Mercimek Corbasi: Vegetarian Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Red lentil soupWhen I talk about my lentil soup, I don’t mean just any old lentil soup. I mean the thick, nourishing, and very tasty chorba that tided me over during the lean days of Ramadan. I first had this soup in Turkey, where I worked for a summer. No one expected me to fast, and it was hard enough to go without drinking water in public, much less not eat during those long, summer days. Luckily, a charming restaurant in town called Sofra stayed open during Ramadan— to serve the young, the old, and the travelers, like me.

A few recipes I looked at said to soak the lentils. I skip this step— I found it time consuming, and it doesn’t actually cut down on the cooking time a lot. The great thing with red lentils is how easily they cook— as they simmer, they soften into a porridge consistency.

I’ve added hot peppers to this, and it turned out very good. But I’m going to post this as I had it during Ramadan.And spices

Ingredients:
1 red onion, diced into small pieces
1 good sized carrot, diced into small pieces
2 cups of red lentils
1/4 cup rice (optional, to thicken the soup)
10 cups faux chicken broth (Organic Imagine No-Chicken broth is good; so is Edward and Sons Not Chick’n buillion cubes)
Butter (or dairy-free butter spread)
1 tablespoon cumin (to taste)
1 tablespoon paprika (to taste, and garnish)
3 bay leaves
salt & pepper to tasteDiced

Preparation:
1. Peel and chop the onion and carrots. Start cooking the carrots first, to give them time to soften.

2. Saute them in the butter and olive oil until they start to soften, but are not browned.

3. Add the peppers. Also the seasoning: cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Simmer until it smells tasty.

4. Add the lentils and stock, plus the rice (to thicken it.) Simmer over a gentle heat until the lentils are soft— around one hour.

5. Make sure to take the bay leaves out. (I sometimes forget this step.)

6. Blend with a hand held blender.

7. Ladle into a bowls, garnish with a dash of paprika or some lemon juice. Serve with slices of your favorite white, crusty bread.

Makes between 5-6 cups of soup.

Note: I’ve made this soup vegan by leaving out the butter. If you do, I recommend sauteing the onions with a teaspoon of nutritional yeast (Bragg’s is good.)

Street vendor in Ünye, Turkey.

Street vendor in Ünye, Turkey.

Mercimek Corbasi: Turkish Red Lentil Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 red onion, diced into small pieces
1 good sized carrot, diced into small pieces
2 cups of red lentils
1/4 cup rice (optional, to thicken the soup)
10 cups faux chicken broth (Organic Imagine No-Chicken broth is good; so is Edward and Sons Not Chick’n buillion cubes)
Butter (or dairy-free butter spread)
1 tablespoon cumin (to taste)
1 tablespoon paprika (to taste, and garnish)
3 bay leaves

Preparation:
1. Peel and chop the onion and carrots. Start cooking the carrots first, to give them time to soften.

2. Saute them in the butter and olive oil until they start to soften, but are not browned.

3. Add the peppers. Also the seasoning: cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Simmer until it smells tasty.

4. Add the lentils and stock, plus the rice (to thicken it.) Simmer over a gentle heat until the lentils are soft— around one hour.

5. Make sure to take the bay leaves out. (I sometimes forget this step.)

6. Blend with a hand held blender.

7. Ladle into a bowls, garnish with a dash of paprika or some lemon juice. Serve with slices of your favorite white, crusty bread.

Makes between 5-6 cups of soup.

Note: I’ve made this soup vegan by leaving out the butter. If you do, I recommend sauteing the onions with a teaspoon of nutritional yeast (Bragg’s is good.)

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2 responses to “Mercimek Corbasi: Vegetarian Turkish Red Lentil Soup

  1. Pingback: Turkish lentil soup, with mint | V 8 Mile·

  2. Pingback: Red lentil soup, unshelled | V 8 Mile·

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