red lentil soup | shorbat adas

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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided into 2 and 1)
  • 1 medium onion, small diced
  • 2 large carrots, small diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed through a press or finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander *
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric *
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin *
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fenugreek *
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 quarts stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons parsley or cilantro for garnish, extra lemon wedges, and rice or bread on the side


  1. Heat a stockpot over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, and carrot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have shrunk in size and softened significantly (about 8 to 10 minutes).
  2. Push the onions and carrots to the side of the pot and add to the center the 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and fenugreek. Stir the center for about 1 minute over medium heat, and then stir everything together.
  3. Add the lentils and stock to the pot and bring everything to a boil over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, taste the stock and add some salt if necessary.** Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are still whole, but very soft and slightly falling apart. If you prefer smooth lentil soup, you can purée it with an immersion blender.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice right before serving. Optionally, garnish with parsley or cilantro, and serve with lemon wedges and rice/bread on the side.


* If you’d prefer, you can use 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder in place of all of the ground spices. This type of soup is commonly made that way, and it’s delicious either way.

** If your stock has a lot of salt already, you may not need to add much (or any at all). If it is low sodium, you may need to add quite a bit. It all depends, so keep tasting while you season.