Submitted by: Sarah
Recipe Source Country: Turkey
Cooking/Prep time: 30 min – 1 hr

Authentic, Famous Turkish Lentil Soup from a Master. There are a few secret steps in this recipe that come from the owner of a Turkish restaurant! Not using a hand-blender makes all the difference!


  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 1 full tablespoon of flour
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (vegan substitute: vegetable, olive, or coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 egg yolk (vegan substitute: 1 tablespoon flax seed meal and 3 tablespoons of water)
  • 1 cup milk (vegan substitute: non-dairy milk alternative)
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I prefer to use Better than Bullion Vegetable broth)
  • 1 tablespoon Turkish red pepper/”Aleppo pepper” (or half a tablespoon sweet paprika half a tablespoon of cayenne pepper if you can’t find any)
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 1-2 lemons, sliced


  • Set the red lentils in a bowl and cover with room temperature water. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add 4 cups of water and 4 cups of vegetable broth to a large pot and turn the heat on high.
  • Pour lentils into a strainer and wash with room temperature water until the water runs clean
  • Add the lentils and two tablespoons of oil to the water, bring to a boil
  • Add the cubed potato
  • Add the diced onion
  • Here is the secret step: with a whisk, continually stir the mixture until the lentils, onion, and potatoes are cooked through. Add water as needed.
  • Continue stirring until you cannot see the individual pieces of the lentils, onion, and potatoes and the soup looks pureed. This should take about 30 minutes. (alternatively you can leave it boiling and not whisk, but it won’t be the same. Whisking is key.)
  • Next, with a strainer over a large bowl or pot, slowly pour the soup through the strainer. Stir it with a whisk until all but the largest pieces are left. If you have trouble with this you can pour some boiling water over top and it will strain. Alternatively, you can use a hand blender. But it won’t be as delicious!
  • Once you are done, you can throw out all of the dry, large pieces that could not be strained.
  • In a large pot, add two tablespoons of oil and a tablespoon of flour. Stir for about two minutes until you can smell the flour.
  • Then add the tablespoon of butter
  • Then add 2 cups of water, with about 2 more on the side to add later to adjust the texture
  • Add the strained lentil soup, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 15-20 minutes
  • While the soup cooks, make the sauce (not forgetting to stir the soup every once in a while)
  • Add about 1/2 cup of oil, and 1 tablespoon of Aleppo pepper. Stir until fragrant, being careful not to burn
  • Strain out the oil into a small bowl. It should be a bright red color.
  • Beat the egg yolk in with the milk. (vegan alternative: let the flax seed meal sit in the water for five minutes, then mix in the non-dairy milk alternative)
  • To not cook the egg, slowly add about three cups of the soup to the egg mixture, and then add it all to the soup and stir rapidly
  • cook for five more minutes
  • add the cumin, black pepper, and salt to taste. Stir well to combine. Let boil for 5 more minutes
  • Pour soup into bowls. Drizzle the sauce in a circular motion over the soup, and serve with a slice of lemon!
  • you can add oregano, Aleppo pepper, and dried mint to taste!

This recipe yields a large amount of soup. I suggest cutting it in half for a normal household.