Try-a-New-Food-Thursday: Red Lentil Soup


This is hands-down my favorite soup ever (and I’m a soup lover), and probably my favorite workhorse Turkish recipe. It’s simple, fast, and adaptable. Did I say kid-friendly? That should have come first. KID-FRIENDLY. With hidden vegetables no less. And cheap. That should have come second. Kid-friendly, cheap, simple, fast, adaptable. It took me longer to describe it than it will take you to make it!


For enough to serve 4 adults as a first course (not the whole meal). Or 6 picky kids.

  • Onion (1/2, roughly chopped)
  • Butter or oil for sauteing (a pat or so; a couple teaspoons)
  • Red lentils about a cup (these really look more orange than red, methinks…)
  • Other veggies you want to sneak in. I often thrown in diced potato and carrot. The orangey color of the lentils nicely hides the carrot color, and cooked carrot adds a light sweetness that isn’t overpowering. Particularly when paired with the potato, it’s a great combo. I usually do one mediumish potato and 1-2 carrots.
  • Some people add rice. I wouldn’t do that because I prefer this soup pureed, and pureed rice just becomes gluey, esp. if you are trying to save some for another day. But, so many people love the non-pureed, rice-included version that I had to mention it. But I still don’t recommend it. If you want to ignore me, just add the rice when you add everything else, and it will cook just fine. Only add maybe a quarter cup of rice.
aren’t they lovely in their carrot-hiding orange glow?



  1. Saute the onion.
  2. Throw in the red lentils and whatever other veggies you like.
  3. Cook until everything is soft, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Puree. Stick blenders work well here, but a regular old upright one does the job as well.
  5. Serve!
  6. Squeeze a little lemon on top, to taste. Do try this; it’s delicious.
  7. Garnish with parsley if you are reeeally fancy.
  8. Scoop the parsley off the kid’s soup and leave the poor, wilted piles in the middle of the table, to stare at you sadly  throughout dinner.
  9. Field questions like “Is this carrot?!” by silently showing the kids what a red lentil looks like. If you don’t actually say anything, it’s not lying.


I should note that this is one of those soups that every Turkish family seems to have a different favorite way of making. This is my American-Turkish fusion variety. My Turkish family seems to like it and approve. If you want to explore more varieties, just search for Mercimek Corbasi.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s