilst others will remain whole.
For The Dressing
  1. Place your ingredients together in a small ramekin bowl and stir rigorously until they have blended together.
  2. Place on the table, ready for serving.
  3. Serve your soup and drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of the dressing over the top.
Notes
As with all of our recipes, calories are a rough guide only. The calories are for the green lentil soup only and do not include the dressing.
This green lentil soup recipe is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. We are neither and often use our own chicken or beef stock rather than hot water. This is common in homemade Turkish soups.
If you want an even more filling soup, Turkish green lentil soup can also have the addition of erişte. This is a hand rolled type of noodle, cut into very short strips. Orzo or vermicelli would make a good alternative. Add 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 207

And there you have it – Turkish green lentil soup (yeşil mercimek çorbası). As with all soups, you can play around with the amount of water or stock you add to it. It depends how thick you like your soup. But remember, green lentil soup is supposed to be hearty and wholesome so you don’t want to make it too thin.

Turkish Green Lentil Soup

A bowl of hearty yeşil mercimek çorbası

Serve your soup with lots of fresh, crusty Turkish bread. Drizzle one or two teaspoons of your dressing over your soup and tuck in.

Afiyet Olsun!

Turkish Green Lentil Soup Recipe – Afternotes

The recipe we have done here is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. Lots of homemade Turkish soups are made with meat stock, so if, like us, you are a meat eater, you can use a chicken or beef stock in place of water.

For an even more filling green lentil soup, some Turkish recipes also add erişte. This is a hand rolled noodle cut into small strips. If you can’t get erişte, vermicelli or orzo could be added 10 minutes before the end of cooking.

And for an even more comforting and traditional soup, do as the Turks do and saute your ingredients in a knob of butter rather than olive oil. Perfect in the depths of winter…

Don't miss a thing! Subscribe NOW for FREE updates straight to your inbox...

* indicates required

Comments

  1. That soup sounds wonderful!! You measure like I do 🙂 [email protected]

  2. Well, a lot of it is down to personal taste isn’t it. I actually like loads of cumin but I know a lot of people don’t. I tend to throw things in and see what happens. 🙂

  3. I love love love lentil soup. I get sick of making it the same way so it’s great to get a new take on it!

  4. Thanks. We love lentil soup, too. Addictive isn’t it?! This green lentil soup is a first (for making, not tasting) and we’ll be making it again.

  5. http://Anonymous says

    JayP
    As a Veggie I usually steer clear of soups as I tend to think they’d use an ‘animal’ stock.
    Do you think I should chance it next week when I get to Ovacik? (Or just stick to Our Place in Hisaronu).
    GW

  6. Hi GW, you’re not by any chance the GW from Trip Advisor are you?

    With regards to the soup, loads of recipes I’ve seen do use chicken stock (which seems odd when you’re making a veggie soup!)We have a veggie friend and she can taste meat stock straight away if it’s present – which has happened. Maybe you could get the waiter to ask the chef for the ingedients. When our veggie friend comes out to see us, she’s happier in the lokantas because they’re usually quite happy to tell you what’s in the food if you ask them. Is Our Place a vegetarian restaurant?

  7. http://Anonymous says

    Yep, it’s me. One and the same.
    Our Place is 95% Veggie (I think they have one animal option). The food is excellent and the owner (Yusuf) is a real character who we met when we first came to Hisaronu 20 years ago (and then last year when we returned after a 19 year hiatus).
    GW

  8. Well, thanks GW for mentioning us on Trip Advisor. We didn’t even know they had the forum stuff going on.
    Hope you’re not offended by our more ‘meaty’ posts. 🙂 We never use meat stock in any our veggie soups though because we have a lot of veggie mates and it doesn’t make sense to add meat flavours to what should be veg flavours, does it?

  9. http://Sevgi says

    Thank you for posting this recipe. The lentil soup looks and sounds delicious! I’ve had the Turkish lentil dish with ground beef, but never the soup. I will try this one!

  10. And we’ve never tried the lentil dish with ground beef Sevgi. We’ll have to look that one up and give it a go sometime.

  11. Oh my perfect timing, I’ve haven’t thought once about what to do for dinner tonight and I’ve never had a Turkish style green Lentil soup so you’ve got me on board immediately .

    Çok Teşekkür ederim

    • Hi Christa. Thanks for your comment and you’re welcome. Make sure you add the dressing to the green lentil soup. It’s a must. 🙂

Speak Your Mind

*

Rate this recipe:  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.