Adas Polo with Tofu

Our previously posted vegan Adas Polo recipe used plant-based meat alternatives, but I love this healthier version with seasoned, baked tofu crumbles. Adas Polo is an Iranian rice recipe with brown lentils, and it is traditionally served with meat.

Tofu is a nutritious, healthy, whole food that is high in protein. Tofu will take on the flavors of how it is seasoned or marinated, and it can be absolutely delicious. I never thought I would enjoy tofu so much, but it really has become a staple in all my cooking from Iranian food to Mexican food.

For anyone concerned about consuming soy and “phytoestrogen,” you can also read my blog post on soy as I discuss its health benefits and the bad rap it is given

This recipe calls for extra-firm tofu, which is pressed, crumbled, seasoned, baked, and added to the fried onion and lentil mixture that is layered into the Persian Basmati rice. The tofu seasoning is absolutely flavorful, using a broad range of spices from curry powder to cinnamon.

This is one of our favorite recipes, and we hope you enjoy it as well.

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” Charles Darwin

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Vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, Adas Polo, Lentil, Rice, Iranian, Persian

Adas Polo with Tofu

  • Author: Plant-Based Persian
  • Total Time: 32 minute
  • Yield: 45 people 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


A plant-based Persian lentil, tofu, and rice dish


Units Scale

Tofu Crumbles

  • 15 oz package extra-firm tofu (pressed for 20 minutes to remove excess liquid)
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. oil

Lentil Mixture

  • 1 cup brown lentils (soaked for 2-3 hours in warm water – soaking the lentils allows for faster cooking time)
  • 1.5 Tbsp oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion julienned
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. brewed saffron

Basmati Rice

  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Russet potato, peeled, washed, and sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 Tbsp. brewed saffron
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric


Make Tofu Crumbles:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Press the tofu for 20 minutes to remove excess liquid.
  3. Combine the spices, salt, pepper and oil for the tofu crumble seasoning
  4. Add the tofu and smash with fork to create crumbles
  5. Add to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes – stirring halfway through cooking time.

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). Drain and 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 the spices, salt, and brewed saffron for the lentil mixture and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked lentils and baked tofu crumbles. 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. brewed saffron, and 1/4 tsp. turmeric to the bottom of a large 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!
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 1.5 hours
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Iranian/Persian

Keywords: Adas Polo, Iranian, Persian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Plant-Based, Tofu