This Turkish Lentil Soup recipe is so simple and comforting, and easy to make in less than 30 minutes.
Our trip to Istanbul this past autumn was hands-down one of the most delicious trips of my life.
We were able to sample a record number of new-to-us Turkish dishes, from menemen to manti, balik ekmek to beyaz penir, pide to piyaz, pistachio kebabs to pink pickle juice, chicken breast pudding to Turkish delight, plus dozens and dozens more. (All washed down with a record number of tiny cups of tea along the way, too.) Barclay and I decided that Turkey’s approach to food — with their elaborate Turkish breakfasts, bustling food markets, grilled street food of all kinds, unending meze (small plates), and long evenings with rakı and wine — is basically our dream way to eat, especially when we travel. And my goodness, we loved it all so much.
That said, while our priority was definitely on trying as many new dishes as possible during our trip, there was one familiar dish consistently present on every menu that I couldn’t help but order at least once a day — a cozy small bowl of Turkish lentil soup.
You all already know that I absolutely adore a good bowl of lentil soup. But I especially fell in love with the Turkish version during this trip, I think because it was so light and simple. By contrast to many other lentil soups that I have tried (or made) in the past, Turkish lentil soup is generally super-smooth and brothy, it’s lightly seasoned with just a few simple spices, and it’s served up with fresh mint and lemon wedges, plus an occasional sprinkle of Aleppo pepper or pepper oil for some extra heat. This lentil soup was always served as an appetizer in Istanbul, often with some freshly-baked lavash on the side. And it was always so lovely and delicious.
So of course, I asked our servers a million questions so that I could learn how to make it at home! Turns out, it’s incredibly simple to whip up in less than 30 minutes, it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan, and it’s nice and healthy and light, which we really appreciate this time of year. We’ve been loving it served with just a simple side salad, plus maybe some lavash or bread to go with it. And in my opinion, the lemon and fresh mint toppings are essential, so be sure to pick them up at the store too.
Alright, let’s make some healthy lentil soup! ♡