Purée of Red Lentil Soup With Crispy Onions

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IMG_0074-001While in Istanbul, I’ve often enjoyed this lentil soup made simmering red lentils and aromatic vegetables. Some bay leaves and oregano round out the flavours and all one needs is a hand blender to blitz this easy to make delicious soup.

I recently made this soup at my Constantinople (Istanbul) themed dinner and it was a big hit. I added a simple garnish of crispy fried onions and I likely would have had two bowls were it not for the huge main course that followed.IMG_0076

Puree of Red Lentil Soup With Crispy Onions

(serves 8-10)

2 cups of red lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
3 bay leaves
3/4 cup of pommodoro sauce (passata)
1  level Tbsp. smoked paprika
8 cups of water
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tsp. dried oregano
salt to taste

  1. Into a large pot, add your lentils, olive oil, onions, carrot, pepper, tomatoes, paprika, bay leaves, garlic and water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. When aboil, lower the medium and simmer for 45 minutes (the lentils and vegetables should be soft).
  2. Take off the heat, add your oregano and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and purée with a hand blender.
  3. Divide into bowls and top with crispy fried onions and serve with good crusty bread,

© 2013,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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4 Comments for “Purée of Red Lentil Soup With Crispy Onions”



I am looking forward to trying this recipe.
Could you give us a primer on “smoked paprika” – for unilingual English speakers, it’s hard to know how to shop for this item. I spend a lot of time in Arz and there seem to be so many variants in the Mediterranean area and diaspora about paprika and smoked paprika. I also have trouble because the imported items have the local names which seem to vary a lot.


Violet, there’s Spanish, Hungarian and smoke paprika from the Balkans and they should all be sweet (not hot) and smoky. A little goes a long way so resist using alot. Arz is a great shop. You could also try getting some at a bulk store is small amounts.