Persian Springtime Stew

The inspiration for this dish is Louisa Shafia’s recipe for Ash-e-reshteh in her wonderful book (and blog), Lucid Food. I can’t vouch for the authenticity of my version, which I have tweaked considerably, but it’s both nutritious and delicious—a great combination any time of year. In springtime, you could add wild-foraged greens to the pot.

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 (15.5-oz) can low-sodium chickpeas, drained
  • 1 (15.5-oz) can low-sodium red kidney beans, drained
  • ½ cup dried red lentils
  • about 2 quarts water or vegetable broth (or mix of both)
  • 1 Tbs dried mint (or more to taste)
  • 1 (9-oz) bag spinach or baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Leaves from 4-8 stems of mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 oz small or medium egg noodles (or eggless noodles for vegan dish)
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses (or more to taste)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • sea salt, to taste
  • hot ajvar (pepper-eggplant dip) as accompaniment (optional)
  • labneh or plain Greek yogurt as accompaniment (optional)

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add chopped yellow onion and celery and cook several minutes until softened. Add turmeric, sumac, pepper, and half of the crushed garlic and cook another minute or two. Add chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, dried mint, and about 6 cups of water or broth; heat to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add noodles, chopped red onion, and the rest of the garlic and cook until noodles are nearly done. (If mixture is too thick, add another cup or two of broth or water and bring back to a simmer.) Stir in spinach, parsley, cilantro, and fresh mint and remove from heat. Stir in pomegranate molasses and lemon zest, then taste, adding additional molasses, dried mint, salt, or pepper as desired. Ladle into bowls, adding a generous spoonful of hot ajvar and/or lebneh or yogurt to each if you wish. Makes about 6 servings.

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