Adasi (Persian Lentil Stew)

This traditional Persian breakfast dish is made with lentils slow-cooked with fresh aromatics and spices to create a stunning wholesome dish.

What is Adasi?

Adasi is a wholesome vegan dish, commonly eaten for breakfast in Iran. It is made with green lentils, onions and spices and is often described as a soup by Persians. I personally consider it is closer to the dal recipes from the Indian sub-continent but to compromise between the two I have called it a stew. Some add cubed potatoes to make it heartier but the version below excludes, but feel free to add them after step 1 below.

It is often topped with fried onions and a ground spice called Golpar or Persian Hogweed or Angelica.

Ingredients in this Recipe?

You will require the following ingredients for this recipe.

  • Dried Green Lentils. You can find large bags at a reasonable price form most supermarkets.
  • Olive Oil. Use extra virgin olive oil to cook the stew with and to drizzle over the final dish.
  • Onions. Used both in the lentil stew and as a garnish for the final dish. Adds depth to the lentils.
  • Garlic and Ginger Paste. Fresh aromatics to complement the flavours of this dish. They add both a sweet, zesty and spicy tone to the dish.
  • Turmeric, Cumin, Cinnamon and Bay. The spices used for this dish. They add a warming, woody, peppery and musky tones to the dish.
  • Tomatoe Purée. Thickens the stew and adds a mild tomato flavour to the dish.
  • Vegetable Stock. The cooking liquid. You can also use plain water in the alternative.
  • Lime. Lifts and complements the flavour profile of the Adasi by adding citrus notes.
  • Salt & Pepper. Seasoning for the dish.
  • Ground Golpar. An unsual spice which add a gorgeous depth of muskiness to this dish. Totally optional if you cannot find it. You can usually find it in Middle Eastern food shops or online.
  • Vegetable Oil. To fry the onions for the garnish.

I cook this recipe  the day before I want to eat it as the flavours intensify overnight. The recipe below yields a big batch (up to 8 people) and lasts up to 5 days if refridgerated, so it is a great dish to make and dip in and out of for various meals during a working week.

How to Serve Adasi

Serve  with flatbread such as Persian Noon-e-Sangak or Sesame and Nigella Seed Flatbread. Pairs well with eggs (poached, boiled or fried) and some fresh herbs as set out in the picture above. It can also be served with rice (chelo or kateh) for a heartier meal.


Persian Lentil Stew
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Brunch, lunch
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: vegetarian, vegan
Servings: 6 (to 8)
Author: Mersedeh Prewer


For the Adasi

  • 400 g dried green lentils (washed and soaked in water for 2 hours)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion (finely diced)
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

For the Garnish

  • 1 large brown onion (finely sliced)
  • Vegetable oil (to fry the onions)
  • Ground golpar (Persian hogweed - optional)
  • Olive oil (to drizzle on top)


  • Place a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat until it glistens. Then add onions and cook, stirring regularly until they start to turn golden.
  • Add garlic and ginger paste, followed by turmeric, ground cumin, cinnamon and stir until evenly distributed into the onion mixture. Then stir in tomato purée.
  • Drain and add in pre-soaked lentils and stir until evenly mixed with the onion mixture.
  • Pour in the stock, lime juice and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Then turn heat down, put the lid of the saucepan on and let the Adasi simmer for approximately an hour or until the lentils are tender.
  • Whilst the Adasi is cooking fry finely sliced onion in vegetable oil over a high-medium heat until crispy.
  • When the Adasi is cooked take a stick blender and blitz some of the lentil mixture to thicken (about 1/3). Taste and season as required with salt and pepper (stock usually has salt in it so further salt may not be necessary). Squeeze some more lime juice if desired. Then ladle into a bowl, top with the crispy onions, a sprinkling of ground golpar and a drizzle of olive oil.

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  1. saffronandherbs

    Thank you! A lot of our dishes don’t use chilli with the exception of the cuisine coming from the south of Iran which can dabble a little with spicier elements. ♥️

  2. Karen Smith

    This sounds delicious and I love the idea of the flavours but without the heat of chili.

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