Friday, August 12, 2011

August 10, 2011: Legume Noodle Soup

By the middle of August, the Melbourne winter really starts to get you down. It rained for hours on Wednesday as Cindy's cold turned her into a grumpy, snotty couch-hog. The only solution was soup. And what better soup than this amazing treat from Ottolenghi's Guardian blog (first drawn to our attention by Kathryn at Limes and Lycopenes). It's a rich and hearty combination of proteins and carbs, with spinach to make you feel healthy plus loads of fresh herbs and a crucial twist of lime juice for flavour. It's like comfort in a pot - the perfect cure to winter's worst blues.

We took some lazier options than recommended by Ottolenghi - canned chickpeas and beans, packaged stock and linguine rather than Iranian noodles. The stock was probably a tad on the salty side - this would no doubt work better with home-made vegie stock but if you're using store-bought like we did, I'd recommend leaving the seasoning until right at the end. You might find it doesn't need anything extra. Regardless, this has gone straight onto our list of classic winter meals - I'd say we'll get back to it again even before this one is over.

Ash-e reshteh/Legume noodle soup
(based on this recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi)

80g butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
10 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
half a bunch of green onions, sliced finely (white and green parts kept separate)
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
salt and pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed
225g yellow split peas
2 litres vegie stock
2/3 cup chopped parsley
2/3 cup chopped coriander
1/3 cup chopped dill
150g baby spinach leaves
100g dry linguine
200g sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sautee the onion, garlic and white parts of the green onions for about 20 minutes, until completely soft and starting to brown up. Stir in the turmeric plus some salt and pepper (maybe skip the salt here if you're using salty stock) and cook for a minute or so. Scoop out about a third of the onion mix and set aside for garnishing purposes.

Add the chickpeas, butter beans, split peas and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the split peas are nice and soft, scooping off any frothy scum that comes to the surface.

Add in the fresh herbs, the green onions and the spinach and stir everything together. Cook for another 15 minutes or so. Add in the linguine and cook for 8-10 minutes until the it's nicely cooked. Stir through 150g of the sour cream plus the vinegar and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Serve garnished with a spoonful of the reserved onion mix, a dollop of sour cream and with the juice of half a lime stirred through. And with a home-made naan if you've got any lying around.


  1. I only wish I'd managed to take a better photo of it - this soup was quite pretty as well as crazy-tasty!

  2. I want to make this. Ottolenghi's recipes always make me wish I could have a herb garden, they often seem to call for so many fresh herbs. Gets expensive buying them all.

  3. this is one I have had my eye on but I wonder if I could use yoghurt instead of sour cream to make it less rich - after a few extra creamy soups on holidays I am feeling less inclined towards creamy

  4. Looks so warm and comforting! And Ottolenghi's recipes in Plenty are really inspiring! :)

  5. Katya - yes, they are quite herb-heavy! We've got a couple of things in pots now and it's really handy in this situation. Better off trying some of these recipes with one or two less herbs than not at all, though. :-)

    Johanna - I'm sure you could try yoghurt or even skip that part altogether, it's a relatively thin broth even with the sour cream.

    Welcome, Spring n Vien! They sure are - it's one of our favourite cookbooks this year. :-)

  6. You made Ottolenghi's soup! You know, I still haven't made this. I keep on thinking how wonderful it looks, but then get put off by the number of ingredients, and I always seem to be missing something.

    So glad to read you made and enjoyed it. Perfect soup weather at the moment, and this seems like such a hearty one. I shall bring it back up to the top of the list and make it soon. Thanks for reminding me.

  7. Kathryn - Ottolenghi's recipes often have long ingredient lists, don't they? We typically need a shopping trip devoted to tracking everything down before we make any of them. They are worth it though! This one was just magical in a time of sickness for me. :-)