Adas Polo (Persian Rice with Lentils)

Lentils are a legume and a nutritional powerhouse. They are an excellent source of iron and protein. Lentils were traditionally called the “poor man’s meat.” I like to think of it as the “more mindful meat alternative.” Thankfully, my kids enjoy lentils, and we eat it often; yellow lentils, green lentils, brown lentils.

This Persian lentil and rice dish is traditionally made with meat, but my mom’s plant-based Adas Polo has so much flavor you won’t miss the meat. You can also add raisins to add a sweet flavor to the dish. My kids prefer this dish without the raisin, but this recipe includes the option to add raisins, if desired.

Let us know if you make this recipe, and follow us on Instagram @plant_basedpersian!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of Basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils (soaked in warm water for 2-3 hrs)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion julienned
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt for lentil mixture & 1 Tbsp. salt for Basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp. brewed saffron
  • 12 oz package plant-based ground beef (optional)
    • We like Trader Joe’s Beefless Ground Beef
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
  • Potato Tahdig
    • 1 medium Russet potato washed, peeled and cut into 4-5 slices
    • 1 Tbsp. oil
    • 1 Tbsp. water
    • 1/4 tsp. turmeric

Directions

Make Lentil Mixture:

  1. In a medium pot, add 3 cups of water and the lentils and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until tender (do not over cook). Set it aside.
  2. Add 1.5 Tbsp. oil to a large pan on medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add all the spices, salt, and brewed saffron and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the plant-based ground beef (if using) and sauté a few minutes. Add the cooked lentils and raisins (if using). Combine well, and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.

Make Basmati Rice: 

  1. Wash the rice. To wash the rice, place the rice in a large bowl and cover with water. Move the rice with your hand to loosen particles. Pour off the water. Repeat the process 3-4 times until the rice is clean.
  2. Fill a large pot with water (3/4 full), add 1 Tbsp. salt, cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Add rice to boiling water, and cook on medium heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the rice.

Combine Basmati Rice and the Lentil Mixture:

  1. Add 1 Tbsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. water, and 1/4 tsp. turmeric to the bottom of a Persian rice cooker or a non-stick pot (with a lid). 
  2. Place potato slices at the bottom of the rice cooker or pot. 
  3. Add a layer of Basmati rice to the bottom of the rice cooker or pot (cover the potatoes completely). Then add a layer of the Lentil Mixture. Repeat the layering until all the Basmati rice and the Lentil Mixture are used (make sure to end with Basmati rice as the top layer)
  4. Cover and cook for 50-60 minutes in the rice cooker. (If cooking in a non-stick pot, cook for 50-60 minutes on medium/low heat).
  5. Before serving, mix the Basmati rice and the Lentil Mixture in the pot until well blended.
  6. Noosh-e-jan! Enjoy!

SERVES 4-5 people