Smooth, velvety Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Kirmizi Mercimek Çorbasi)…
Recently I was bowled over by the flavours in Maryam’s Turkish Couscous Salad I simply had to try another Turkish recipe.
The combination of onion, paprika/chilli, mint and lemon juice in this salad worked extremely well, together with the excellent flavour carrier that is couscous and the fresh crunchy vegetables (ok tomato is a fruit) I could and did eat most of it all to myself.
This particular vegan version of turkish red lentil soup had no raw onion issue infact it didn’t even have any onion or garlic and I’m pretty much sure they are vegan! Thus it was lacking a little in base flavour so I would definitely saute an onion or few cloves of garlic if I were you making this and of course I was you making this not so very long ago BUT at 11:30am on a sunday morning I was browsing my pinterest boards for non meat meal inspiration, found this and thought that’ll do nicely and well it did do nicely, for me only. The kids and husband were having none of it and it wasn’t for the missing onion but more of a texture issue, apparently they like chunky soup and only chunky soup (i’m still going to try them with some homemade creamy tomato and basil soup, someday).
My soup turned out lighter in colour than the original recipe. I fathom that was because I used red pepper paste instead of tomato paste and substituted 3 fresh tomatoes for canned.
The flavour of the soup is part of that well loved combo from the couscous salad – cool mint, warming paprika/chilli and zingy lemon.
This red lentil soup is well suited for a rainy afternoon in spring, the colour alone is enough to make you smile / brighten your day.
- 2 cups red lentils, washed
- 1 onion, chopped (*optional)
- 1/2 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon red pepper paste (or tomato paste)
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 teaspoon chili powder (or paprika)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- to taste, black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, washed
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a soup pot over medium heat, add onion and stir-fry for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add 1 tablespoon of red pepper / tomato paste, stir and cook for about 2 minutes together.
- Add washed red lentils and pour in 5 cups of water or stock. Bring water to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover the pot and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.Check the lentils are really soft and mushy, they are ready. Remove the pot from stove, add spices: salt, black pepper, chili pepper, mint and juice of 1/2 lemon. Using a stick blender process until smooth. Serve warm with a wedge of lemon and bread on the side.
the amount of salt is assuming you use water to make the soup, if using stock you may need to reduce the amount of salt.