Shorbat Adas: The Soul-Soothing Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Shorbat Adas: The Soul-Soothing Middle Eastern Lentil Soup




Shorbat Adas is a traditional Middle Eastern soup that’s brimming with nutrition, flavors, and history. It’s simple to prepare, yet deeply satisfying, making it a beloved staple in many homes across the region. This hearty lentil soup is not just a comforting meal, but it also embodies a rich cultural significance. This article will delve into the history, nutritional value, and variations of Shorbat Adas, complete with a couple of recipes for you to try at home.

A Brief History of Shorbat Adas

Shorbat Adas, also known as Arabic lentil soup, traces its origins back to the ancient Middle Eastern civilizations, particularly those in the Levant region. The use of lentils in the Middle Eastern diet dates back to 8,000 B.C., making them one of the first crops ever domesticated. The word “Shorbat” is derived from the Arabic word “Sharbat”, meaning drink, while “Adas” translates to lentils. Lentils have been found in the tombs of Ancient Egyptians and were mentioned in the Bible and Quran, demonstrating their deep-rooted presence in the region’s food culture.

Owing to its simplicity and nutritional benefits, this soup has been a staple food for centuries, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. It’s traditionally served as a starter, but it’s hearty enough to be enjoyed as a main dish. Over the years, it has been embraced by different cultures, each adding its own unique twist to the recipe.

Nutritional Profile of Shorbat Adas

Shorbat Adas is a nutrient-dense dish. Lentils, the main ingredient, are rich in fiber, protein, and a variety of essential minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium. They are also a good source of folate and other B vitamins.

This soup also includes other healthful ingredients like onions, garlic, and olive oil, each contributing to its nutritional profile. Onions and garlic are known for their antioxidant properties, while olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which promote heart health. Depending on the recipe, other vegetables, herbs, and spices may also be included, further enhancing the soup’s nutritional value.

Traditional Shorbat Adas Recipe

Let’s start with a simple, traditional version of this soup. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth or water
  • Fresh lemon juice to taste
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly and set them aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic, cooking until they become soft and translucent.
  3. Add the turmeric, cumin, and lentils to the pot, stirring to coat the lentils with the spices.
  4. Pour in the vegetable broth or water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  5. Once the lentils are cooked, use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can also use a regular blender, but be careful as the soup will be hot.
  6. Taste the soup and add salt as needed. If desired, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to enhance the flavors.
  7. Serve the soup hot, garnished with chopped parsley.