Egyptian-style Shorbaat Aads (Winter Lentil Soup)

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  6 servings (about 3 quarts total)
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  50 minutes

Egyptian-style Shorbaat Aads (Winter Lentil Soup)

Red lentil soup is a common dish in Egypt and it is easy to make at home. I make a dairy-free, vegan version with a fun tahini sauce. You can easily exchange the tahini for yogurt with plenty of fresh lemon juice and zest. This is real comfort food. Once you taste it, you’ll know why.


Lentil Soup:

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

¼ cup tomato paste

1 red bell pepper, stems, seeds, and ribs removed, chopped

6 carrots, peeled and grated

3 cloves garlic, peeled, halved, and chopped, any green centers discarded

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground coriander

6 cups Roasted Vegetable Stock or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth

12 fresh sprigs thyme

1½ cups orange or red lentils


Optional Lemon-Tahini Sauce:

1 cup tahini (sesame seed) paste

¼ cup Roasted Vegetable Stock, or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth, or water

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

1 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy saucepan set over high heat, until it shimmers. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions are soft, translucent, and the edges have just begun to brown.
  2. Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the onions, and and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the paste is lightly browned.
  3. Add the red pepper, carrots, and garlic and stir well. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, and coriander and stir well to combine. Add the stock, stirring well again. Add the thyme, stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the lentils, stir, cover, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are soft but haven’t broken apart.
  4. While the soup is cooking, if you wish, make the Lemon-Tahini Sauce: combine the tahini, vegetable stock or hot water, lemon juice, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or strong blender. Mix until smooth.
  5. When the soup is ready, swirl 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sauce into the soup per serving, if desired.

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