Persian noodle soup, or Ash-e-reshteh, is a hearty country stew often served for Norooz, the Persian New Year. It’s a hearty meal in a bowl, full of fiber, calcium, protein and spices. It’s chicken noodle soup with a lot of Middle Eastern bells and whistles–colorful, festive and complex thanks to the interesting blend of spices. The soup can also be easily adapted for vegetarians just by using vegetable stock in place of chicken broth.
In this recipe from Louisa Shafia’s beautiful Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, we’ve replaced the traditional egg noodles with whole-wheat spaghettini for quick cooking and added whole-grain goodness. This change also gives the soup an extra nuttiness and heft.
Canned beans are used in this rather than dried beans so the soup can be made in a hurry, or for a there-and-then meal. If you have homemade soaked beans add them at the beginning rather at the end.
This soup gets a lovely golden color and added health benefits from the wonder spice turmeric, which has been used as medicine and food for centuries and recently identified as a potential aid in cancer prevention. The soup is high in antioxidants from the leafy greens and gives a big boost of fiber, thanks to the beans and lentils. Fiber is crucial for maintaining healthy digestion during treatment.
For a light and sweet dessert to follow this hearty soup, stick with the Persian theme and serve a simple fruit salad (both fresh and dried) with mint and a splash of rose water.