Turkish Red Lentil Soup

March 21, 2011 § 6 Comments

So, about that two-thirds vegan diet … Oh, no worries, we’re still on it and still successful. Yay us! There is one small side effect, however, that I need to address. I get a vacant-minded, mad-hungry feeling around lunch time, and no matter how much I eat, I’m still kinda not all there. I’m thinking I may need more protein around then.

I’m no nutritionist, but I do know that a not-so-magical combination of certain beans and grains form a perfect (or close to it) protein. Do red beans and rice stave off the protein cravings enough so you don’t go chasing the nearest cow? I’m pretty sure they do.

In search of a protein-packed lunch option, two recipes found their way to me. The first just happened to be one of many Turkish recipes found in last Wednesday’s Boston Globe. Middle Easterners boy, do they know how to make huge flavors in vegan meals. Below is the recipe with a few changes as noted.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Ezogelin in Turkish)

  • 2 tbs butter (I used a couple swigs olive oil)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs tomato paste (what to do with the rest of the can? freeze it)
  • 1/2 cup bulgar wheat
  • 2/3 cup red lentils
  • 7 cups chicken stock (we used veggie stock)
  • 3 tbs dried mint (couldn’t find any! so we used minced fresh, about 3tbs)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste

-In a soup pot over medium heat, heat up butter or oil. Cook up onion until softened, about 5 min. Stir in tomato paste until blended in – 30-60 sec.

-Add bulgur, lentils and stock. Boil then simmer on low heat, pot covered. Let it simmer for about 30 min until lentils and bulgur are tender.

-Add mint, thyme, red pepper, salt and black pepper and simmer a few more minutes to meld the flavors.

Use RED lentils, not green. Red lentils tend to break down further than green, creating more of a mush or, when in a soup, it’s more of a thickener. You can use green but, well … I wouldn’t, not for this soup.

We actually had this last night for dinner, served with hunks of fresh bread (I’m still baking!) and a side of lentil-bulgur salad—another high-protein dish. I’ll give you that recipe tomorrow. That is a seriously tasty salad.

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§ 6 Responses to Turkish Red Lentil Soup

  • jennifer piemme says:

    soup for lunch–yay me!!

  • Don’t forget to take some bread, too. It was delicious!

  • mollyparr says:

    I’m so happy you made the lentil soup from the Globe; now I know it’s worth trying. I, too, freeze my tomato paste: I put the remains in a Ziploc baggy and flatten it out. Then I just break off a frozen piece whenever a recipe calls for it.

    • Molly, I forgot to mention – it’s worth it to throw in a pinch or two of salt as the lentils cook. Otherwise the “salt and pepper to taste” is a little overwhelming at the end.

  • K says:

    mmmm, I love lentils and I love how much faster they are to cook than dried beans! My partner and I are also relatively new to a no-meat or dairy diet, and are trying to find the right balance in each day’s menu so that we aren’t feeling deprived between meals. I think part of it is just realizing the same volume of whole foods is less calorie-dense than processed foods, so we need to eat more. We also try to avoid sugars and refined flour at breakfast, which seems to help minimize the pre-lunch blood-sugar crash.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Although I love me a good muffin, I stick to oatmeal or low-sugar cereals for breakfast. I’m usually famished by *gulp* 10am, so I grab a pot of green tea and a handful of almonds. That does the trick until lunch.
      And, right-o about the joy of quick-cooking lentils!

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