Chef Kevin Naderi is “super proud” of his Persian-American heritage. This informs the Persian-accented Southern flavors he serves at his Houston restaurant Roost, and has earned Naderi recognition as a finalist in Food & Wine magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” competition. When asked about recipes passed down from his family that he loves the most, Naderi immediately talked about this vegetarian soup. Simple, hearty and healthy, with plenty of pulses (red kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas and lentils) and lots of of greens–scallions, dill, parsley, spinach, cilantro and mint, the soup is topped with a flavorful garnish of fried onion, garlic and dill, and a swirl of kashk–the whey-derived Persian equivalent of sour cream. (We’ve paired the soup with sesame-topped Persian bread for sopping.)
Traditionally, the soup is thickened with a little flour, and about a cup of the kashk swirled into the soup. But we like our soup a little soupier so opted not to stir in any flour, and kept the kashk as a garnish for people to stir in at table. Also good to note: if you are holding the soup for service later, it’s best not to add the noodles until about 30 minutes before you plan to eat.
Makes 10 to 12 servings
Persian Greens, Beans & Noodle Soup Ingredients
- 1/4 cup red kidney beans
- 1/4 cup navy beans
- 1/4 cup chickpeas
- 3 medium-sized yellow onions, finely sliced
- 3 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 10 cups water
- 1/2 cup lentils
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
- 1/2 cup dill weed, chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 lb Persian noodles (reshteh) broken into 2-inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp flour (optional)
- 1 cup liquid kashk, or sour cream
Mint, Onion, Garlic Garnish Ingredients
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped fine
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 tsp dried mind flakes finely crushed
- a few deep-fried spinach leaves as garnish, if desired
- In a medium-sized bowl, cover kidney beans, navy beans and chickpeas with water to a depth of 2-inches above the beans. Soak overnight.
- In a large pot, saute the onions in oil. Add salt, half of the pepper, and turmeric. Pour the water into the pot and add the soaked beans. Cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer covered for 1 hour.
- Add lentils and broth. Heat to boiling again; reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 35 more minutes.
- Add scallions, dill, parsley, spinach and cilantro. Stir occasionally and cook for 20 minutes or until done. Correct seasoning (the rest of the pepper, if needed) and add a bit more water if too thick.
- Cook noodles in a separate pot of boiling water. Strain and stir into soup pot. Stir in flour if using. If using kashk: Set aside a Tbsp for garnish. Stir 2 Tbsp of the soup into the remaining kashk and then stir slowly into soup.
- Make garnish: Saute onion and garlic in oil with crushed mint flakes.
- If using spinach leaf garnish: deep fry a few spinach leaves until transparent and bright green.
- Ladle soup into bowls. Float kashk and mint/onion/garlic garnish over the top. Place a fried spinach leaf on top.