A word from Ozlem…

“Because of their rich protein content, lentils have been a valuable food source in Asia Minor since Neolithic times. This soup is most probably Turkey’s most popular soup, enjoyed not only for lunch and dinner but also for a hearty breakfast in Anatolia.

I like to add carrots and potatoes to this easy, delicious and nutritious soup. The lovely colours of red lentils, carrots and potatoes bring an array of sunshine to any cold winter day! The addition of cumin and red pepper flakes add a wonderful, energising flavour, as we do in Southern Turkish cooking. I recommend you to make a big batch and freeze some, as it freezes really well.

Kırmızı Mercımek Çorbası (Hearty Turkish Red Lentil Soup)

Serves 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes


250 gr red lentils, rinsed and drained

15 ml/1tablespoon long grain rice, rinsed and drained

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium carrot cut in small cubes

1 medium potato, peeled and cut in small cubes

1.2 lt hot water

15 ml/ 1 tablespoon olive oil

15ml/1 tablespoon butter

1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon (or more) red pepper flakes

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Extra wedge of lemon, paprika flakes and croutons to serve


Put the olive oil, lentils, rice, onion, carrot, potato and hot water in a large heavy pan.

Bring to the boil and skim off any froth. Simmer for about 35 minutes or until the lentils, rice and the vegetables are cooked.

Stir occasionally to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Recipe Box - Soups (Çorbarlar) - Kırmızı Mercımek Çorbası

Once cooked, add the lemon juice, butter, cumin and red pepper flakes. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to your taste, mix well.

Serve hot with a wedge of lemon for extra zing, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, croutons and/or fresh crusty bread.

You can cook this wonderful soup ahead of time and freeze.

Afiyet olsun

Recipe Box - Soups (Çorbarlar) - Kırmızı Mercımek Çorbası (Hearty Turkish Red Lentil Soup)

This article is published with kind permission from Ozlem Warren.