Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Going Persian for Meatless Monday

Recently I've been trying to infuse our Meatless Mondays with ethnic dishes from all over the world. Last week we made falafel, a typical Middle Eastern dish based on chickpeas. This week we decided to go Persian, thanks to a suggestion from my Twitter friend, Leila J. @PersianLiving. Leila is of Iranian decent, living in the UK and writes a wonderful food blog called, of all things, Persian Living!

When I asked her to recommend a Meatless Monday dish that was truly Persian, she immediately told me to make adasi. The main ingredients are lentils and potatoes and her wonderful recipe can be found here. We were inspired by her recipe, but ended up going in a slightly different direction. Leila's recipe called for green lentils which tend require a longer cooking time and break down less. Since we had red lentils in the house we decided to use them, knowing they would break down during cooking more and create more of a stew like consistency.

Here's how it came together.


  • 1.5 cups of red lentils (soaked for 4-8 hours)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seed (best to be ground from seeds as needed for freshness)
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled, washed and cubed to 1/2 inch or smaller
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (can substitute lemon juice)
  •  In a large pot, heat cooking oil to medium heat and saute onion and two cloves crush garlic until golden brown.
  • Add pepper, turmeric, fenugreek, 1 tbsp Better than Bullion No Chicken and a big pinch of crushed red pepper and 4 cups of  hot water.
  • Bring to a boil
  • Add lentils, lower heat and simmer covered 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender and starting to fall apart.
  •  Add potatoes, tomato paste and remaining garlic (crushed). Continue simmering for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender, stirring regularly to prevent potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

  • The dish should be fairly thick when finished. If it becomes overly thick you can add up to 1/4 cup more water.
  • Add vinegar and cook for 5 minutes more. 
  • Remove from heat and serve.

We served ours with a simple salad of cucumber, yellow pepper, purple cabbage, radish, onion and tomato dressed with olive oil and sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and parsley.

This delicious and simple meal has sparked an interest in knowing more about Persian foods. I'll be spending more time reading the Persian Living Blog. Thanks Leila!



  1. very simple..almost like a 'daal' we make with red lentils, except we don't usually add potatoes!

  2. If you like the sound, you'll love the taste :)

  3. This sounds delicious - and I like the change from green to red lentils. I really love how red lentils can break down and form such a satisfying and comforting texture. And that salad - yum! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. You're welcome. We really loved this dish and will absolutely be going back to @PersianLiving for my ideas!

  4. I can say that this is really good and very satisfying.

  5. I can vouch that this dish is very satisfying and tastes great. I didn't even want dessert afterward which almost never happens.

    1. Wow, no dessert? It MUST have been good! Glad you enjoyed it so much.

  6. This does look like daal a little bit~ I am definitely going to give this one a try with the potatoes! I just love the recipes you both put out!

  7. I love iranian food. massively under rated and possibly the most sensuous cuisine in the world. I don't think i'm going to wait till monday for this one. Thanks for posting. great! sarah :-)


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