Ash Reshteh is a classic Persian noodle soup with beans and herbs that is intensely aromatic, amazingly delicious, nutrient rich and a wholesome meal by itself. A one pot wonder that will become your go to recipe for a nourishing and tasty meal.
What is Ash Reshteh?
This heart healthy soup traditionally known as Ash Reshteh or Ash-e Reshteh, is perhaps the most popular Persian soup. It is appreciated at festive times such as the Persian new year, but it is also served around the year.
Persian noodle soup is similar to the Italian minestrone, but the base is made up of well cooked herbs and greens rather than tomatoes. It is a sophisticated recipe that ingeniously uses a long list of ingredients, creating a captivating taste that will have you coming back for more.
Here I am sharing with you a complete traditional recipe with ideas for shortcuts as well. But don’t let the number of ingredients deter you from trying this much favored soup. You have a complete meal with this soup, like Haleem - another classic savory one pot dish.
Why You Should Make this Soup
You must try this soup not just for its spectacular taste, but also for the fabulous nutrition potential. It has the beans, the herbs, the greens, the grains – all steeped in spices and cooked together into an aromatic creamy soup.
It might take you some time to gather the ingredients together. But that will be well worth the effort. And in the cooler months of the year, this healthy and invigoratingly tasty soup should be in your repertoire of recipes. One tip – it tastes even better the next day!
How to Make It
- Thinly slice onions, preferably using a mandolin slicer.
- In a large cooking pot, sauté onions with garlic for about 20 to 25 minutes until caramelized. Stir in turmeric. Stir dried mint into one third of the onion mixture while still hot and save it for garnish.
- Then add the beans (chickpeas, kidney and navy), spices, water or stock and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer half hour. Then add lentils and cook 15 minutes.
- Next, add all the herbs and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust consistency of the soup as needed.
- Combine few tablespoons of soup with little bit of flour and stir it back into the simmering soup. Add reshteh or linguini noodles and cook until they are done. Stir lemon juice as per taste.
- Mix some kashk or sour cream and the onion-turmeric-mint-oil topping into the soup, saving the rest for garnish. Serve ash reshteh with dollops of kashk or sour cream and onion-turmeric-mint-oil mixture.
Kashk or Sour Cream Topping
It is traditional to use Kashk to top this Persian noodle soup. Kashk is a fermented yogurt product, that is off white in color, thick and of pouring consistency. It is more sour than yogurt or sour cream and has a fermented cheese like flavor.
Kashk is available in a dry form and can be reconstituted, or you can purchase the liquid form. These products are available at Persian or middle eastern grocery stores and online.
Some non Persian people do not like the taste of kashk, and prefer to use sour cream or creme fraiche on top of ash-e reshteh. I personally love a thick swirl of good quality kashk to complement this aromatic, creamy and thick soup with al dente noodles. It adds a depth of flavor like parmesan cheese topping does to Italian dishes.
Substitutes are made using a combination of rich tart yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche with parmesan and/or feta.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- For authentic and best taste, use fresh or frozen herbs and dried beans to cook from scratch. However, you can still enjoy an amazing soup using dried herbs and/or canned beans.
- Cook the soup in a slow cooker for a perfectly thick and creamy consistency. Cooking the beans for a long time makes them disintegrate into a smooth soup that should be like a thick porridge or chili in consistency.
- Make sure to slice the onions real thin and take time to caramelize. You could use a mandolin slicer for slicing.
- Frozen fenugreek leaves can be found in Indian and Middle Eastern stores.
- Reshteh (Persian noodles) can be found in middle eastern stores or online. You can substitute with linguini noodles. But I think Persian reshteh tend to hold their shape much better.
- Traditionally a thick fermented dairy product known as kashk is used for topping ash-e reshteh. But sour cream or crème fraiche is an alternative.
- Water works fine for this soup. But you could use lamb, beef or vegetable stock.
Storage and Leftovers: This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days. You may also freeze the leftovers.
Freezer Friendly: You can freeze the soup in freezer safe containers, preferably in smaller containers. Thaw and reheat, adding water to adjust the consistency. Serve with the toppings.
Make Ahead: You can soak and cook the beans and freeze them ahead. Chop and freeze the green and herbs. Onions can be sliced a day ahead.
How to Make It with Canned Beans
Cook the onions, lentils and herbs until nice and soft following the recipe steps below. Add the canned beans about 15 minutes before adding the noodles.
How to Make it with Dried Herbs
Use about one fourth in volume of fresh herbs. So, for this recipe use about 1¾ cups of dried herbs. You may soak the dried herbs in water for 20 minutes and discard the water before adding herbs to the soup.
One Pot Healthy Soup
- The amazing nutrition potential of this soup lies in the variety of beans and herbs The noodles complement the beans perfectly, thereby resulting in a complete protein.
- Beans are an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins and several minerals.
- The slow digesting carbohydrates and high fiber content of beans help prevent a rapid rise of blood sugar, and therefore are good for people with diabetes and insulin resistance.
- Beans are also a good source of the cholesterol lowering soluble fiber. And the insoluble fiber present in beans helps with stool bulk, prevention of constipation and certain digestive disorders such as – Irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis.
- Moreover, beans are considered to be very heart healthy due to the high fiber and mineral content. Several research studies have demonstrated the potential of legumes (beans, lentils) in lowering the risk of heart disease.
- The herbs and greens further enhance the rich vitamin, mineral and phytochemical profile of this wonderful Persian noodle soup.
- VEGAN: Do not use any meat stock. Skip the kashk or sour cream. You could use vinegar or any suitable vegan replacement for sour cream.
- DAIRY FREE: Avoid kashk or sour cream. Use vinegar, lemon juice or a dairy free sour cream replacement.
- GLUTEN FREE: Skip the flour or use corn starch and use gluten free linguini noodles instead of reshteh.
- LOWER CARB: Lower the amount of legumes used.
More Soup Recipes:
- Chickpea Barley Yogurt Soup
- Creamy Barley Soup
- Red Lentil Soup
- Creamy Mustard Greens and Spinach Soup
- Leeks and Avocado Soup
More Persian Recipes:
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Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Dip)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Prick the eggplants with a fork in couple spots and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin turns darker and shrinks. Check foot notes for grilling, broiling or stove top options.
- The eggplants should be cooked through completely in the center. To check, press the back of a fork on the eggplant. It should compress easily all the way into the center without any resistance.
- Cut through the eggplant skin and scoop out the soft cooked flesh and mash it with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding some seeds if you wish. See note below for peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan at medium setting. Add the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, ⅓ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring in between, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mashed eggplants and cilantro. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, mashing it if needed, into a thick but slightly textured dip like consistency.
- Stir in lemon juice and salt. Adjust as per taste, let it cool and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Take the zaalouk from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it come to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you prefer.
- Chunky Zaalouk: To make a chunkier but less traditional zaalouk, insert garlic cloves into eggplant and roast it in the oven at 400˚F, along with the tomatoes. Chop the eggplants and tomatoes. Add the spices, herbs, half the olive oil, salt and mash it up to desired consistency. Drizzle olive oil and serve.
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast eggplants on charcoal or gas grill for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them slowly in between, until skin turns darker and shrinks.
- Broil: Cut eggplants lengthwise into halves and place the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on the second rack and broil until skin turns darker and shrinks, about 20 minutes.
- Stovetop: Peel the eggplants completely, only some stripes or leave the skin on if you don’t mind it. Cut the eggplants into small pieces. Steam on high heat until soft or cook in a pan with some water until soft and mushy.
- Easy Zaalouk: Combine all ingredients with ⅓ cup of water and cook it over stove top until softened. Mash it up well and drizzle olive oil.
- Peeled and deseeded tomatoes: If you prefer, you can blanch the tomatoes. Cut a small cross on the surface of tomatoes and dump them in hot boiling water. After a minute, pick out the tomatoes and peel the skin, cut them into halves and deseed. Chop them into small pieces.
- Use more tomatoes if you want the dip to be saucy. You may even try using a little bit of tomato paste to give it thickness.
- Leftovers: Can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze zaalouk for couple months. Thaw and reheat. Adjust the consistency, evaporating or adding water as needed. Check the seasoning as well.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For other variations, tips and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
Ash Reshteh (Persian Noodle Soup Recipe)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions yellow or Vidalia, large, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons dried mint
- ½ cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight
- ½ cup kidney beans soaked overnight
- ½ cup navy beans soaked overnight
- 6 cups water or lamb/beef stock, adjust as needed
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ teaspoons salt adjust as needed
- ½ cup green lentils
- 2 cups spinach chopped
- 1½ cups cilantro chopped
- 1½ cups parsley chopped
- 1 cup green onions or leeks, chopped
- ½ cup fenugreek leaves chopped or 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
- ½ cup dill chopped
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 90 grams reshteh or linguini noodles
- 1 cup kashk sour cream, crème fraiche or ¼ cup vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice adjust as needed
- Turn off the heat and stir in turmeric. Do not let it burn.
- Set aside one third of the onion and oil mixture. Mix the dried mint into it while still hot and save it for garnish.
- Add the beans (chickpeas, kidney and navy), water or stock, black pepper and salt to the cooking pot and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 to 60 minutes or more until the beans are very soft. Then add lentils and cook another 15 minutes.
- Next add all the herbs and greens. Stir and let it simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes until it reaches a soft, mushy and thick soup consistency. Add more water or stock as needed.
- In a small bowl combine few tablespoons of soup and flour, making sure there are no lumps. Stir this back into the simmering soup.Tip: Alternatively you could blend a very small portion of the soup and add it back to give it a creamy consistency.
- Add the reshteh or linguini noodles and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until the noodles are all but done (al dente). Stir lemon juice into the soup as per taste.
- Adjust the consistency, salt, lemon juice and other seasonings to taste. Stir some of the kashk or sour cream and the caramelized onion-mint oil mixture into the soup, saving most of it for garnish.
- Ladle the Persian noodle soup into bowls and top with dollops of kashk or sour cream and the onion-mint oil mixture.
- You may serve some additional lemon slices/vinegar/kashk or sour cream on the side.
- You can cook this soup using dried herbs and/or canned beans. Directions in the blog post.
- Cook the soup in a slow cooker for a perfectly thick and creamy consistency. The soup should be like a thick porridge or chili in consistency.
- Frozen fenugreek leaves can be found in Indian and Middle Eastern stores.
- Reshteh (Persian noodles) can be found in middle eastern stores or online. You can substitute with linguini noodles.
- Traditionally kashk is used for topping ash reshteh. But sour cream or crème fraiche is an alternative.
- Storage and Leftovers: This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.
- Freezer Friendly: You can freeze the soup in freezer safe containers. Thaw and reheat, adding water to adjust the consistency.
- Make Ahead: Soak and cook the beans and freeze them ahead. Chop and freeze the green and herbs. Onions can be sliced a day ahead.
- Nutrition facts are based on linguini noodles and light sour cream (not kashk). The sodium value may vary. The suggested amount of salt is just a guideline and may need to be adjusted. Check for any added salt in other ingredients and adjust.
This post was first published on October 2016 and has been updated with improvements in recipe, formatting, tips, and additional enhancements.