Adas (Levantine Lentil Soup with Turmeric and Cumin)

Adas is a really easy to make lentil soup that is originally from the Levant. Meaning that people from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and parts of Iraq all consider this vegan soup as one of their traditional dishes.

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Adas is eaten throughout the entire Levant.

What is Adas?

In Arabic Adas literally means lentils. And that is pretty much what Adas is: you cook lentils to mush until it is soup, using only a handful of Middle Eastern seasoning to give it a very full taste. Adas is a popular local dish throughout the Levant.

With such a broad spectrum of countries that consider this plant-based soup their own, it will come to no surprise that Adas comes in many slightly different variations, all of which are vegan. A pretty common one, is the addition of tomato paste. What we will share in this post, is the most basic traditional recipe. The one that only calls for lentils, onion and spices.

How to serve Adas

When I still had an office job that required me to travel quite a bit to the Middle East, I found that the Lebanese often offer Adas as an appetizer.

Nowadays, me and my wife like to eat Adas as a full meal though. It is stuffed with plant-protein and makes for a nice hearty breakfast (I am not a cereal or oatmeal kind of person) or a warm and comforting lunch. Add some bread and you’re all set for dinner as well.

Warning for messy cooks (like me)

Turmeric powder gets your kitchen yellow. And by that I mean: the type of yellow that is both very yellow and very hard to clean. So better to make Adas in someone else’s kitchen. Or to not make a mess. Or to get ready and embrace the yellow. FOREVER.


For 2 servings

  • 150 grams of yellow or red (orange) lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ lemon, squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
  • 1 cube of vegetable stock
  • A few branches of parsley
  • A big pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil

Kitchen utensils

  • Cooking pan

How to make Adas

Prep: 5 min. | Cook: 25 min. | Total: 30 min.

  1. Chop 1 onion and 2 cloves of garlic as small as possible.
  1. Heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a cooking pan.
  1. Wait for the oil to get hot and then add the chopped up onion and garlic. Stir well for about 2 minutes. 
  1. Add 2 teaspoons of cumin and 2 teaspoons of  turmeric while stirring for another minute.
  1. Add 150 grams of lentils and mix well.
  1. After 1 minute, add 0.8 liter of water and the cube of vegetable stock.  
  1. Add the juice of ½ lemon. Mix it well into the soup.
  1. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  1. If the soup becomes too thick too quickly, add a splash of water. To serve a traditional Adas, the final result needs to be quite thick though.
  1. When the lentils soft and mushy, the soup is done.
  1. Garnish with some parsley and serve with a slice of lemon on the side. 

Note: If you prefer your Adas to be smooth, use a blender at the end of step 10.



Recipe: Adas (Levantine Lentil Soup with Turmeric and Cumin) 
Country: Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq
Prep: 5 min.
Cook: 25 min.
Total: 30 min.
Ingredients: red lentils, onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, lemon, parsley, olive oil  
Type of meal: main dish, soup, appetizer

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