Lentil and silverbeet soup

Lentil and silverbeet soup (Adas bi hamod)

This rustic and fresh-tasting soup is from Lebanon. The main ingredients are common-or-garden green lentils and a big bunch of silverbeet, with the potato being optional. The soup is flavoured with lemon juice and you can add pomegranate molasses as well for a more complex tang. The soup is definitely better a day after making.

I like to add baharat or Lebanese seven spice mix at the end to enhance the taste, but you can leave it out or just add pinches of cinnamon, coriander, cumin and nutmeg instead.

Vegetable stock cubes and water are good enough to use in this soup. For extra flavour I like to include a stalk of celery and bay leaves to be removed later. A tomato is a good addition too.

At serving time add a little brightness and sparkle to the rather drab-coloured soup with chopped coriander and/or spring onions. You will feel this nutritious soup doing you a power of good as you eat it!

Photography by Jeffrey Chan

Serves 6


  • 1 kg bunch silverbeet
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (200g) green lentils
  • 2 medium potatoes (350g) cut into 1cm dice
  • 7-8 cups of water and 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp baharat (Lebanese seven spice mix), optional
  • 1 small bunch coriander and/or a few spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
  • pita bread, preferably wholemeal to serve


  1. Wash the silverbeet thoroughly in a couple of changes of water. Cut off the large stems and set aside to use for another dish. For this recipe you need about 500g of prepared silverbeet which can include the leaf spines and some of the smaller stems.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan with the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until soft. After five minutes, stir in the garlic, celery stalk and bay leaves. Pour in six cups of water and bring to the boil.
  3. Meanwhile pick over the lentils and rinse. Add them to the saucepan along with the potatoes and a grinding of pepper. Simmer, partly covered, for about 20 minutes until both the lentils and potatoes are tender. Add salt then and crumble in the stock cubes. Take out the celery stalks and bay leaves and discard.
  4. Cut the silverbeet stems and spines into slices and add them to the soup first; they will take longer to cook. Shred the green leaves and stir into the soup. Add extra water (boiling) as needed and cook altogether for a few minutes.
  5. Add the juice of one lemon to begin with and stir in the spices (if using). You can add the optional pomegranate molasses now too. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning and add more lemon juice if needed.
  6. Ladle hot soup into warm bowls and add a swirl of olive oil to each and a sprinkling of fresh coriander and/or spring onion. Serve with toasted pita bread. Offer lemon wedges for people to add a squeeze of juice if they wish.



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