Red Lentil Dip

When things get busy, and one thing goes wrong, the other things waiting to happen say “Hey it is perfect timing, let me get out of here and make life more miserable for her”.  This condition is known as Murphy’s Law, or “bad things come in triples” or “when life hands you lemons”. Whatever it is called, it ain’t fun!

The start of the weekend was the dreaded error message on the screen when I tried to log in to my WordPress account: “Can not locate database”. I ignored for a couple hours on Friday, then panicked late Friday night and very early Saturday morning – wondering if it meant that I lost all posts, pictures, and comments. Then right before I stepped out to meet with my friends for breakfast and shopping at 7 am on Saturday morning, I quietly approached still sleeping Jay and said “Honey, I am leaving now. Made you a fresh pot of coffee and took the doggy out so he does not bother you, and ummm…. I think there is something wrong with my website, can’t find database or something, could you take a look at it? Love you, bye!”

Of course that got him out of the bed, he was wide awake. And while I was shopping, Jay spent half of Saturday recovering everything (don’t raise your eyebrows now, he hates shopping and I hate html codes). We had some causalities, unfortunately lost comments from the last four posts.

So, we are going with something easy to recover from a hectic week, near-death experience with the blog and getting ready for yet another hectic week. As I was thumbing through the pages of the Turkish Cookbook, I spotted this recipe and wondered why I had never thought of red lentils in anything other than soup. More and more pages from this book have been making their way to my recipe list!

I think this is a pretty darn good alternative to hummus and similar appetizers. I added some other ingredients to the recipe, like tomato and red pepper paste, paprika and cumin seeds. I added garlic at the end along with the spices to adjust to my taste. I tend to go heavy on garlic, black pepper and cumin,  so keep that in mind when you are adding the spice amount mentioned below.

And please, please let me know if you have experienced the same error with WordPress and know what the heck is going on!

Red Lentil Dip

Adapted from The Turkish Cookbook by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman

  • 2 cups dry red lentils
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper paste (if you do not have it, increase tomato paste amount by 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Parsley or green onions to garnish (green parts only)

1. Wash and drain lentils several times until the water runs clear

2. Place 4 cups of water and all lentils in a big pan, bring it to a boil,

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add more water until lentils cook down. It should have the consistency of a thick puree.

4. Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Add onions and cumin seeds.Cook until onions are translucent and soft, stirring frequently.

5. Pour the red lentil puree in a mixing bowl. Add tomato paste and red pepper paste. Stir until completely mixed (it might help to thin the paste with a little bit puree first in a small bowl, then add to the lentils). Add onions, garlic, and spices to taste.

6. Garnish with parsley or green onions. Serve with warm pita bread.






  1. by Elizabeth
    6:30 pm
    Aug 21, 2011

    Thank goodness all is well! I tried to visit your site on Friday…and it wouldn’t load…so I am glad to hear (and see) that you’re back up and running!

    This recipe looks quite tasty!

  2. by Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    6:45 pm
    Aug 21, 2011

    Love this dip to the Tee…I am a bog big fan of red lentils and this is sure to grace my table soon! Losing the blog content is so scary to read Ilke..I m so glad that everything was restored..could you find what the problem was?

  3. by Ilke
    7:06 pm
    Aug 21, 2011

    Thanks Elizabeth, it was scary for a while. Tanvi, I am not sure what was wrong, Jay said it was not WordPress but it was something with the server he is hosting. He uploaded the content to Amazon a while back. Not sure if that was the problem.

  4. by Parsley Sage
    7:40 am
    Aug 22, 2011

    I’d have been very upset if your site was lost! I’ve got like three things bookmarked! I’m so selfish :)

    This dip is amazing. I looks pretty and it sounds yummy and it’s easy to make! See, good things come in triples too

  5. by karen
    5:22 pm
    Aug 23, 2011

    Your photography is stunning, Ilke. Nice work! I’ve posted the link on the world cuisine community page on FB. Please feel free to post when you’ve got something new:!/pages/World-Cuisine/226324574048595

  6. by Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen
    9:47 pm
    Sep 1, 2011

    Wow, Ilke, I totally would have freaked out! My blog went down for a few hours (during BlogHer, no less), and I almost fainted. Not really, but it’s a scary thing. Glad you were able to recover it! This dip looks great. I’m a big fan of lentils. :)

  7. by Cassandra Stanley
    12:09 pm
    Sep 6, 2011

    I love good eats!! I have been experimenting with some Rustic Bread recipes and this would go PERFECTLY with it….can’t wait to try it!! YUM!

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