Almost Turkish Recipes

Green Lentils (Yeşil Mercimek)

The eastern Thrace is the north western or the European part of Turkey. The region (except for Istanbul) is mostly occupied by people who migrated from the western Thrace (Greece and Bulgaria). Most of those people, like my grandparents, settled down in the region after the 1924 population exchange. This green lentil dish is cooked widely in eastern Thrace and known to be a western Thracian recipe.

1 cup dry green lentils
3 tbsp olive oil or butter
1 big onion, chopped
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

1/4 cup vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
use a vinegar based hot sauce

-Cook 1 cup green lentils with 3 cups of water on medium until water is completely soaked.
-In a different pot heat the oil and stir in onions. Cook until soft.
-Add flour and stir for a couple of minutes.
-Add tomato paste and stir for another couple of minutes.
-Add lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water. Salt to your taste. Cook on medium low for 30 minutes. -Add dill after you turn it off.
-For the sauce, in a little bowl mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and crushed pepper.
-When you serve the lentils, put a couple of spoons of the sauce on lentils.
-Serve with bread or rice.


  1. This looks simple and delicious!

  2. I agree, it sounds wonderful. I love simple dishes like this with lots of flavor.

  3. I wish I had that right now. I'm feeling the need for some nice soup--and that looks very, very good!

  4. I admit I haven't been a big fan of lentil (and beans). But that habit is changing since I start to cook them more. Thanks for a great recipe!

  5. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Another coincidence Burcu with your dish from Thracia, and mine from eastern Turkey. Difference in mine is the inclusion of Turkish noodles (eriste) and the lack of Turkish paste. I will try yours sometime soon (Only Turkish Food), this looks yummy.

  6. i love your recipes. the perfect combination of delicious food, easy to follow instructions and a wonderful gastronomic history. teşekkür ederim!

  7. I love your recipes and the interesting background information you serves as side dish. Thanks!!

  8. Yabancı yemek bloglarını gezerken bir Türk yemekleri bloğu görünce yorum bırakmadan çıkmak istemedim.
    Bloğunuz çok güzel ellerinize sağlık.

  9. Thanks Lydia and Kalyn!

    Sher, only if I were in California.

    Anh, beans and lentils might be really blend, but when cooked right they are so delicious. Keep on experimenting.

    Ceviz, I never had lentil-noodle soup and was hoping to find a recipe. Now I have one, thanks.

    Anna and Helene, thanks for your nice remarks; I do my best.

    lounge time, cok tesekkur ederim. yine beklerim.

  10. Çat kapı girdim blogunuza, gecenin 2 sinde karnımı acıktırdınız:)Çok renkli ve çok hoş bir blog olmuş ellerinize sağlık.Başarılar..

  11. Anonymous10:24 AM

    I've recently become interested in Turkish cooking so your site is a real find! I agree with everyone else, this dish looks absolutely delicious.

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  12. Anonymous10:33 AM

    I loved this, the dill is a great touch

  13. Anonymous12:24 PM

    Actually we have the exact same dish in Hungary, again the same dish...of course I know Turkey's and Hungary's history come together at one point but my country we don't eat lentil and beans as much as you do and I really miss it, so I am happy that I can find other recipes with lentil on your site besides this that I already know.

  14. Anonymous3:47 PM

    What kind of vinegar did you use?

  15. This recipe is simple and delicious!

    I stumbled upon it after looking for a recipe for the lentils that I had soaked overnight (which meant I cut out step one).

    For the dressing I used a white wine vinegar and a homemade roasted garlic paste... it was amazing!

    The stew that thinks it's a salad! Love it!

  16. Wow. I love this dish. This is my second experiment trying your recipe, and the flavors surprise each time. Thank goodness for Google search; otherwise, I would have been lost trying to prepare my green lentils.

  17. İ wanted a basic lentil recipe İ can make for normal meals, this is great. Easy and quick(İ cooked the lentils in my pressure cooker) it took me only 20 minutes to make. Thanks.

  18. i must say the vinegar/garlic topping is a very strong but being a fan of vinegar/garlic, i loved this dish and would make it again. but i would stay away if cooking for those who don't like a strong a strong vinegar/garlic smell and taste. this dish wouldn't be complete without the topping.

  19. A very old agricultural produce. Perfectly adapted to human consumption over millenial selection. Unmatched qualities in taste, nutrient content, digestibility, ease of storage, and ease of cooking. Bonus: it is cheap!

    Perfect dish for newbeginners, cooks in low heat without requiring much attention, or long time.

    Practically anything may be added as a condiment; try with whatever leftovers you have in the refrigerator. Here are some in order of relevance: fried onions, fried flour, fried bits of pasta, fried meat, tomato paste, broth, boullion, garlic, potato, carrot, cellery, celleryroot, paprika, leeks, dill, mint, parsley, black pepper, salt.

    Serve with something starchy (such as bread, rice, bulghur), something sour (such as salad, raw onion, pickled gherkins, yoghurt, lemon), with a sour drink (such as ayran, fruit juice).

    Are you serving to somebody with a declared preference against lentils? Wait until in dire need (such as after a very active day - low blood sugar situation), serve in a well aired room, decorate with very hot butter, have no alternative dish, ensure good company that already likes lentils, provide background music sure to please. Repeat for permanent effect.

    I wish junk food outlets had this dish to be consumed on the go.

  20. Anonymous10:29 AM

    This is eaten very much in Bulgaria too

  21. Thanks for the recipe. Tried this today and the sauce definitely boosts the flavour of the dish. I varied the recipe a little by adding some pepper paste. Will be adding to my blog, will put you down as a reference...thanks!!

  22. Anonymous8:34 PM

    i'd never cooked green lentils before but this was a really simple recipe to cook. my mum, boyfriend and i loved it. this recipe will be going in my recipe collection, thanks.

  23. Hello! Can I make this alongside Imam Bayildi with some bread?

  24. Can't wait to try it

  25. This is a deceptively simple and delicious meal! I was shocked at how tasty it was and so nutritious too! I highly recommend it.

  26. This is a deceptively simple and delicious meal! I was shocked at how tasty it was and so nutritious too! I highly recommend it.