Celebrate spring and Nowruz, the Persian new year, with this traditional Persian noodle, Ash Reshteh, a vegetarian soup made with beans, lentils and herbs.
Among the many traditions we have for Nowruz, Persian New Year, we have the traditional meal, too. Just like Thanksgiving finds millions of American’s eating Turkey and the fixings, we Iranians eat our Herb Rice with Fish (Sabzi Pollo ba Mahi), this Persian Noodle Soup (Ash Reshteh), and Kookoo-yeh Sabzi (an herb quiche).
I’ve already shared my family’s recipe for the Sabzi Pollo, and our trail mix (ajeel) for Chahr-Chambe Souri. So, today is dedicated to my favorite Persian soup, Ash Reshteh.
Why this recipe is so great
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. Most translations say it is a flat egg noodle, but my mother-in-law insists that Reshteh is not made with egg.
Now Persian soups, ash, are not thin and runny or watery. They are thick, hearty soups full of delicious goodness. Maybe that’s why I like this soup so much? It is so full of deliciousness that you honestly can make it any time of the year, and not just in the spring.
This soup is full of herbs, vegetables and protein and makes a satisfying meal by itself. Leftovers are served for lunch.
The recipe below shows you how to make ash reshteh traditionally, in a pot over the stove. I have recently updated this recipe and you can create it in the pressure cooker. Check out my recipe for instant pot ash reshteh.
Ingredients you need
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- Oil: To sauté vegetables you can use vegetable, canola or extra virgin olive oil.
- Onions: The base of most recipes starts with a simple brown onion. You can also use white or yellow onions.
- Vegetable stock: This is a vegetarian soup so vegetable broth or stock is preferred. Some people use beef stock.
- Beans: This soup is filled with all kinds of beans. The variety can vary depending on who is making it, but I use lentils, kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans
- Fresh greens: Like the beans, the variety of greens can vary depending on who is preparing the dish. I use parsley, green onions, spinach. I personally add spinach to make it healthy. I prefer fresh, but you can use frozen spinach. I also prefer fresh herbs, but some people prefer dried.
- Spices: turmeric, salt, pepper
- Reshteh noodles: The traditional Persian reshteh noodles can be found in middle eastern grocery stores or online. If you cannot find it, use linguini instead.
- Garnish ingredients: garlic, dried mint, kashk/sour cream, ground saffron dissolved in hot water. Instead of kashk you can add sour by using red wine vinegar.
1. Heat a large stock pot on medium and ad oil. When oil is hot, add chopped onions. Season onions with salt, turmeric and pepper.
2. When onions start to soften approximately 5-7 minutes, add parsley, green onions and spinach. Cook vegetable for 5 more minutes then add vegetable stock, water and lentils.
3. Bring to a boil, then cover pot and simmer for 40 minutes. In the meantime, to reduce the gas in the beans strain the canned beans and then soak in water.
4. Discard water and add beans to the soup. Stir in linguine. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
5. In the meantime, prepare the garnish by heating a small frying pan over medium-high heat. To prepare the onions, sauté over medium-low heat until dark and caramelized. This can take up to 30 minutes. Stir garlic in with the onions. Cook for 2 minutes and remove pan from heat.
6. In a small pan, heat up oil and stir in dried mint. Cook until almost black then immediately remove from heat.
7. Prior to serving soup, whisk soup broth with kashk or sour cream. Stir mixture back into the soup pot. To make this vegan, you can add sour by using red wine vinegar.
8. Garnish soup with onions, mint oil, kashk and/or saffron liquid.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Like the other meals served on norouz, this Persian noodle soup is filled with herbs and greens to represent the green of spring. The reshteh noodles are not broken up in this soup, but left long. It can be a hassle to eat them this way, but the long noodles represent a long life.
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. Here are some of the garnishings that are typical with this soup. Typically, more than one type of garnish is used:
- 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.
- Kashk is swirled into the soup or dollaped to make a design. 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.
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- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- ¾ cup chopped green onions
- 2 ½ cup chopped fresh spinach
- 5 cup vegetable stock
- 6 cup water
- ½ cup dried lentils
- 15 oz canned kidney beans, drained of liquid
- 15 oz canned navy beans, drained of liquid
- 15 oz canned garbanzo beans, drained of liquid
- 4 oz dried reshteh or linguini
- 1 onion, sliced thinly (for garnish)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried mint
- ¾ cup kashk or sour cream
- ¼ tsp ground saffron, dissolved in 1 TBS hot water
- Heat a large stock pot on medium and add 2 TBS oil.
- When oil is hot, add chopped onions.
- Season onions with salt, turmeric and pepper.
- When onions start to soften approximately 5-7 minutes, add parsley, green onions and spinach.
- Cook vegetable for 5 more minutes then add vegetable stock, water and lentils.
- Bring to a boil, then cover pot and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add in canned beans.
- Stir in linguine.
- Cover pot, reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
- In the meantime, prepare the garnish by heating a small frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add 1 TBS oil to the hot pan then sliced onions.
- Cook until onions start to brown and caramelize, reducing heat to medium-low to prevent burning. This can take up to 30 minutes.
- Stir garlic in with the onions.
- Cook for 2 minutes and remove pan from heat.
- Stir in dried mint.
- Prior to serving soup, whisk ¼ cup of soup broth with ½ cup kashk or sour cream.
- Stir mixture back into the soup pot.
- Garnish soup with mint mixture and/or ¼ cup kashk/sour cream and saffron liquid.
Serving Suggestions: This is soup is traditionally made with a special egg noodle that resembles Italian linguine. As "reshteh" is only found in Middle-Eastern stores (pictured above), linguine is substituted in this recipe.
Cooking Tips: ½ cup of kashk can substituted with ½ cup of sour cream or ¼ cup red wine vinegar. To reduce the amount of gas produced by canned beans, you can also soak the canned beans in water for 1-2 hours prior to cooking.
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 1281mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 15gSugar: 8gProtein: 16g
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