My husband and I love soups. My son, on the other hand, is not a soup lover; he’s not even a soup taster, soups are just a no-go for him.
So, when he left for Outdoor School on a cold dreary day, I checked my cupboards and, yes!, I had what I needed to make ash-e reshteh, or Persian noodle soup. Perfect!
Ash-e reshteh is a vegetarian lentil and bean soup with noodles, I opted for spinach linguine because it is was what I had the right amount of. But, I really liked the flavor and texture it brought, so it is what I will use from now on. You should feel free to use whatever noodle you prefer, but it should be long and thin.
I also opted for arugula in place of the typical spinach; I prefer the peppery flavor of arugula. You can vary the beans you use, I happen to have kidney beans and garbanzos and they worked quite nicely with the lentils, adding some slightly different textures.
But the stars of the soup, what turn the soup into something special, are the yogurt and caramelized onions. Be sure to deeply caramelize the onions, that will make this sing.
So, when you have a cold, dreary day, make like the Persians do and eat some soup!
Ash-e Reshteh (Persian Noodle Soup)
adapted from The Washington Post
Heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil until shimmering in a large pot over medium heat. Add half the diced onion and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring a few times, until it just begins to pick up color, then add the garlic, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, turmeric, and half the dill.
Add the broth or water and bring the mixture to a lively simmer. Season lightly with salt, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 1 hour, to let the flavors meld.
While that cooks, heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil until shimmering in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden. Add a generous pinch of salt, stirring to incorporate. Reduce the heat to low; cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring now and again, until it is a deep reddish brown. Remove from the heat. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.
About 10 minutes before serving, stir the noodles and spinach into the soup pot; cook, stirring now and again so the noodles don’t stick together. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. When the noodles are tender, remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, then taste and add more, as needed.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve hot, with a generous dollop of yogurt and a dollop of the caramelized onions.