A creamy yellow lentil soup garnished with fresh parsley and sprinkled with red chili flakes, served in a rustic brown bowl against a white background.

Heartwarming Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Mercimek Çorbası): Nutritious and Ready in 30 Minutes!

Just a heads up — Wellness Bum is reader supported, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using links within this article from qualifying purchases. It never affects your price or what we pick to recommend.

Last updated:

Nourishing, heartwarming, and soul-soothing – these are the words that come to mind when one thinks of the traditional Turkish Red Lentil Soup. But what if we added a modern twist to this age-old classic? Welcome to my take on the Mercimek Çorbasi!

A Cherished Culinary Memory: Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Mercimek Çorbası)

Turkish Red Lentil Soup, often referred to as Mercimek Çorbası, is iconic. A staple in Turkish cuisine, this soup is both simple and nutritious, making it a delightful treat. It’s a favorite of mine and serves as an effortless dish for those busy weeknights. Interestingly, while this soup is usually seen as a starter in traditional Turkish feasts, here it takes center stage as a gluten-free main dish.

A creamy yellow lentil soup garnished with fresh parsley and sprinkled with red chili flakes, served in a rustic brown bowl against a white background.

I was first introduced to this delectable soup in 2008, courtesy of my then Turkish mother-in-law. As tradition goes, this soup is fondly called “bride soup”, often served to brides-to-be just before their wedding. My initial taste was so memorable that I eagerly sought out her recipe and guidance to recreate it.

Over the years, and after countless bowls of this lentil goodness, I’ve put my twist on this classic, ensuring it’s gluten-free, as the traditional one uses a roux (butter and flour.) Now, as the colder months roll in each year, this recipe remains a cherished staple in my kitchen, a recipe I make on a weekly basis.

A Soup for the Soul

Whether you’re a vegan looking for a delicious and protein-rich option, someone with gluten intolerances, or just a soup enthusiast, this Turkish delight has got you covered. Red lentils are not just healthy; they are superfoods that pack a punch of protein, fiber, and essential minerals. With the medley of flavors from fresh veggies and spices, this soup becomes an absolute palate-pleaser.

Why This Recipe is the Ultimate Winner

  • Gluten-Free: Ideal for those with gluten intolerances or looking to cut down on gluten.
  • Versatile: Perfect as a starter, or pair it with some crusty bread, and you have a wholesome meal.
  • Nutrient-Rich: Lentils, tomatoes, carrots, and onions bring an abundance of health benefits to the table.

Let’s Dive into the Recipe!


Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Serves 4-6

Turkish, Soup, Gluten-Free


  • 1 1/2 Cup of Red Lentils, cleaned and rinsed
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium potato, cut in cubes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth

Optional Garnishes:

  • Pul Biber (Aleppo pepper)
  • Fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 2 tsp crushed red peppers
  • Paprika
  • Lemon juice for garnish

Kitchen Equipment Needed:

  • Large pot
  • Knife and chopping board
  • Immersion blender or blender
Our Pick
Beast Blender

Elevate your blending experience with the BEST-IN-CLASS Beast Blender + Hydration System, meticulously designed for durability and precision, featuring a smart blade that auto-adjusts for perfect consistency. Paired with a glass water bottle and stainless steel Infusion Chamber, enjoy silky smooth blends and infused water on the go with just a button push.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/18/2024 11:32 pm GMT


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over high/medium heat. Toss in the onions and sauté until they are translucent.
  2. Incorporate the garlic and tomatoes.
  3. Pour in 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Then, toss in the potato and carrots. Add another 1/2 cup of water and boil again.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of water, the lentils, season with salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, pour in the last 1/2 cup of water and boil one final time.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  6. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it’s smooth. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Serve with a sliver of lemon to squeeze on top.
  8. Garnish with crushed mint, Pul Biber, and a dash of lemon juice.

Handy Tips and Tricks:

  • Quick Soak for Lentils: If you’re pressed for time, soak the lentils in boiling water for about 15 minutes instead of the usual hour. It’ll help them cook faster.
  • Storage: This soup freezes well. Store it in airtight containers, and it should last for up to 3 months in the freezer. In the refrigerator, it will stay good for up to 3-4 days.
  • Recipe Variations: You can add diced bell peppers or even some spinach for added nutrition. For a creamier texture, stir in a dollop of yogurt before serving.
  • Plan Ahead and Save on Ingredients: You can get all of your dry ingredients on Thrive Market!
Thrive Market

Buy healthy food from top-selling, organic brands at wholesale prices. Thrive Market makes healthy living easy. Get 30% OFF your first order and a FREE gift when you join Thrive Market!

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  • Can I use green lentils instead of red?
    Yes, you can. However, keep in mind that green lentils have a firmer texture and might take slightly longer to cook.
  • Is there a substitute for Pul Biber?
    If you can’t find Pul Biber, you can use Aleppo pepper or a mild chili powder as a substitute.
  • How can I make this soup creamier?
    You can add a touch of coconut milk or cream to give it a creamy texture.
  • What can I pair this soup with?
    This soup goes perfectly with a side of crusty bread or a Mediterranean salad. As for drinks, a light white wine or even a refreshing mint lemonade would be ideal.

The Last Bite

If you’ve made it this far, I’m confident that you’re ready to take on the challenge and delight your taste buds with this delectable Twist on Tradition: Turkish Red Lentil Soup. There’s nothing quite like the comfort of a warm bowl of soup, and this recipe promises to deliver just that with every spoonful.

Before you go, don’t forget to share this recipe with fellow food enthusiasts and soup lovers. And if you’d like more such delightful recipes delivered right to your inbox, hit that subscribe button and join our culinary journey. Enjoy your meal! 🍲🍋🌿

Hi, I’m Valerie!

I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.