Soups have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with a soup. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter. This spicy lentil soup is one of my favorites; rich in fiber and protein, very delicious and easy to make. At Waitrose supermarket the other day, I came across with bulgur wheat mixed with red and white quinoa. Quinoa is a grain like crop from South America, rich in protein, iron and potassium; another super food like the bulgur and lentils. I haven’t tried this nutty, wholesome grain before and gave it a try at my spicy lentil soup.
The result was a wonderfully tasty, nutty, wholesome soup, nutritious and affordable. This lentil soup is also a great example of how we add flavor to our dishes thru spices like dried mint and red pepper flakes. Named after the bride “Ezo” who managed to impress her in-laws with this heartwarming soup, it is so delicious and simple to make that you will want to make it all the time! It also freezes very well, so I recommend to make a big batch and freeze some for a heart and soul warming lunch or supper.
290 gr/1 cup split red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely diced
45 ml / 2 tablespoons coarse bulgur wheat and 1 tbsp red and white quinoa, rinsed and drained
Or just 3 tbsp coarse bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
1.75 litres / 7 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
60 ml / 4 tablespoons tomato paste
30-45 ml / 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
15 ml / 1 tablespoon dried mint
10 ml / 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes / paprika flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges to serve
Put the lentils, bulgur wheat (and quinoa, if used), onion, carrot and the chicken stock (or water) together in a pan. Bring to boil and then on a low heat simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur are tender. Then add the butter (or olive oil), the dried mint, the red pepper flakes and the tomato paste, mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has a creamy consistency. Add the lemon juice and more water if required, then season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot with lemon wedges and crusty bread aside.
Afiyet olsun and wish you all a good week ahead,