Brace yourselves for another snow day… with a cup of Red Lentil Soup!

Yes, it’s happening again… In South Carolina, we were warned for a winter storm starting from tonight until Tuesday. Most likely, the schools will be closed, people will prefer to work from home, and the drivers not so keen on driving on the icy roads will have hard time to get to where they are supposed to go.

And one more thing will happen without a doubt… All SC residents will flock to the supermarkets today and buy every single milk jug and loaf of bread in sight!

It still amazes me that people do this every time we get a winter storm, as if we will be snowed in for the rest of the week! Let’s get real: it never snows more than a few inches here, it does not stay on the ground more than one day, and if you wait for a couple of hours in the morning, the roads are pretty much ok to go out and do your shopping (as long as you don’t live in the middle of nowhere)!

I can hear people from Michigan and NY chuckling right now!

When I hear “snow” in the forecast, instead of milk and bread, all I can think of is soup! I think I will more likely need a cup of hot, thick, filling soup when I come home from walking the dog in the snow. Our walks in the snow take longer than our usual walks, because somehow there is a slowing, calming effect of snow on the trees and on the ground.

If you have some red lentils, I highly recommend this cumin-mint-loaded soup. It is a staple in Turkey throughout the winter. You can make it as thick or as dilute as you want. You can omit the veggies and make a pure lentil soup, or add more veggies if you prefer! That is what is nice about these dry legume soups, they simply provide a background canvas on which you get to play with the flavors!

Now I am ready, bring on the snow!

Red Lentil Soup

  • 2 cups of dry red lentils, washed
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Water or vegetable stock (approximately 5 to 7 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dry mint
  • Salt to taste

1. Chop all the vegetables in small chunks and put in the soup pot with the lentils.

2. Add water or stock until it covers everything up to 2 inches on top.

3. Boil everything until the veggies and lentils are cooked.

4. Using a handheld blender, puree everything in the soup pot.

5. Add the spices (and more water if you like to thin the soup), bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 min.

6. Squeeze a little bit (1/2 teaspoon or more to taste) of fresh lemon juice in each serving and serve with toasted bread or pita.


  1. by Rich
    9:19 am
    Jan 10, 2011

    Yeah, it happened last night in Dallas, too. I do not brace myself for snow days, because I do not believe in snow in Dallas. It is morally wrong for it to snow, and I’d take action, but I don’t know whom to sue. The weatherman? The clouds? I’m still working on it.

    In the meantime, though, this does look like a fantastic soup for a frigid day. And a frigid day this is.

  2. by Kristi Rimkus
    10:55 pm
    Jan 10, 2011

    I’ve saved this recipe. I love lentil soup and we have snow forecasted for the next few days!

  3. by briarrose
    10:58 am
    Jan 11, 2011

    Beautiful soup! The flavors you used look just wonderful.

    The bread and milk trip always cracks me up…I try to avoid that crush at the grocery if I can. ;)

  4. by Amy
    9:46 pm
    Jan 12, 2011

    Red lentils are wonderful in soup! Yours sounds so warming and delicious :)! Beautiful color as well!

  5. by Meg (The Red Spoon)
    5:03 pm
    Jan 13, 2011

    This looks so delicious! I love cumin and lentils – I will have to try this soon!

  6. by Ron
    9:22 am
    Feb 22, 2014

    We just came back yesterday from a fabulous visit to Istanbul, and my first thought was how can I duplicate some of the wonderful foods we enjoyed there. Your site is exactly what I was hoping to find! Although we did come home with an ample supply of Pul Biber, I am glad to see your recommendations of web sites where this is available. If only there was a way to make our new favorite hot drink, Salep!

  7. by Ilke
    1:54 pm
    Feb 23, 2014

    Hope you had a nice visit :) Salep should be available as boxed product on those sites too. But it might not be the same. I think they add a lot of cornstarch in those packages and they are not real salep. Real thing is really expensive.

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