Commemorating the first day of spring and the Persian new year, got a little easier with this recipe for Instant Pot Ash Reshteh, Persian Noodle Soup with Beans and Herbs.
Spring is around the corner and I am jumping for joy! I am not a fan of the dark winter months, but prefer the long sunny days. Although we haven’t been buried in snow in San Diego, we have had a wonderful winter filled with much needed rainy days. Our hills are green and wild flowers are starting to bloom.
Being Persian, I have another reason to love spring. The first day of spring marks the first day of the Persian new year, nowruz. It is a beautiful holiday steeped in traditions dating back 2000 years. And today’s recipe modernizes a very delicious soup we serve for nowruz by cooking it in a pressure cooker, or instant pot.
What is Ash Reshteh?
Unlike the west, the menu Persian families share for nowruz is pretty set. Herb rice (sabzi pollo) is prepared and served with fish. A very aromatic herb frittata (kookoo sabzi) is also served, along with this noodle soup, ash reshteh.
The staple starch in Persian cuisine is rice and bread. Noodles are not very common in traditional Persian recipes. But noodles are served for the Persian new year, as they represent long life. Reshteh, Persian noodles, can be baked in with rice for reshteh pollo, or they can be added to soup, for ash reshteh.
Persian soups, or ash, are not the watered down soups you commonly think of. They are thick soups, filled with all kinds of goodies. Ash Reshteh is made with three kinds of beans: kidney, garbanzo and navy beans. Lentils are also included in ash reshteh.
Like the other meals served on norouz, this Persian noodle soup is filled with herbs and greens to represent the green of spring: parsley, green onions and spinach. I like to use fresh herbs for ash reshteh, but many people do use dried. For spinach, I prefer to use frozen versus fresh because it has already been cleaned and chopped for me.
Nowruz lasts for two weeks in Iran, ending with a picnic outdoors to be celebrated with friends and family. Ash Reshteh is typically served for this picnic, sizdeh bidar. At these gatherings, it is common to see families sitting together on their persian rugs at the park, with a big pot of ash reshteh in the center, and everyone enjoying a bowl full.
Why prepare ash reshteh in the instant pot?
In the past, I usually make ash reshteh in a pot over the stove. I have already share this stove top ash reshteh recipe where I use canned beans instead of dried to make the cooking process go faster. But with the popularity of the instant pot, I decided it was time to update this beloved soup recipe.
The beauty of the instant pot is that you can cook your foods faster because of the pressure cooker. And because it is a pressure cooker, you can prepare ash reshteh with dry beans, avoiding the preservatives and salt usually added to the canned varieties. Dried beans have a longer shelf life and are also cheaper than the canned varieties, making them very budget friendly.
Once the soup is prepared with the beans and vegetables, it is time to add the noodles. I do cook the noodles during the pressure cooking stage as this would overcook the noodles and turning them to mush. I reduce the pressure cooking time to 30 minutes and then add the reshteh to cook for an additional 20 minutes.
Reshteh noodles are a little thicker than linguine and require a bit more cooking time. So if you are using regular linguine, reduce the noodle cooking time to 10 minutes.
How to quick soak dry beans in the instant pot
I have made this recipe by pre-soaking the beans in water as well as quick soaking them in the instant pot. Both methods work well. But if you are anything like me, absent minded and super distracted, remembering to presoak the beans for 12 hours before cooking them can be ridiculously difficult!
The instant pot comes to my rescue! Quick soaking the dry beans in the instant pot cuts the soaking time from 12 hours to 25 minutes. What a time saver, am I right? But, if you find that your digestive system is sensitive to beans, I believe the longer method is a better choice.
For the beans used in this recipe, quick soaking in the instant pot requires only 6 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. You want the water to cover the beans by 1-inch. Seal your instant pot and set it to manual pressure for 5 minutes.
Let your pot naturally release pressure, which takes about 20 minutes. Once done, the beans are ready to be cooked. Drain and discard the water and set the beans aside to be used whenever you are ready to cook your ash reshteh.
What to serve with instant pot ash reshteh
Ash reshteh is a delicious soup on its own, without any garnishes. But it is traditionally served with some extras, requiring a little extra work. Onions are sliced and fried until dark and caramelized. Dried mint is sautéed in olive oil until aromatic and dark green. Saffron is also crushed and steeped in hot water.
Once ready to serve, kashk is swirled into the soup. Kashk is basically fermented yogurt with much of the liquid evaporated off. You can make kashk at home, buy kashk on amazon or at a middle eastern market, or substitute it with sour cream or creme fraiche.
My husband and his family prefer their ash reshteh with red wine vinegar instead of kashk, and they use that to sour the soup instead. This is a great option if you do not eat dairy or are vegan. Whichever sour vessel you prefer, ash reshteh is then garnished with the caramelized onions, fried mint and drizzles of saffron water (I sell high quality Persian saffron here).
So much flavor bursting in a simple bowl of bean and noodle soup, served every spring to commemorate a holiday celebrated for over 2000 years. Ok, simple is overstating the flavor, but cooking it is super simple. Thank you instant pot.
More Persian Instant Pot Recipes
I created two classic Persian stews in the instant pot, if you’re interested. Click here for my Instant Pot Khoresh Gheymeh (Persian Split Pea Stew) recipe and click here for my Instant Pot Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew with Beef).
- 4.5 oz dried kidney beans
- 4.5 oz dried navy beans (or Great Northern Beans)
- 4.5 oz dried garbanzo beans
- 4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tsp dried turmeric
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1.75 ounces chopped parsley
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach (or 2 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach)
- 1/2 cup dried lentils
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 4 oz Persian reshteh noodles (or dried linguini)
- Rinse beans and drain. Transfer beans into instant pot.
- Add 2 tsp kosher salt and enough water to cover beans by 1-inch, about 6 cups of water.
- Close lid and seal. Set instant pot to manual (or pressure cook on newer models) set to high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow for 20 minutes natural pressure release.
- When done, drain beans and discard water. Reserve beans.
- Heat instant pot to sauté on high and add 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add chopped onions. Sauté onions until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in turmeric and 2 tsp salt and continue cooking onions for 2 more minutes.
- Stir in garlic and green onions.
- Stir in chopped parsley and spinach and sauté for 3 more minutes.
- Stir in reserved beans and dry lentils.
- Stir in vegetable stock.
- Close lid and seal. Set instant pot to soup with high pressure and cook for 30 minutes. Allow for 20 minutes natural pressure release.
- Remove lid and set instant pot to sauté on high. Stir in reshteh noodles (or linguine) and cook for 5 minutes.
- Close lid and seal. Set instant pot to warm and cook until noodles are done. Reshteh noodles are thicker than traditional linguine and takes about 15-20 minutes to cook this way. Italian linguine should take 10 minutes until done.
- Serve ash reshteh with caramelized onions, dried mint fried in olive oil, saffron steeped in water and kashk (or sour cream). Instead of kashk/sour cream you can use red wine vinegar. Click here for more details about the garnishes.
Instead of quick soaking beans in the instant pot, you can also soak the dry beans overnight in water.
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Serving Size:2 cups
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 273 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1545mg Carbohydrates: 42g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 5g Protein: 15g