Turkish Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is very popular here in Saudi, but it lacks tomatoes and is somewhat dry, that's why growing up I didn't like it much and was always disappointed when it was the soup of the day on our Ramadan table. But all of that changed when I had my first Turkish lentil soup.


I remember the day I had Turkish soup very well. The flavor is unforgettable. My aunt was visiting me from out of town when I was a freshman in college, we went to a quiet Turkish restaurant that had the floor covered with beautiful rugs. My aunt ordered the Turkish lentil soup and she loved it so much that she convinced me to try it. Then I fell in love too. It was different than the Saudi lentils soup we're used to, tasting the soup again and again and analyzing the different flavors we finally figured that the secret was in the tomatoes. 

So finally I recreated the recipe and can enjoy this delicious soup that's very nutritious and heartwarming.


Turkish Lentil Soup


  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 medium onion chopped 
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 medium red bell peppers 
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder, paprika, and dried mint
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric and cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley or coriander
  • lemon for serving
  • 6 cups of water


  1. Soak the lentils for two hours 
  2. Heat a large pot on medium-low heat
  3. Saute the onions until they're translucent
  4. Add the minced garlic and the spices
  5. Then add the chopped tomato, carrots, and bell peppers
  6. Cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften a little bit and absorb the spices
  7. Then drain the lentils and add them
  8. Mix well then add the water until it covers the lentils with a few inches
  9. Add the tomato paste
  10. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils fall apart.
  11. Mix in an immersion blender until smooth (I saved half of it as it is for leftovers)
  12. Mix in finely chopped coriander or parsley 
  13. Serve with lemon wedges, chili sauce, and pepper