Red Lentil Soup with a Spicy Sizzle

4.4 (60)
Red Lentil Soup with a Spicy Sizzle

This Turkish soup features a delicious, healthful combination of lentils and whole-grain bulgur. A drizzle of sizzling spiced olive oil gives the soup a final flourish.

Yield: 8 servings, about 1 cup each
Active Time: 25
Total Time: 50


  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 onions, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed (see Tip)
  • 1/3 cup bulgur
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; cook for 1 minute. Add broth, lentils, bulgur, tomato paste and bay leaf; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils and bulgur are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
  2. Ladle about 4 cups of the soup into a food processor and puree. Return the pureed soup to the soup pot and heat through. Stir in lemon juice and season with pepper.
  3. Just before serving, ladle the soup into bowls. Heat the remaining 4 teaspoons oil in a small skillet and stir in paprika and cayenne. Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of the sizzling spice mixture over each bowlful and serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 2. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Tip: You can replace red lentils with brown lentils; add 1/2 cup water and simmer 40 to 45 minutes.


Nutrition Per Serving

calories 218
fat 5 g (1 g sat, 3 g mono)
cholesterol 5 mg
carbohydrates 31 g
protein 15 g
fiber 7 g
sodium 151 mg
potassium 406 mg

Nutrition Bonus Fiber (29% daily value), Iron (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Serving 2

Exchanges 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat

From EatingWell January/February 1995, The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook (2005)