Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Turkish Red Lentil Soup from Real Mom NutritionThis year, I resolved to cook more meatless meals. One of the biggest hurdles to this has been my lifelong aversion to beans and lentils. But as a recovering picky eater, I’m trying very hard to grow up and get over it. In my quest to like lentils, I’ve tried lentil casserole, lentil tacos, and a version of lentil sloppy joes that a friend promised I would like (alas, I didn’t). Then I remembered a lentil soup I’d had years ago at a friend’s house and asked for the recipe. At last! A lentil recipe I really, truly love. It’s also inexpensive, uses staples I can keep in my pantry, and requires only about ten minutes of hands-on prep. Make a batch of this soup and a loaf of bread and you’ve got two easy, hearty (and healthy) meals–perfect for cold weather.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Turkish Red Lentil Soup
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped (I puree them in a mini food-chopper until they're smooth)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup red lentils (rinsed)
  • ½ cup bulgur (rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon
  1. Saute onions in olive oil.
  2. Add paprika, lentils, bulgur, and tomato paste.
  3. Add stock and cayenne pepper and cook about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Squeeze a lemon wedge into each bowl before serving.

Liked this post?

Sign up for my weekly Reality Bite email with tips, ideas, and encouragement and you'll receive a FREE e-book, "16 Game-Changing Tips For Feeding Kids".


  1. says

    Hi Sally, I am also a “recovering picky eater” with an aversion to beans and lentils! I’ve written about this on my blog, too…lentil soup is SUCH a great “gateway” dish to legumes…other successes for me have been garbanzo burgers and falafel, and I have also found I can deal with pinto beans if they are mashed up in taco meat :). Btw, found your blog through links to your soccer snacks posts as I begin to take on the food issues my daughter’s preschool…thanks for the inspiration and confirmation that I’m not the only crazy one out there that doesn’t see why kids need to eat junk every day!

    • says

      Thanks Alissa! I like the idea of mashing up pinto beans–I can totally do mashed up beans (like hummus and falafel), it’s the whole-bean texture I have issues with. Would love to hear more about what you’re doing at your daughter’s preschool!

  2. says

    Hi Sally, so far I’m pretty much running into brick walls at my daughter’s school 🙂 Only positive change is eliminating flavored yogurt and yogurt drinks as a snack option for the weekly shabbat celebration, but I didn’t even succeed when requesting that teachers can’t bring in cupcakes for their OWN birthdays (nevermind all the cupcakes the kids bring in). If you have any advice I am totally open – my oldest just turned 3 so I’m a newbie at all this stuff!

    • says

      Sorry Angela–there used to be, but I’m doing it as a separate post this week with a more detailed recipe and better photos. Stay tuned! It’s a keeper.

  3. Jessica Morrell says

    Sally, I made this soup tonight and it was a big hit with my family, which includes three picky eaters, one vegan and two dairy-allergy sufferers. When I told the kids that they were to squeeze the lemon slice into the soup, my 10-year-old said, “Well, this is fun!” Much lemon-eating hilarity followed — good thing I had extra. 🙂 I think the lemon novelty helped set them up to like the soup — they raved about it. Thanks for a great addition to our recipe rotation! You also might want to tag this recipe as vegan/dairy free.

  4. Sarah W says

    Sally, I just wanted to let you know that I made it with the barley substitute, and it was so yummy! This is definitely joining the dinner rotation list. Thanks for the great recipe!

  5. Adina says

    I grew up eating meat and beans. But I was always slightly averse to beans…until..I became a vegetarian. Then suddenly, stuck, I grew to love them AND ethnic cuisine like Mexican (which I hated before) and Indian, etc. I’m no longer a pure vegetarian, but I still love beans 🙂

  6. Tammy says

    Have you tried freezing this? My friends and I are doing a vegetarian soup exchange and this would be perfect if it can be frozen.

  7. Silvia says

    for those of you meat eaters who want to incorporate lentils in your diet, trying preparing your favorite beef stew and add 1 or 2 handful to it and let them cook together (I use a pressure cooker or a slow cooker). The lentils will taste like the stew :). Little by little (like every 2 weeks) add more of the lentils and a little less of meat. That was the way to train my family and the kids did not notice the transition from a lot of meat to just a little. For some family the success is that the lentils don’t taste like lentils. If you don’t eat meat skip this post.

  8. Jennifer Barber says

    I’ve been meaning to tell you how much my family loves this soup. It’s by far the easiest dinner to make. The second time I made it I added diced carrots and they were a great addition. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


  1. […] Turkish Red Lentil Soup by Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RDN, blogger at RealMomNutrition.com This soup is inexpensive because it incorporates staples one can keep in a pantry and it requires only about ten minutes of hands-on prep. Make a batch of this soup and a loaf of bread and you’ve got two easy, hearty (and healthy) meals–perfect for cold weather. (Photo by Sally Kuzemchak) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: