Healthy Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice Recipe

Adas Polo is a traditional healthy Persian side dish featuring rice, lentils, dried fruit and Middle Eastern spices.

The reason we love Adas Polo is that it’s an easy Iranian recipe that offers a lot of flexibility for home cooks. While rice and lentils are obviously a must, you can adjust the dried fruits (raisins, dates, craisins and figs are favourites) based on whatever is available in your cupboards or your personal preference.

Authentic Persian Lentil Rice is gluten free and can be made vegetarian if you substitue chicken stock for vegetable broth. You can cook vegan Adas Polo if you use vegetable oil instead of butter.

Our quick & easy Persian Lentil Rice recipe features flavourful ingredients like brown lentils, basmati rice, chicken stock, butter, onion, Medjool dates, raisins, cinnamon, saffron and cumin.

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Save our healthy homemade Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice recipe to Pinterest!
Save our healthy homemade Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice recipe to Pinterest!

What Is Adas Polo?

Adas Polo is a traditional side dish popular in the family kitchens of Iran.

Also known as Persian Lentil Rice, the healthy recipe is a pilaf featuring fragrant rice, tender lentils, dried fruit and Middle Eastern spices.

Our Adas Polo recipe is flavoured with creamy butter and comforting chicken broth. Cinnamon, saffron and cumin enrich the dish while raisins and dried dates add a chewy and subtle sweetness.

Our recipe is meat-free but many Iranian families serve the dish with roast chicken, stewed lamb or goat or minced beef.

It makes for the perfect lunch all on its own, or as a popular side dish to accompany a celebratory Persian feast.

Traditional Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice recipe ingredients.
Traditional Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice recipe ingredients.

Travel to the Middle East by Cooking Adas Polo at Home

I love traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.

As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.

For over a decade, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Adas Polo recipe via adventures that had me exploring MoroccoTurkeyEgyptJordanIsrael and Dubai. You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East include a fragrant bowl of Persian Lentil Rice.

I ate vegetarian Adas Polo at a traditional Moroccan riad, as a light brunch dish in Istanbul and Bodrum, accompanied by mint tea on a Nile Cruise and in bustling market in Cairo, healthy snack in Amman, mid-afternoon bite at bustling markets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and at a massive Middle Eastern barbecue in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.

Adas Polo is flavoured with onion, dried fruit, saffron, cinnamon and cumin.
Adas Polo is flavoured with onion, dried fruit, saffron, cinnamon and cumin.

Where To Eat Healthy Adas Polo

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Middle Eastern or Persian restaurant that serves authentic Adas Polo.

Haven’t traveled to the Middle East or Iran before? It may be helpful to first sample Persian Lentil Rice at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You’ll get a better idea of what spices to use, prefered dried fruit and and meat options to serve on top of the pilaf.

In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern restaurants that may serve a healthy Persian Lentil Rice recipe include Ali Baba’sParallelByblosTabuleFat PashaMaha’sMasrawy KitchenParamount Fine FoodsBanu and Darvish.

Cook raisins and dates until softened in a nonstick skillet.
Cook raisins and dates until softened in a nonstick skillet.

Persian Lentil Rice Health Benefits

Our homemadeAdas Polo recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Nearly 50% of the people in the world get over 50% of their daily calories from rice. If eating brown rice featuring nutritious bran you’ll enjoy health benefits like cancer risk reduction and diabetes control.

All types of lentils are rich in cholesterol-lowering fibre. They are also a low-fat source of iron, vital for the cardiovascular system and for energy, and contain B vitamins that protect against heart disease.  

Raisins contain healthy vitamins and minerals. They are also fat-free and cholesterol-free, high in antioxidants, and an excellent source of fibre.

Rich in energy-boosting manganese, cinnamon is also antibacterial and may protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease.  

A rich source of blood-building iron, cumin may also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also traditionally used as a digestive aid.

Adas Polo is a Persian dish featuring rice, lentils and a spiced onion and dried fruit mixture.
Adas Polo is a Persian dish featuring rice, lentils and a spiced onion and dried fruit mixture.

Adas Polo Recipe Cooking Tips

This healthy Persian Lentil Rice is quick and easy to make at home.

  • Use a large nonstick skillet to cook the onion-dried fruit-spice mixture and a Dutch Oven to prepare the pilaf.
  • You can use dried brown or green lentils when making homemade Adas Polo.
  • We’ve used white basmati rice in this recipe but you can use any long grain rice.
  • We’ve used chicken stock but you could use a vegetable or mushroom broth for a vegan or vegetarian-friendly recipe rendition.
  • Melted butter adds a decadence to the dish but you can substitute for vegetable oil to make it vegan.
  • We’ve used Spanish cooking onions but you can substitute for red onions, white onions or shallots.
  • Get creative by using a mixture of your favourite dried fruits like raisins, dates, figs, craisins and dried apricots.
Scoop Persian Lentil Rice into a large serving bowl as a side dish at a Middle Eastern feast.
Scoop Persian Lentil Rice into a large serving bowl as a side dish at a Middle Eastern feast.

What To Serve with Adas Polo

We know your family and friends will love this easy homemade Adas Polo recipe!

You can serve Persian Lentil Rice as a meal all on its own. We particularly enjoy serving it as a quick and easy lunch with a fresh salad.

Many Iranian families use passed down Adas Polo recipes that are topped with plenty of protein like roast chicken, stewed goat or lamb and minced beef. Adding meat to the pilaf makes it a well rounded meal.

Hosting a large Middle Eastern-themed dinner party? We suggest serving Persian Lentil Rice as part of a buffet alongside Kookoo Sabzi, Marinated Persian Olives, Adas Bil HamodRoasted Vegetable CouscousShish Barak, Moghrabieh Lebanese Chickpea Chicken Couscous, Mutabbal Vegan Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip, Vegetarian Middle Eastern Spiced Pea Fritters, Chicken Shawarma, Chicken Musakhan, Mihlama Kuymak Turkish Melted Cheese and Cornmeal, Lebanese Toum Kebab Shop Garlic Sauce and Za’atar Butter Bean Dip.

After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Sweet Lebanese Sesame Tahini Rolls, Mahalabia Middle Eastern Rose Pistachio Milk PuddingOat Flour Cookies with Chocolate ChipsDark Chocolate Lindt Lindor CookiesMaraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka.

Serve Adas Polo topped with spiced dried fruit and whole dates.
ServeAdas Polo topped with spiced dried fruit and whole dates.

You May Also Enjoy These Rice Recipes…

We love serving Adas Polo with Persian Kabab or fried fish.
We love servingAdas Polo with Persian Kabab or fried fish.
Now you're an expert on how to make authentic Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice!
Now you’re an expert on how to make authentic Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice!

How To Make Authentic Persian Lentil Rice Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice

How to make traditional Adas Polo. Our easy healthy homemade Persian Lentil Rice recipe features Middle Eastern spices and dried fruit.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: Adas Polo, Persian Lentil Rice
Servings: 6
Calories: 518kcal

Equipment

  • French knife
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Dutch Oven
  • Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Green or Brown Lentils
  • 3 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups White Basmati Rice
  • 3.5 cups Chicken Stock
  • 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Spanish Onion diced
  • 6 Medjool Dates pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup Raisins
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Saffron steeped in 3 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin

Instructions

  • Place the lentils in a medium saucepan. Cover with 1 3/4 cups water and add 1 tsp of salt. Partially cover and bring to boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until all the water has evaporated and the lentils are softened but not completed cooked through, 20 minutes al dente. Drain cooked lentils and set aside.
  • Place the rice, stock and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and stir well. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low, cooking just until the stock has been absorbed, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the dried fruit mixture in a skillet. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add the dates, raisins, cinnamon, saffron water and sprinkle of salt. Stir and cook until the dried fruit has softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover so it doesn't dry out. Reserve 1-2 tablespoons to use as a topping when serving.
  • Once the rice has absorbed all the water, sprinkle in the cumin and gently mix. Fold in the lentils and dried fruit mixture.
  • Gently fluff with a fork then scatter some of the reserved dried fruit mixture on top. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 96.5g | Protein: 14.4g | Fat: 9.1g | Saturated Fat: 5.1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1673mg | Potassium: 664mg | Fiber: 12.7g | Sugar: 21.5g | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 6mg

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