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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Hello Heidi, This looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Happy Healthy New Year.


Hi Heidi, I've been reading you blog for a good year now but haven't ever commented! Just wanted to say I love your site and this recipe looks so good I'm popping out to the shops now to buy the ingredients for dinner! Thanks for the many inspirations!


I am Persian and grew up eating this soup although we eat it in the winter time mostly because it is so rich and heavy. If you can find liquid whey from a middle eastern grocery, I highly suggest you use it i/o sour cream or creme fraiche, which gives it a more pungent flavour (and is the authentic ingredient). My family also sauteed dried mint in oil and poured that on top. HS: Thanks for the suggestion Marjan, and the sauteed dried mint oil sounds outstanding.


This recipe looks divine, can't wait to try it. I love Greg and Lucy - I have Arabesque and love it. Does Kate work at Books for Cooks? I'm from Melbourne too.. Hope you're feeling better soon. HS: She does! Say hi for me if you see her on your next visit.


This soup looks incredible and filled with such interesting ingredients. I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store.


Heidi~ I love your site and look forward to more yumminess in 2011 Have a Healthy New Year! Lisa xo

Lisa @

Yum! I can't wait for winter to try this one! (we're in New Zealand, but originally from San Fran and San Luis Obispo!) I may have to make it sooner than later! Happy New Year


This sounds awesome!! I am thinking it's a "to do" this week in the windy city :)


Great recipe


Head cold here too and yes, sparkling wine and cough drops are a bad combo. I will make this soup tomorrow. sounds wonderful. My resolutions are: to eat more slowly (I spend my days cooking but somehow don't savor the finished product enough in the moment--having a rambunctious 3-year-old might not help!); grow my business ( and continue to weave your recipes and ideas into my cooking classes. I'm very grateful for your passion, creativity and wonderful palate. All the best for 2011! HS: You too Katherine, Portland is such a wonderful place to cook. You're one lucky lady!

Katherine Deumling

Hi Heidi! I love your site and your recipes. I've tried many of them and they are all inspiring and tasty. You have also inspired me to start my own blog site about cooking, (, which corresponds to my cookbook, (muchadoaboutmuffins), which is in the publishing process. =) I would love to have you visit my new site and give me a jingle, even though I do write about meat! I still love vegetarian meals however and plan to include them in my repertoire on my blog. Thanks for the good stuff!

Debbie Wells Allen

Heidi, I wish you a happy, healthy and safe new year! Nisrine

Dinners & Dreams

Heidi, I wish you a happy, healthy and safe new year! Nisrine

Dinners & Dreams

One of my goals for this year is to express more appreciation to bloggers whose work I get so much from. Another is to make more "whole-meal" soups and this one is going right on the list. Thanks and looking forward to sharing your adventures and more great recipes.


Happy new year! Sounds like you had great and productive 2010 and wish you more joy in 2011. I love garbanzo beans in any recipe. I think I will make this, minus the sour cream and put the yogurt instead. Happy new year!

Pam @ Kitchenware

Hi Heidi, Happy New Year! I'm very excited to try this soup, as I always love your soup recipes and many of them have become staples in my household. I am curious to know, though, which store-bought vegetable stock (if any) you find to be "good tasting" when not using homemade? Please advise! HS: I tend to use Rapunzel - the sea salt or sea salt w/ herbs.


Hahaha, I can relate to the resolution to keep current with The New Yorker. I'm sure our unread stacks are comparable. There's usually only one article and the movie reviews that I read ... but, oh, they are so enjoyable! I did take the latest to bed last night and read the article about Joan Crawford. Such pleasure. HS: Hi Rebecca, I've been enjoying the New Yorker Out Loud podcast as well, it's interesting to hear some of the writers talk about some of what went into new articles.

Rebecca Anderson

There is not a better way to begin the New Year than with a bowl of a healthy homemade soup. Thank you Heidi.

Donna Myers

Made this for dinner tonight. I didn't have the creme fraiche or walnuts, and yet it was utterly delicious. Thanks for the recipe.


If it weren't 35C here in Brisbane, i'd be soaking some beans right now, but all i can manage is to pant over some iced tea! Thank you for keeping me entertained all year, Heidi. Yours is one of those blogs i truly look forward to arriving in my inbox every week. If only we were cooking in the same season!


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