Ash Reshteh (Persian Beans, Greens and Noodle Soup)

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 8
A grey bowl filled with soup with noodles, greens, chickpeas and more
Ash reshteh.
(Shelby Moore / For The Times)
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Ash reshteh, named for the square-edged, linguini-like noodle called reshteh, is one of those soups that seems to have as many variations as home cooks who make it. Some recipes call for only chickpeas, others for chickpeas and one to three other kinds of beans. Some recipes say to stir in a whole bottle of kashk (a fermented whey sauce) before serving, while others use kashk as a garnish and still others omit it in favor of yogurt, kefir or a vegan cashew cheese sauce. Variations include or exclude garlic, dill and mint. One recipe asks for a bunch of spinach, another a pound, a third for 2 pounds. It’s a you-can’t-make-a-mistake kind of soup. The make-it-even-if-you-can’t-find-one-ingredient kind of soup. A generous soup.

Note that this hearty vegetarian soup can be made vegan by garnishing with a nondairy yogurt in place of the kashk (which is sold in many Middle Eastern markets).

From the story: The ‘soup for dinner’ life: It’s easy, delicious. A never-boring way to slim down


Heat oil and begin cooking onions over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until nicely browned and caramelized, about 45 minutes.


While onions brown, wash and roughly chop the spinach or other greens, mint, cilantro, parsley and green onions. Place in a pot with turmeric and Aleppo pepper. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Add lentils, lower heat and simmer until lentils are done, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.


When lentils are cooked, add the kidney beans, navy beans and chickpeas to the greens and lentil pot. Add a big spoonful of the caramelized onions. Break noodles in two and add to pot. Cook until noodles are done, about 10 minutes. Taste and correct for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.


To make mint oil, fry dried mint in olive oil until fragrant, about 1 minute.


Serve soup in individual bowls, each garnished with 1 tablespoon kashk plus a generous spoonful of caramelized onions and a drizzle of mint oil. Put kashk and mint oil on table so guests can add more to taste.