Turkish lentil soup

This fast, easy, and healthy recipe for kırmızı mercimek çorba, or (Turkish) red lentil soup, is one of my family’s favorite. My 8-year old requests it every week. It’s one of several ways that this soup can be made: you can omit the carrots and Hungarian paprika if you prefer, or take more time and strain the soup through a sieve if you like, creating a thinner consistency (which is the way you will usually find it being made in Turkey). You can also add more water to make it less thick and hearty.

Prep time: 15 minutes plus 3 minutes to blend

Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Tools and/or vessels needed: medium saucepan, mini food processor or hand-held blender for soups (this makes the texture of the soup finer than a standard size processor will)

Makes 4 servings


Turkish red lentil soup
  • 1½ cups red lentils·       

  • 5 cups (roughly1 ¼ liters) chicken or vegetable stock

  • 1 tbsp. butter

  • 1 small yellow onion

  • ½ cup baby carrots

  • 1 tsp. Hungarian paprika

  • salt and pepper to taste


1.      Rinse lentils and set them aside.

2.     Use the food processor to chop the onion, then the carrot.

3.     Fry onion and carrot in butter for 2-3 minutes, adding salt, pepper and Hungarian paprika.

4.    Stir lentils into the onion-carrot mixture.

5.     Add 5 cups/1.25 liters chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.

6.    Turn heat down and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are soft.

7.     Let cool a couple of minutes, then blend in 2-3 batches in mini food processor or use a hand-held blending tool.

8.    Serve and enjoy!


Turkish red lentil soup

We sometimes spoon this soup over a bowl of rice and eat it as a main course.

Wine optional!


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Turkish red lentil soup