This Egyptian red lentil soup, or shorbat adas, is a delicious blend of red lentils, tomatoes, garlic, onion, carrots, and potatoes. It's served with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of heavy cream mixed in (optional).
What You Will Love
And if you are anything like me, easy meal options are the best. This lentil soup is freezer-friendly. Sometimes I don't have the capacity to figure out what's for dinner.
And then add a little bit more stress in trying to find something packed full of nutrients that the whole family loves. My daughter (who hates vegetables) doesn't even know they are all blended in this delicious soup.
- Lentils: The base of this soup uses dry red or yellow lentils. I do not recommend adding any other type of lentil or bean.
- Vegetables: This shorbat adas recipe calls for fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, and white potato. I recommend following the quantities of this recipe exactly as it is written because the ratios have been perfected over a generation. Literally. If you want to be creative with the ratios, try modifying after you try the recipe as is.
- Stock: This lentil soup is made with water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock. If I don't have stock on hand, I use a bouillon cube in substitution.
- Oil: I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil, however, you can use butter or avocado oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: You can squeeze some fresh lemon or mix in a tad bit of cream.
How To Make Egyptian Red Lentil Soup
Peel and chop the onions, garlic, carrots, and potato. In a large pot on the stovetop, add butter. Set the heat to medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the chopped carrots and potato.
Add the lentils, tomatoes, and water (or broth). Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover. Cook the soup for about 45 minutes, or until the carrots are soft. Add water or broth if the soup is running low. WARNING: you don't want to burn the lentils, so check on the soup every 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a hand immersion blender, blend the lentils and vegetables together. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with cream and lemon wedges.
Tips and Variations
This recipe is really straightforward, so there's not too many ways to mess it up. However, if you have a pressure cooker or slow cooker, you can cook the soup a little bit differently.
- Pressure cooker: If using a pressure cooker, follow all of the steps just like you would for a stovetop pot. Once all of the ingredients are in the pot, cover and pressurize. Cook the lentil soup for 30 minutes.
- Slow cooker: If using a slow cooker, pan fry the onions and garlic with butter or oil. Transfer the cooked onions and garlic into the slow cooker pot. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
- Eat shorbat adas with some fresh bread for a light meal, or eat it as an appetizer.
- Other variations: You can fry some onions and add them to the top. Additionally, you can eat this soup with some rice. Or, if you want to add some protein, this soup can be eaten with some chicken. It's really very versatile.
Health Benefits of Lentils
Lentils are high in fiber and low in fat. The micronutrient ratio in lentils varies depending on the type, but they are packed with iron, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc.
Not only do lentils pack a ton of micronutrients, but they also contain a good amount of protein, making them an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans.
If you would like to read more about the types and health benefits of lentils, I've found this article helpful from Jessica Gavin, a culinary food scientist.
Do I Need to Soak Lentils Prior to Cooking?
Lentils do not require soaking prior to cooking like many other beans. This recipe does not require soaking, but it's recommended if there's time. I've tried this shorbat adas recipe with and without soaking the lentils, and there isn't a difference.
At a minimum, soak and wash the lentils for a few minutes to make sure they are clean. My mother used to sort through the lentils when I was a kid because sometimes a rock would slip through. I feel like the lentil packaging factories have gotten better because I never find rocks in my lentils. The world has become a better place because of this.
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Egyptian Red Lentil Soup
- 1 lb red lentils
- 1 lb tomatoes
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 large onions
- 3 large carrots
- 1 potato
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 2½ quarts water or stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and chop the onions and garlic. Peel and chop the carrots and potato.
- In a large pot on the stovetop, add butter. Set the heat to medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the chopped carrots and potato. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and water (or broth). Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover.
- Cook the soup for about 45 minutes, or until the carrots are soft. Add water or broth if the soup is running low, you don't want to burn the lentils. Remove the lentil soup from heat.
- Using a hand immersion blender, blend the lentils and vegetables together. Add salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve with lemon and/or cream.
- Add water or broth while cooking if necessary.
- The nutrition facts do not include any added cream.
- Soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- If cooking in a pressure cooker like an instant pot, cook the shorbat adas on high for 30 minutes.
- If cooking in a slow cooker, cook the red lentil soup on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.