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Turkish Lentil Soup (Mercimek Çiorbası)

Cooking Method ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 30 min Rest Time: 5 min Total Time: 45 mins
Servings 2

One of the best Turkish dishes I've ever tried is this vegetarian lentil soup which is absolutely heaven! The highlight is the paprika oil that really takes it to another level!

I remember how I used to have it in Turkish food joints in Romania while I was a student and didn't have too much money. It was pretty cheap and always kept me full for a couple of hours.

This soup is super nurturing and healthy, as it is packed with a lot of protein and fiber due to the lentils and veggies. It is a perfect appetizer or why not even a main dish.

Have you ever tried this soup?

  • 150 grams red lentils (no need to soak before, just wash it well with water)
  • 1 Piece onion (cut in cubes)
  • 1 Piece potato (cut in cubes)
  • 1 Piece carrot (cut in cubes)
  • 2 Pieces tomatoes (guess what, also cut in cubes)
  • 2 Pieces garlic cloves (coarsely chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarse paprika powder (pul biber is called in Turkish, add normal paprika if you cannot find this)
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • salt and pepper as per taste
  • water (about 500ml to 1L)
  1. Cooking the soup

    In a pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion. Allow to cook 3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the potato, carrot, tomato and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well, then add the coarse paprika, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the washed lentils, add 500ml-1L of water (it really depends on your taste, if you want it thicker or soupier).  Let it boil on low heat for about 15-20 minutes until the lentils are cooked. 

    With a vertical mixer blend everything together until nice and creamy.

  2. Making the aromatic oil

    In a small pan, add the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil and let it heat. Add the remaining teaspoon of coarse paprika, mix well, let it splutter 5-10 seconds then turn off the heat. Serve the oil hot on top of the soup.

    You can also serve the soup with lemon wedges and some parsley. Enjoy!