Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Süzme Mercimek Çorbası)

Red lentil soup
Elizabeth Taviloglu
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
229 Calories
5g Fat
39g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 229
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 342mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Protein 9g
Calcium 83mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Turkish red lentil soup or mercimek çorbası (meyr-ju-MEK' chor-BAH- su') is a popular hearty soup, especially during the winter months. It's also an important part of breaking the daily fast during the month of Ramadan.

After the lentils and vegetables have been cooked and strained, let the soup continue to simmer slowly to get the best blend of flavors. For garnish, sprinkle with some hot pepper flakes, plain croutons or squeeze a few drops of lemon on top.


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small potato
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 liters) water
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Garnish: hot pepper flakes

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Peel and coarsely chop onion, carrot, and potato and place into a large saucepan. Add the red lentils, cumin, salt and pepper to taste, and water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cover.

  3. Let the mixture simmer slowly until the vegetables are very soft and the lentils fall apart. Remove the pan from the heat.

  4. To make a smooth mixture, press the contents through a fine wire mesh strainer using a wooden spoon, or process in your food processor or blender. Hand blenders (immersion blenders) are great for puréeing the soup right in the pot.

  5. In a small skillet, melt the butter or margarine and then add the flour. Stir the mixture for a few seconds then add it to the soup (don't let the flour burn).

  6. Stir well, then let the soup simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

  7. If the soup seems too thick add a little more water. Serve hot with chunks of crusty bread and a wedge of lemon.

  8. Enjoy!

    Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

    Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.


  • Be careful not to let the flour burn when mixing with the melted butter/margarine.
  • Add a little more water if the soup seems too thick.
  • Sprinkle hot pepper flakes, plain croutons or squeeze a few drops of lemon on top for a garnish.