Ash reshteh (a vegetarian noodle soup) is one of those Persian dishes that can literally take some home cooks an entire day to make. To streamline the process and cut cooking time, canned beans and frozen spinach are used in this recipe and the entire dish is cooked in one pot. You can use frozen or dry herbs and substitute dry lentils with canned lentils. If you can’t find reshteh (Persian noodles), use linguine pasta. See wiseGEEK for a more detailed description of this dish.
Ash Reshteh (Persian Noodle Soup) – Simplified Version
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hr 30 min
Ready in: 1 hr 50 min
Yields: 6 servings
1 bunch fresh parsley (2 cups chopped)
1 bunch fresh green onions (2 cups chopped)
1 bunch fresh cilantro (2 cups chopped)
1 pound frozen chopped spinach
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large onions peeled and chopped (4 cups)
3 large garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup lentils
9 cups hot water
2/3 package reshteh (Persian noodles) about 9 ounces
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek (optional)
1 can pinto beans (15 oz.) drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas (15 oz.) drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons oil
3 large garlic cloves finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried mint
Clean parsley and cilantro by cutting off the stems. Cut off the root ends of green onions. Wash, drain and coarsely chop all the herbs either by hand or in a food processor.
In a large pot, heat 1/3 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions. Cook for 20 minutes or until slightly golden, stirring occasionally. When onions are translucent and start to turn golden on edges lower heat to medium. Stir in chopped garlic, cook for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Add dried mint, cook for 1 minute then add salt, pepper, turmeric, lentils and hot water. Cover, bring to a gentle boil. You can use cold water but it will take longer to bring to a boil.
Lentils used in this recipe cook in 20 minutes. Adjust cooking time if using longer-cooking lentils. If using canned lentils add in the next step.
Add fresh herbs, frozen spinach and dried fenugreek. Cook for 10 minutes. Break noodles in half and add to the pot along with the beans. Stir for few minutes to separate the noodle strands. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not cover.
Noodles expand and thicken the ash the longer they cook. Ash is a thick soup but its consistency can be adjusted by adding more hot water to thin or simmering it longer to reduce the liquid.
For garnish, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small pot. Add chopped garlic. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Stir in mint, cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
If using kashk, adjust the seasoning after adding it as some kashk can be real salty. You can substitute kashk with sour cream or yogurt.
To serve transfer ash to a large serving bowl. Garnish with sautéed garlic and mint. I usually don’t garnish my ash with caramelized onions because it takes about 50 minutes to prepare but if you have the time it would make the ash more delicious.