janet @ the taste space

Turkish Red Lentil Peasant Soup with Sizzling Mint

In Mains (Vegetarian) on March 14, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Turkish Red Lentil Peasant Soup with Sizzling Mint

When I photographed this, I was worried it may look eerily similar to the Red Lentil and Spinach Curry (Vegan Tikka Masala). Red lentils + tomato + spinach… This one has carrots, isn’t as red and is more soup-like than the curry, though. I think they look reasonably different, so trust me I am not recycling photos! No lost photos for this dish…

In truth, it was the success of the tikka masala that had me throwing bountiful fists of spinach into yet another red lentil dish.

Turkish Red Lentil Peasant Soup with Sizzling Mint

I have made the traditional Turkish red lentil and bulgur soup before, having learned it while travelling in Turkey. A humble, yet decidedly filling and nutritious soup, it was one of our favourite meals on our trip, especially when we learned how to cook it ourselves. This version, courtesy of Turquoise, is billed as a humble peasant soup. The lentils must make it peasant-like because there is nothing bland about this. I love the addition of two different kinds of smoked paprika and cumin (I did not stifle the full amount of smoked paprika and it was ok!).  I added in the spinach, because, well, I had tons of it and it is easy to incorporate into thick soups. However, the best part of this soup, is the finishing spiced oil. I am used to this in Indian dishes, which is called a tarka, when spices like cumin, coriander, garlic and ginger can infuse oil that is added at the end of the cooking. This isn’t an Indian dish, so dried mint and smoked sweet paprika are fried at the end to permeate the oil. It was actually very pretty when drizzled over the soup. Sorry, you guys got photos of leftovers! Have no fear, the leftovers tasted as good with the tarka already stirred into the soup. 🙂

Do you use the tarka method for your cooking? Outside Indian foods?

Turkish Red Lentil Peasant Soup with Sizzling Mint

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Turkish Red Lentil Peasant Soup with Sizzling Mint
Adapted from Turquoise

1 tbsp coconut or olive oil, divided
1 large onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked bittersweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika, divided
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup fine bulgur
1 cup tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 bunch spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped (300g prepped)
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp dried mint
3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste (juice from 1 medium lemon)

1. In a large saucepot over low heat, heat 1 tsp of the oil. Once hot, add the onion and carrot. Sprinkle with salt and saute for 5 minutes until softened. If things start to stick, add in some water or broth. Add the garlic, cumin, bittersweet paprika, 1 tsp of the sweet paprika and saute for 5-8 minutes more, until the onions are translucent and soft.

2. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for one minute, until slightly browned. Add the lentils and broth, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils are soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the bulgur and tomato and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach, in batches, allowing it to wilt. Cover and remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice.

3. Meanwhile, in a small frypan heat the remainder of the oil (2 tsp) over medium heat. Add the mint and 1/2 tsp smoked paprika. Remove from heat and drizzle overtop soup.

4. Serve soup with additional slices of lemon, if needed.

Serves 4.

  1. Yum! I need a bowl of that right now!

  2. I don’t use oil so do you think I can pan fry without the oil?

  3. I always learn something new when I read your blog. Love this idea! And way to go not cutting the paprika. And a heat-monger, I applaud you. 😉

  4. i love that sizzling mint in this.. i cant imagine how interesting that flavor would be.. have to try that for sure!

  5. Ooh la la sizzling mint!

  6. I used the tarka method for a risotto once! I love that we both posted red lentil soups this week and yet they are so different! Definitely making this one.

  7. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with taking pictures of leftovers. The next day is when the light is best, right? 🙂 I love the idea of this sizzling & spicy mint oil! I usually just do my chonks with Indian recipes–branching out sounds like a delicious plan.

  8. Bookmarked! I’m due for another batch of work-lunch-cooking 🙂

  9. I love the idea of the sizzling mint–what a visual. I want to make this right now!

  10. You had me at sizzling mint!! I have only done the ‘tarka’ method (and I didn’t know it was called that) for indian dishes. Oh and for a Lebanese lentil soup where you add lots of fried garlic at the end.

  11. Yummm these look great! I love anything with mint! Haha

  12. That sizzling mint is so unique! I love the combo of spicy and cooling. That is a must try!

  13. janet, I am just enjoying all these recipes you have posted in last couple of times, this turking soup is just mind-blowing. I would love this healthy dish for my event @ my blog. Please do send it.

  14. The soup looks wonderful but it is the idea of that sizzling mint and paprika that has me drooling. I loves me some interesting soup toppings. 😉 Thanks for sharing with Souper Sundays!

  15. […] Turkish Red Lentil Peasant Soup with Sizzling Mint […]

  16. […] cooker. They were very good, if not subdued in their spices. The red lentil soup reminded me of my Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Sizzling Mint, with a swap for fresh mint which changes the […]

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