Recipe: Chickpea and noodle soup with Persian herbs

Recipe: Chickpea and noodle soup with Persian herbs
Chickpea and noodle soup with spinach, Persian herbs and kashk topping (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Chickpea and noodle soup with Persian herbs

Total time:


3 1/2 hours




Kashk, a flavorful Persian yogurt-like dairy product, is widely available at Middle Eastern markets and can be substituted with labneh (strained yogurt).

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound onions (1 very large or 2 medium), chopped (about 3½ cups)

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

2/3 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), sorted and rinsed (about 4 ounces)

2 cups vegetable broth

8 cups water, divided

1/3 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 ounces linguine, whole wheat or white, broken in 3-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)

1/3 cup chopped dill

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/3 cup chopped green onions

1 (6-ounce) bunch spinach, large stems removed, leaves immersed in water and rinsed several times (about 5 cups leaves), chopped

1 teaspoon dried mint

Kashk, for serving

1. Heat the oil

in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, or until it is soft and deep golden brown, about 25 minutes; as the onion starts to brown, reduce the heat and stir more often. Add the garlic and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, for 1 minute. Transfer about one-third of the mixture (about 1/3 cup) to a small bowl; reserve it for garnish.

2. Add the chickpeas,

broth and 2 cups water to the saucepan. Stir well to blend in the onion mixture and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 1½ hours. Add the lentils, turmeric, salt, pepper and 2 cups water. Return to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chickpeas and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. At this point you can refrigerate the soup.

3. Boil 4 cups water

in another medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and the linguine. Cook uncovered over high heat until just tender, checking about 2 minutes before the time on the package instructions. Drain the linguine, reserving the cooking liquid. You should have a scant 2 cups cooked pasta.

4. Meanwhile,

mix 2 teaspoons each of the dill, cilantro and green onion; reserve as garnish.

5. Mix the remaining dill,

cilantro and green onion and divide in two parts. Divide the spinach in two parts.

6. Reheat the soup

to a simmer. Add one part of the spinach and one part of the herb mixture. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add one-half cup of the pasta cooking liquid and cook until the spinach is very tender and the soup takes on a spinach flavor, about 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid and return to a boil.

7. Just before serving,

bring the soup to a simmer. Stir in the remaining spinach and add the cooked pasta. Cook uncovered until the spinach just wilts, about 1 minute, adding more pasta liquid by tablespoons if the soup is too thick. Stir in the second part of the herb mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning.


. Reheat the onion and garlic

mixture reserved for garnish in a very small skillet over medium heat until sizzling. Add the dried mint, stir and remove from the heat.

9. Ladle the soup

into a tureen or into bowls. Garnish each serving with a spoonful of kashk and with the onion-garlic mixture and the reserved herbs and green onion. Serve hot.

Each serving:

430 calories; 17 grams protein; 66 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 272 mg sodium.