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Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Corba)

I’m on the record as stating that soup is not a meal, in and of itself, with very few exceptions.

This is one of them. (My mom’s baked potato soup is basically the only other)

Delicious & easy Turkish red lentil soup, ready in half an hour

I also don’t like lentils usually.  That is, until I went to Istanbul last year and we ate in a Kurdish family’s house and were served corba as an appetizer.  Corba is a hearty red lentil soup, super flavorful and comforting.  When I returned to the States, I started pinning recipes right away so I could try it myself.  I learned that red lentils are very different than the dark ones I’d had before, and didn’t have as many texture issues for me.

I’ve made this recipe a few times, trying to get the texture and flavors just right.  For some weird reason I have issues with it separating a bit (so becoming a little watery), but since I like it better with crushed up crackers in it anyway, I decided to just let that go.  One time I even tore up half a bagel into the soup, and the texture was awesome!

Healthy & easy red lentil soup

One of the great things about this soup is that it comes together really quickly—like half an hour from start to finish.  So you can get home from work, get it simmering, and go about your business until it’s time to blend everything up and serve.  Efficiency FTW!

Rinse your lentils, drain, and set aside.  Fair warning, this will probably turn your lentils into a solid block that you’ll have to break up later 🙂

 

In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the olive oil and the onion with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, then add the carrots and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir it around for around a minute. Now add the cumin, paprika, mint, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper as quickly as you can and stir for 10 seconds to bloom the spices.  Congratulate yourself on how amazing your house now smells, because you are basically a spice wizard now.

 

Immediately add the lentils, water, broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a (gentle) boil.

After it has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot halfway, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils have fallen apart and the carrots are completely cooked.  Go for a walk.  Read a book.  You do you.

 

After the soup has cooked and the lentils are tender, blend the soup either in a blender or simply use a hand blender to reach the consistency you desire (this is easier because I am lazy).  Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary (This is important!  Mine almost always needs more salt).

Serve with crushed-up crackers, torn up bread, or something else to add some extra thickness.  You could also use a traditional thickener (like cornstarch or flour), but I prefer to add crackers for some texture and saltiness.  This makes great leftovers (and work lunches), and stays good in the refrigerator for about a week.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Corba)

  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried mint (you can substitute more oregano if you can’t find it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme or oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (or more to taste, depends on the saltiness of your broth)
  1. Pick through your lentils for any foreign debris, rinse them 2 or 3 times, drain, and set aside.  Fair warning, this will probably turn your lentils into a solid block that you’ll have to break up later 🙂
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the olive oil and the onion with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, then add the carrots and cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir it around for around 1 minute. Now add the cumin, paprika, mint, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper as quickly as you can and stir for 10 seconds to bloom the spices. Congratulate yourself on how amazing your house now smells.
  4. Immediately add the lentils, water, broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a (gentle) boil.
  5. After it has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot halfway, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils have fallen apart and the carrots are completely cooked.
  6. After the soup has cooked and the lentils are tender, blend the soup either in a blender or simply use a hand blender to reach the consistency you desire. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  7. Serve with crushed-up crackers, torn up bread, or something else to add some extra thickness.  You could also use a traditional thickener (like cornstarch or flour), but I prefer to add crackers for some texture and saltiness.  Makes great leftovers, stays good in the fridge for about a week.

Original recipe here

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Turkish red lentil soup (corba)...filling, healthy, super yummy, and easy

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