New Year Noodle Soup Recipe

An amazing New Year Noodle Soup from Greg & Lucy Malouf's beautiful book, Saraban. It's a bean and noodle soup at its core featuring thin egg noodles swimming in a fragrant broth spiced with turmeric, cumin, chiles, and black pepper. You use a medley of lentils, chickpeas, and borlotti beans which makes the soup heart and filling without being heavy. You add spinach, dill, and cilantro. You add lime juice for a bit of sour at the end. And then you've got a number of toppings to add when you serve the soup - chopped walnuts, caramelized onions, and sour cream. Amazing.

New Year Noodle Soup

I'm feeling the inclination to tip-toe into 2011. I'm concerned that if I step on one squeaky floorboard, all hell could break loose. For the most part 2010 was good to me, it was busy, interesting, unpredictable and fulfilling. I feel very, very fortunate. I consider every day I'm happy and healthy a gift. On the flip side, it was a difficult year for a number of people I know and care about, and to them, I hope 2011 shines better and brighter.

2010 was the year I finished this, spent three weeks here, and made many pots of soup along the way. I hung out at the cabin. And we camped, and camped some more. As far as 2011 is concerned, it looks like I'll be ushering in the new year with a nasty head cold and an awesome bowl of noodle soup. I can tell you with confidence, sparkling wine and throat lozenges are a terrible pairing.

New Year Noodle Soup Recipe

That said, I'm looking forward to shaking this bug quickly to take a crack at making 2011 memorable and meaningful. I've been thinking about some of the things I'd like to focus on this year, and I've come up with a list of sorts...Here goes. I'd like to get out of San Francisco for trips near and far. Top of the list: London, Japan, the Pacific Northwest, and Kauai. I'm feeling the pull of a road trip, not sure of where yet though, Marfa? Across Canada? I've always wanted to drive to the tip of Baja, but I'm not sure that's the best idea right now. What else? I'd like to jog to the beach more often. And I'd like to take this big guy out more often. I want to commit to brewing beer once a month, and also stay current with the New Yorker. I want to cook from lots of books. Cook alongside lots of cooks. Get to know less familiar ingredients better. And revisit favorite recipes more often. I want to try keep things simple. I'm sure I'll think of others, but this is what is top of mind right now. What about you? I love hearing your new years thoughts and resolutions.

New Year Noodle Soup Recipe

Today's recipe is exactly what I've been craving. I've cooked it twice now, and it's the perfect recipe to usher in the new year with, particularly if you have a cold. But let me back up a bit, and let you know how I came across it. One of my Aussie pals works in a bookshop in Melbourne that focuses on food and wine titles. She always has great insight into books and recipes, and she mentioned hosting Greg & Lucy Malouf in the shop one night. They made a trio of breads for the event from Saraban: A Chef's Journey Through Persia that sounded wonderful, and I had it in the back of my mind to flip through the book as soon as I could find it. I stumbled on the book at Omnivore Books, and bought it on the spot. The New Year Noodle Soup caught my attention, and I'm thrilled it did. At its core it is a bean and noodle soup featuring thin egg noodles swimming in a fragrant broth spiced with turmeric, cumin, chiles, and black pepper. You use a medley of lentils, chickpeas, and borlotti beans, making the soup hearty and filling without being heavy. You add spinach, dill, and cilantro. You add lime juice for a bit of sour at the end. And then you've got a number of toppings to add when you serve the soup - chopped walnuts, caramelized onions, and sour cream. It's a long ingredient list, but worth it. I think I'm going to double up on the next pot. It was delicious reheated for days, even with the noodles in there. The book itself is amazing, and I can't wait to explore it beyond this soup.

New Year Noodle Soup Recipe

So here we go. 2011 it is. My hope is that each of you has a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year. I'd also like to add a heartfelt thank you for your ongoing insight and encouragement. Can you believe we're coming up on eight years together? It seems surreal to me. xo-h

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New Year Noodle Soup

If you don't have beans that have already been cooked you can use canned ones. Or you can soak the garbanzo & borlotti overnight, and add them after the broth comes to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, then stir in the yellow split peas/lentils. This way the beans/lentils should be done cooking around the same time. The original recipe calls for fresh borlotti beans, which aren't in season. I used dried borlotti that I cooked a couple weeks back, then froze until now. And, on the noodle front, I couldn't help but add more than what the original recipe called for. You can actually use more/less noodles - even when it seemed like too much, they always manage to get slurped up in a soup like this.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 long red chili OR green serrano, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 1/2 cups / 2 liters good-tasting vegetable stock/broth

100g / 3.5 oz yellow split peas or brown lentils
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if using canned
2 cups / 350g cooked borlotti beans

fine grain sea salt

120 g thin egg noodles, fresh or dried
3 1/2 oz / 100g fresh spinach leaves, finely shredded
1/2 cup finely shredded cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
juice of one lime

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
100 ml sour cream or creme fraiche
50g / scant 2 ounces of toasted, chopped walnuts

Heat the oil in a large, thick-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the chile and cook until they soften, a few minutes. Add the spices and cook for another thirty seconds, just long enough for them to toast a bit, then stir in the stock. Bring to a boil and add the split peas/lentils to the pot. Cook until they are just tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and borlotti beans. Once the beans have heated throughout, season with salt to taste.

In the meantime, you can prepare the toppings. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat along with a couple big pinches of salt. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 8 - 10+ minutes. Set aside.

Just before you're ready to eat, add the noodles to the simmering soup and cook until al dente. Stir in the spinach, and cilantro and dill. Add a big squeeze of lime to the pot or serve wedges along with each bowl of soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Serve right away, each bowl topped with a big spoonful of caramelized onions, some creme fraiche, and a sprinkling of walnuts.

Serves about 4.

Adapted slightly from the Ash-e Reshteh / New Year Noodle Soup recipe in Saraban, by Greg & Lucy Malouf

Prep time: 20 minutes - Cook time: 40 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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THANK YOU so much for posting this. I haven't commented before, but I really appreciate your recipes. My husband and I made a similar soup five years ago and then left the cookbook in an apartment and haven't sought out the recipe. What a great soup/memory. I look forward to trying it again.


One of my 2011 resolutions is to cook more from books, too. And blogs...yours being one of them. :) Hope this new year brings you happiness, joy, & relief from your head cold!

Hallie @ Daily Bites

This looks delicious! What an interesting twist on the usual New Year's 'pois pigeon'!


This soup looks perfectly comforting.

Jessica @ How Sweet

Your desired trip to the Pacific Northwest is the perfect time for that road trip-- there's nothing like driving up Pac Hwy in the summer.


wow, that is one good-lookin' soup! Can't wait to see what tasty things 2011 holds! love, cathy b. @ brightbakes

Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes

I love your use of tumeric in this soup, as I'm trying to find tasty ways to add this anti-inflammatory to my diet. I added tumeric to an apple cake and although the taste was not affected the cake had an unpleasant yellow cast. Your soup looks lovely. Get well soon. Renee


Sounds yummy! And what a beautiful bowl it's in, I love it.


I also am starting the new year with a wicked cold and have a pot of onion & garlic soup on the stove. Inspired by this recipe, I think I'll add some lentils and change up the spices a bit. I just hope I can actually taste some of it. Get well soon.


Happy New Year Heidi! I'm sick too so I know how you feel right now. I haven't thought too much about my resolutions but I want to spend more time with unfamiliar ingredients and flavors this year too. This soup looks delicious. When I first found your blog I could barely boil water. Now I'm looking at recipes like this and thinking about taking them in another direction. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us.


Thanks for your amazing blog, Heidi! And a happy new year to you as well. Get well soon!

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

Yum. Chickpeas + Noodles = Win. Sounds delicious. I'm putting it on my "to cook" list. Thanks!

Kristi @ Veggie Converter

Just curious, but could black-eyed peas work in place of some of the beans, and collard greens in place of the spinach?


For me there is no tip toeing into the new year - I'm stomping out loud ready to bring in the new. This soup is perfect and I'm bookmarking it for later this week. I'm in need of some comfort too. Happy New Year!


I love this kind of soup recipe that's a meal in itself - veggies and a little bit of carb and protein all included. Really satisfying and there's no bread required. This year I'd like to expand my recipe repertoire (I'm wondering if trying one new recipe a week would work?) and hopefully learn more about Japanese cookery and landscape photography. Hope you're feeling better soon


This looks like a terrific noodle soup to kick the year off with. I like the heartiness of the different beans with the array of savory spices. I'm really looking forward to your travel posts. You always bring back such amazing photos.

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

The flavor combination for this soup sounds awesome. Happy New Year!

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

I too ushered in 2011 feeling a bit ill and that warm, nourishing soup looks pretty inviting! I'll have to give it a try.

michelle elisabeth

I can't wait to try this one! I assume, in the second paragraph, it is the onions that you are caramelizing for the topping? HS: Yes, exactly Lindsey. Happy new year.


This soup sounds a bit unusual to me, with the thin noodles, but since one of my resolutions is to try new flavours, and I have a huge confidence in your recipes, I am going to give this a try. I hope you'll shake the bug off pretty soon and have a heady start in the new year!


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