Turkish Lentil Soup (Ezogelin Çorbası) is a traditional homestyle soup made with red lentils, bulgur wheat, spicy red pepper paste, and tomato paste. It’s the perfect cozy soup on a chilly day.
Turkey (the country, not the protein) is one of my top bucket list countries to visit. I’ll admit, it’s mostly for the food. We’re talking fresh, vibrant vegetables that sing with spices and grilled meats over open charcoal grills. I love a simple Piyaz Salad made with tomatoes, onions, parsley, and beans.
Spicy Turkish Lentil Soup (Ezogelin Çorbası)
Do you love discovering new flavors and trying unique dishes? This spicy, hearty red lentil soup originated in the kitchens of Turkey, where it has been enjoyed for centuries as a nutritious and filling breakfast or lunch.
In this post, you’ll find an easy-to-follow lentil soup recipe for preparing a delicious, filling Ezogelin Çorbası in your own kitchen. From traditional flavours and ingredients like Turkish red pepper paste and bulgur wheat, to the classic finishing flavours of mint and lemon, this soup is sure to impress with its flavour and simplicity.
Furthermore, you can stock all the items in your pantry and have this nourishing soup ready and on the table in less than an hour. Don’t forget to bake up some fresh Whole Wheat No Knead Bread or Dinner Rolls because this hearty soup is always served with fresh bread and lemon wedges in Turkey.
Ezogelin Çorbası vs Mercimek Çorbası
Ezogelin çorbası vs mercimek çorbası are two very similar styles of Turkish Lentil Soup. They both contain red pepper paste, tomato paste, and red lentils and are finished with mint and fresh lemon juice.
However, the similarities end there. Ezogelin çorbası is a textural soup featuring bulgur. It contains no other vegetables other than the garlic, onion, tomato and pepper paste.
Mercimek çorbası is a smooth, velvety soup containing more vegetables (potatoes and carrots) in addition to the ones found in ezogelin çorbası. The soup is simmered over medium heat until the vegetables become softened, then an immersion blender is used to create a smooth, velvety soup.
Star Ingredients in Turkish Lentil Soup
This spicy tomato soup recipe is a flavourful combination of a few key pantry staples (red lentils, bulgur wheat, spicy red pepper paste, and tomato paste).
Once you have these, whipping up a batch of this traditional soup quite simple and oh so satisfying.
- red lentils
- chicken stock
- tomato paste
- Turkish hot red pepper paste
- ghee or olive oil
- dried mint
- red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
Red lentils are an economical vegetable-based protein. I love that they are so easy to store and cook in minutes. However, their best feature is that they are like little sponges, soaking up all that delicious soup flavour.
Even though the use of homemade stock is preferable in most soup recipes, you can use a high-quality store-bought chicken stock or even vegetable stock to keep with the pantry theme of this recipe
Dried mint leaves and fresh lemon juice are common finishing flavours in Turkish cuisine. They are added to the finished dish just before it is served or served alongside the dish.
What is Bulgur?
Bulgur is another inexpensive ingredient that stores well and soaks up delicious flavours. This quick cooking carb is a par-boiled cracked wheat ingredient that has a slight nutty flavour.
It’s popular in the Mediterranean and Western Asia and is used in many recipes from soups to desserts, depending on the grain size. For this recipe you will use medium sized bulgur.
What is Turkish Pepper Paste (Biber Salçası)?
One taste and you’ll fall in love with the spicy flavour of the Turkish Pepper Paste, or Biber Salçası. It’s a deep red thick paste made from blending cooked red urfa biber (biber means pepper) and salt. You can also buy dried and flaked urfa biber. It is very similar to pul biber, or Aleppo pepper, another Turkish red pepper which is usually served dried as a side condiment.
Biber Salçası has a mild version and a spicy version which has a medium heat similar to ground cayenne. It contains a rounder flavour profile, and the heat builds up over time. Use this Turkish pepper paste to add a little extra heat to soups, salads, stews, and even risotto.
How to Make Turkish Lentil Soup
For this soup, you’ll need a large saucepan and 45 minutes. To begin, place the diced onions in a large saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil/butter/ghee and sauté over medium heat until they become softened and translucent. Next, add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
Pour the chicken stock over the onions and garlic then add the lentils and bulgur wheat to the saucepan. Heat the pot over medium heat until it reaches a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on low, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur are tender.
Stir in the remaining butter/ghee (or olive oil), Turkish pepper paste, Turkish hot pepper flakes (optional), and the tomato paste. Mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has a creamy consistency.
To finish the soup, add the lemon juice, the dried mint and more water (if required), then season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup hot with lemon wedges.
If you make this Spicy Turkish Lentil Soup, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- 1 medium yellow onion; finely chopped
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil or butter/ghee
- 2 cloves garlic; minced
- 7 1/2 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 1 cup split red lentils; rinsed and drained
- 3 Tablespoons medium or coarse bulgur wheat; rinsed and drained
- 1 Tablespoon Turkish hot red pepper paste (I used mild)
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes / paprika flakes (I used 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon dried mint
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Place the diced onions in a large saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil/butter/ghee and sauté over medium heat until they become softened and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Pour the chicken stock over the onions and garlic then add the lentils and bulgur wheat to the saucepan.
- Bring to boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer on low, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur are tender.
- Stir in the remaining butter/ghee (or olive oil), Turkish pepper paste, Turkish hot pepper flakes (optional), and the tomato paste.
- Mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has a creamy consistency.
- Add the lemon juice, the dried mint and more water (if required), then season with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot with lemon wedges.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 866Total Fat: 54gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 502mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 7gSugar: 7gProtein: 69g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.