This dish is a fabulous, heart warming and thick soup from the Middle East – it seems like it is an Iranian echo of Minestrone or perhaps of the noodle soup your mother served you as a child when you were poorly. In Iran it is called ash-e reshteh, and it is the sort of soup that makes you feel happy, wholesome and nourished, all at the same time.
You might find resteh noodles at a Middle Eastern grocery, but if not, use linguine or Asian flat noodles. Japanese noodles will work too. In fact the noodles can even be left out and the soup will still be deliciously amazing.
Make sure that you purchase the type of reshteh noodles that are specifically for soup – there is another variety that has been toasted for use in rice dishes. My local Afghan grocery has the soup noodles called Pottage Macaroni even though they are long noodles rather than the short tubes we usually think of as macaroni. The instructions for cooking are cute. It directs you to:
Add the content of package to the stuff of cooking and boiling pottage. After nearly 10 mins of your favourite time, eat the prepared pottage.
Another alternative is to make your own noodles. They are made from a wheat flour dough without eggs, and cut flat and not very wide.
This is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More. It combines chickpeas, lima (butter) beans and yellow split peas with noodles, herbs and spices for a filling, interesting soup that even has an aroma of the Middle East. In fact this soup can be made with a variety of lentils and legumes – red kidney beans are very common.
Today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.
Similar recipes include Chickpea and Orzo Soup, Turkish Spinach Soup with Chickpeas and Barley, Spicy Chickpea and Burghul Soup, Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Zaatar, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Parsnip and Barley Soup.
Browse all of our Soups, Noodle Dishes, Chickpea Dishes and Butter Bean Dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.
Legume Noodle Soup
This soup makes a lot – about 8 servings. Halve the recipe if needed.
125g dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight with 1 Tblspn bicarb soda
125g dried butter beans (lima beans), soaked in water overnight with 1 Tblspn bicarb soda
2 large onions, thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
80g ghee or clarified butter
1.5 tspn turmeric
sea salt and black pepper
225g yellow split peas
about 2 litres vegetable stock
35g chopped parsley
35g chopped coriander
15g chopped dill
100g spring onion, thinly sliced
150g baby spinach
100g reshteh (Iranian noodles), or use linguine or flat Chinese or Japanese noodles
150g sour cream, plus 1 tspn per portion to finish
1.5 Tblspn white wine vinegar
4 limes, halved
Drain and rinse both the chickpeas and butter beans, then boil them separately in lots of fresh water until almost cooked – anywhere between 25 and 55 minutes – and drain.
In a large, heavy-based pot, sauté the onion, garlic and butter on medium heat for 20 minutes, or until soft and golden-brown. Stir in the turmeric and some salt and pepper, then lift a third of this mix from the pot and transfer to a dish for use later.
Add the chickpeas and butter beans to the pot, then add the split peas and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off the froth occasionally, or until the peas are tender. Add the herbs, spring onion and spinach, stir and cook for 15 minutes more; add extra stock (or water) if the soup is very thick. Taste and season generously.
Add the noodles and cook for about 10 minutes, so that they are just done. Stir in the soured cream and vinegar, adjust the seasoning and serve at once, garnished with extra soured cream and the reserved cooked onion mix. Serve lime halves to squeeze over every portion.
recipe notes and alternatives
I can’t wait to make this with the large dried Fava Beans (large dried broad beans). They make the best broth as they cook until very very tender. Don’t forget to blanch and peel them before cooking.