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Turkish Lentil Soup With a Twist

Planet Claire
This twist on the traditional “Mercimek” soup, or Turkish lentil soup, is straight-forward to prepare, full of hearty goodness and a few surprise ingredients.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Soaking Time 8 hrs
Course Soup
Cuisine Turkish


  • Large saucepan
  • Hand blender (or high speed blender)


The Soup

  • 200 g dried brown or red lentils soaked overnight and cooked
  • 1/2 large white onion sliced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic diced roughly
  • 4 purple potatoes (purple Peruvian) cubed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 pinch salt I use pink Himalayan rock salt but you can use any other type of salt you prefer
  • 1 pinch black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 200 ml vegetable stock

To Serve

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • 1/4 Lemon per person

Sausage Topping (optional)

  • 3 plain vegan sausages Any store-bought ones made from a base of soya or seitan will work.
  • 1 tsp olive oil for frying
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 pinch black pepper freshly ground


Preparing the Lentils

  • Soak the lentils in tap water overnight (at least 8 hours of soaking time).
  • Discard the soaking water and rinse the lentils thoroughly. Remove any shrivelled lentils and check there are no stones or grit.
  • Heat the lentils in water (for each cup of lentils, add double the amount of water) and boil on a medium heat for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft to touch.

Cooking the Soup

  • Heat up a tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan then saute the onions and garlic for 2 or 3 minutes, until the onions go transparent and slightly browning.
  • Add the tomato puree, spices and chili flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Fry for a further 2 mins. Add a splash of the vegetable stock if the mixture starts to stick to the pan.
  • Mix in the potatoes and the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked lentils and simmer for a further 5 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  • Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Use a hand blender to puree the mixture to your desired consistency. Let the soup sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of chile flakes.
  • Serve with the sautéed vegan sausage on top for crunch and texture (optional)

Sautéed Vegan Sausage (optional topping)

  • Heat up the oil in a small frying pan. Add the diced sausage pieces when the oil is hot.
  • Sprinkle with paprika and black pepper, and fry for 8 to 10 minutes until the sausages are browned.
Keyword Lentil soup, purple potatoes, red lentils