Turkish Lentil Stew

Turkish Lentil Stew

This simple lentil and vegetable stew is as comforting as it is simple.  We make this stew in the winter, when onions and roots are at their best, but feel free to explore other aromatics and vegetables as the season calls for it. 


  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 large parsnip or potato, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup brown lentils 
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo pepper flakes (or 1 tbsp smoked paprika with a few dashes of cayenne)


  1. Set a large pot over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with the celery, onions, carrot, parsnip or potato, garlic, and ginger.  Season generously with salt and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the cumin, Aleppo pepper, tomato paste, and the stock to the pot, stirring to break up the tomato paste.  Add the lentils.  Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook over medium-low heat for 40-50 minutes, or until the lentils are totally tender.  This may take a little longer if your lentils have been in storage for a while. 
  3. Once the lentils finish, adjust the seasonings to taste and thin with a little stock, if needed.  Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and pita bread. 
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