Red Lentil Soup Recipe – A Turkish Favourite

We’re hitting that time of year; that time of year where the intense summer heat and haze suddenly holds up its hands, goes into retreat and gives way to cooler autumnal breezes and clear air. We can feel the change in the season and, after a long summer, many of us are basking in the comfortable temperatures – perhaps even being a little bit premature. We’ve already polished off two separate panfuls of our homemade Turkish red lentil soup!

Turkish Red Lentil Soup – Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası

The time of year is irrelevant, really. Soup of various flavours is on the menu in all local lokantas whatever the season and whatever the time of day. At home, though, we like to feel that soup season is upon us, and autumn, despite temperatures still being in the mid 20s, heralds soup time for us.

Red Lentil Staple

Our Jar Of Red Lentils

Most Turkish kitchens have a healthy stock of red lentils

Our Turkish red lentil soup recipe is a favourite for us. Red – and green – lentils are a staple of most Turkish kitchens and, since living in Turkey, our kitchen has been no different. They’re a comforting presence. Mooching through the cupboards and wondering what to eat? As long as the lentils are there and a few odds and ends, we can always rustle something up. Green lentil soup and summer lentil salad use up our non-red variety.

Red Lentil Nutrition

And there’s certainly no need to feel guilty about what you’re about to eat, either, when you’re making red lentil soup. These colourful little discs of loveliness are packed with lots of healthy benefits. They’re gluten free, they’re virtually fat free and low in calories. They’re high in fibre, high in protein, packed with Vitamin B and potassium and they’re also a good source of iron. And, most importantly, Turkish red lentil soup tastes great!

Turkish Red Lentil Soup Recipe – Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası

Not to be confused with the famous – and yummy – Ezo Gelin Çorbası which uses bulgur wheat and butter. Anyway, let’s get cracking and get this soup on the hob, simmering away! The quantities in our red lentil soup recipe are just meant as a guide. As with all soups, you can play around with these to suit your taste. And the great thing about making a soup like this, of course, is, if it gets too thick, you can just add more stock or water.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Spicy Red Lentil Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
This Turkish red lentil soup recipe is healthy and comforting during autumn and winter. It's also nutritious.
  • 1 cup red lentils (approx 150g)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large potato, scrubbed and rougly chopped
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped (or 1 400g tin)
  • 1 dessert spoonful chilli flakes
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Salt and pepper to season
For The Garnish
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp dried mint
  1. In a large pan, heat a glug of olive oil.
  2. Add the potato and onion and keep stirring for a few minutes over a low to medium heat.
  3. Now add your lentils and mix together.
  4. Add your chopped tomato, chilli and cumin and stir.
  5. Now add two mugfuls of hot water or stock, salt and pepper and stir everything together.
  6. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for around 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and give your red lentil soup a stir.
  8. Add more water or stock if necessary.
  9. Simmer for a further 15-20 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat and mash or blend your red lentil soup.
  11. Ladle your soup into serving bowls and sprinkle your chilli flakes and dried mint over the top.
  12. Squeeze the juice of the lemon wedge into your soup.
  13. Now your Turkish red lentil soup is ready for you to enjoy.
This Turkish red lentil soup recipe makes 4 large servings.
Calories per serving are meant as a rough guide only.
The soup garnish is optional but it is very common in Turkey to add lemon, mint and chillies to red lentil soup.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 172

And there you have it. Our Turkish red lentil soup recipe.

Red Lentil Soup Recipe Variations

There are lots of variations to this; stock preferences for a start. You can use plain old water, vegetable stock or we often make our own chicken stock, as shown in our Turkish tomato and noodle soup recipe. If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, chicken stock is a great pick-me-up.

Turkish Spicy Red Lentil Soup

We like our red lentil soup to be spicy

Other variations of our kırmızı mercimek çorbası include the addition of one or two chopped carrots. Carrots are a common addition to many Turkish soups. And, if you want to go even further down the comfort food route, you can also throw in a handful of rice around 15 minutes before the end of cooking time. Pirinçli kırmızı mercimek çorbası. Yummy!

If you do ever find yourself in a lokanta, eating a bowl of steaming soup, your table is often filled with salad, fresh chillies and lemon wedges. Condiments galore and dried mint is always present. No reason not to replicate this at home. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of dried mint (and extra chilli flakes if you like spicy) is perfect in your red lentil soup.

Oh, and don’t forget a loaf of fresh Turkish bread so that you can tear chunks off and dunk it in your soup.

For more recipes, take a look at our collection of Turkish dishes you can make at home.

Afiyet Olsun!

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  1. This is my favourite soup . i could eat it every day.

  2. Just made this for lunch, lovely. Thank you for posting!

  3. Wow! I can’t wait to try this soup! Sounds delicious.

  4. Debra Bekker says

    Just put some in my slow cooker! Looking forward to the results.

  5. Making this again today! On this very snowy Easter Monday!

  6. Superb recipe; so simple, so full of flavour, very warming and satisfying. Your recipe page is a delight by the way!

  7. Yummy love this soup, its similar to our lentil daal curry in Pakistani Kashmir. Thank you for sharing. Afiya tohs

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