Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

gluten free red lentil soup

Red Lentils (available at Trader Joes and most supermarkets) look orange when raw, cook up quickly, and make a delicious soup that is full of flavor.

red lentils

I was first introduced to this unique red lentil many years ago by my (then new to America) mother-in-law who made these lentils which she called "aatz". She made them quite frequently to feed her family of seven on a very tight budget. Her mother ( photo below) had ten children to feed.

 I call "aatz"  the never ending soup because the longer it sits, the thicker it becomes and we always need to add more broth or water to the leftover soup. When we heat it up the next day it stretches and stretches ! 

I am delighted with many of my mother in laws ethnic recipes because they are naturally gluten free and vegan!

man's photo
My Husband's Grandfather with a Fez on his head in the early 1900's 
Grandmother from Italy raised 10 kids 

Last summer I made a kohlrabi and red lentil soup that was also delicious, but had entirely different ingredients than this Turkish soup. If you get kohlrabi from your CSA this summer- try the kohlrabi and red lentil soup ( pin it) 

Years ago, I could only find these bags of dried red lentils in Middle Eastern or Indian grocery stores. However, today I see them in the most health food stores and supermarkets.. 

What I didn't know was that lentils are full of health protecting antioxidants. 


Why are antioxidants  important? 

"Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions." - Web MD

Antioxidants are only found in plant based foods - like fruit, vegetables, spices. herbs and beans
Lentils are high in antioxidants. 

Remember, not only are we looking for food that tastes good, we are looking for food that fuels our energy, protect us from disease, and provides substantial fiber for stabilizing blood sugar and easy elimination.

Eat as many different colored fruit ,vegetables and spices as you can. Each color has a unique role is providing protection to our cells. 

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain carotanoids which protect eye health, 

This soup contains lots of 
antioxidants, fiber & vitamins and minerals

red lentils- protein, fiber, antioxidants, high levels of folate, vitamins, minerals

carrots- high in betacarotene and carotenoid ( antioxidant) which the body converts to Vit A

garlic-powerful antioxidant that has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties

cumin- high in antioxidants

turmeric - helps with inflammation 

tomato paste - loaded with lycopene ( purchase organic in cans not lined with BPA) which may be protective for the prostate

10 minutes prep/25 minutes to cook

This naturally gluten free soup takes only 10 minutes to prep and twenty five minutes to cook.  It's so fast and easy, you can start it when you get home from work and enjoy a hot nourishing bowl of homemade soup by the time you change your clothes and set the table!


Author: Judee Algazi @glutenfree A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes


1 and 1/2 cups of uncooked red lentils, picked over and washed well
5 cup boiling water 
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of sliced carrots
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of organic tomato paste or 2 cups tomatoes chopped that have been sauteed in olive oil with 1/4 teaspoon cumin, fresh garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon or more to taste of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cumin + 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
fresh lemon juice


Place uncooked red lentils in a 8 quart sauce or soup pan. Add the boiling water, sliced carrots, garlic, tomato paste turmeric and stir well. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes until lentils begin to soften. Add the 3 cups of flavorful heated vegetable broth, cayenne pepper and 1/2 t of cumin , stir well and continue cook for another 10 minutes covered. When lentils and carrots are soft, it's ready to serve. Taste and add additional cumin if desired. We like to squeeze some fresh lemon juice into each bowl before serving.

My Notes: 

1. When the soup is done,  top with a tablespoon or more of Basmati Rice, quinoa, or GF noodles if desired or it can be enjoyed just the way it is.

2.  This soup thickens the longer it sits, add some broth before reheating leftovers.

3. ****If you use fresh tomatoes instead of the tomato paste, sautee your tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, and cumin in a little olive oil or ghee and then add  your red lentils and follow directions. 

Shared on 

Full Plate Thursday    Home Sweet Home  

Souper Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen


  1. I always love seeing the photos of your family members and hearing about them, Judee! The soup looks and sounds terrific, too. I came to lentils late in life, but I really enjoy them in soup and veggie burgers.


  2. I love red lentil soups of all sorts and it's always fun to make recipes handed down with love from family. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

    1. I really enjoy my mother in laws recipes. Red lentils were a staple for her, while I had never had them before I met my husband.

  3. I knew that lentils were really good for you. I've never really cooked them much. I have bought a soup mix that had them in, but I would like to try this. Thanks for sharing the recipe with SYC.

    1. When something is both easy and healthy, you should give it a try. I think that you will find using lentils is a healthier protein alternative to meat and you can add it to your menu once a week. There are so many ways to enjoy lentils. Look through my blog for ideas.

  4. This looks SO GOOD! I have never used red lentils before, but you have encouraged me with this recipe.

    1. HI Pattie,
      Thanks for stopping by. I guess I'm lucky to have married into a Middle Eastern family. I have been introduced to so many interesting recipes and the great part is that lentils are healthy, frugal, and delicious. Do give them a try.

  5. Hi Judee,
    I just love the history and photos of your family that makes the recipe just that much better. I can't wait to make the recipe. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great day and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. I like to try to include some photos of our relatives from the old country. It sort of adds some flavor to the recipe

  6. This looks great! I love lentils as well. #wonderfulwednesday

    1. It's surprising how many soup recipes there are using lentils as a base. They are really healthy too..

  7. This soups looks delicious! I like the taste of lentils. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

    1. I know . Lentils seem to have a really good flavor in soup. Thanks for stopping by and commenting

  8. I have recently discovered how much I like lentils, so I was really pleased to find your wonderful family recipe, Judee. It's lovely to have something like this wonderful soup on hand in the fridge - I like that it improves with keeping. Thank you so much for being a part of Hearth and Soul.

    1. Lentils are very versatile and can used in a variety of recipes. Today I'm making a lentil burger.

  9. Delicious sounding recipe Judee that I'll pin. I love lentil soup and did a post you might like to see. I love to compare recipes and think it's so interesting that I should be visiting Happiness is Homemade Link Party and see your post now. Anyway, my lentil post is

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Nice of you to stop by and THANK YOU so much for pinning this recipe!!I'll definetely be over to look at your lentil post as well.


Your comments are appreciated. I love knowing who is stopping by to read my posts! Have a great day.