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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Lovely and interesting soup! Had it for dinner this evening with fresh baked Irish soda bread. Yum! This may become a tradition--Happy New Year!


This looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it! I've really enjoyed your blog and the many recipes you've shared. I split a family-size CSA box with three other girls this year - and I knew I could always count on finding new and interesting recipes to use for all those farm-fresh veggies! Thanks for sharing, Heidi! Here's to a happy and healthy 2011!


Just a footnote... the new year celebration in Iran is the spring equinox, not Jan. 1. But that's okay, the other traditional new year's dish is rice mixed with lots of springtime herbs, served with fish, which in my family we now serve for both new year's celebrations. The soup, with many variations, is eaten all year round, though the noodles are special for the occasion. At other times, barley or rice can replace the noodles, and different types of beans will do. Many different greens are used (try radish tops, for example, chopped baby leeks, or lots of flat-leaf parsley). Most critically though, where this recipe calls for creme fraiche or sour cream, the classic topping is kashk - made by dehydrating the whey from hung yoghourt. It has a slightly grainy, creamy texture, and very strong flavor, not quite like any other dairy product I've encountered anywhere in the world, and is worth looking for at an Iranian grocery store. It's also used in eggplant dishes.


Happy New Year, Heidi! I finally fulfilled a New Year's Resolution made long ago: I got to photograph Central Park in the snow over the Holidays. It was as fabulous as I imagined! This year, I hope to get my blog up. It's been difficult, because I have a burning desire to make it food-related, but bloggers such as yourself have so competently covered the bases, with over-the-top beautiful photography - and have set the bar so high! - that I have spent an extra year in research on a slightly different angle. I wholeheartedly share your feeling about road trips, and I could not end without putting in a good word for the cross-Canada road trip. I think you would really enjoy touring Vancouver Island - as it's a friendly community doing great things with delectable produce from sustainable growers. Excellent food and wine in the region! And there's fantastic camping and hiking throughout the Rockies. I must mention my Toronto, a fantastic multicultural city with vegetarian restaurants galore, and two great cool climate viticulture areas east and west of us worth exploring, especially the successful Niagara winery region. Open year round, there is much celebration at September's grape harvest, and an Ice Wine Festival held in January that makes for a unique mid-winter destination. We go every year! Quebec is also fabulous road trip territory: excellent farm-fresh cheeses, orchards, and micro-breweries to visit in glorious pastoral settings. Beyond Montreal, there is Quebec City - great restaurants, and summer festivals galore. We often attend the New France Festival and still love the feelings of conviviality we experience there. I'd be happy to send you more ideas when you're ready. But wherever you travel, I hope 2011 is happy, healthy and prosperous for you and yours.

Primordial Soup

Happy New Year. I hope you'll be back on your feet soon. I like your plans for 2011, especially the road trip. Driving across Canada would be interesting--the landscape certainly varies from coast to coast, but there's a lot of flat, empty space in between! I lived just outside of Toronto for a good long time, but if you don't do the Canadian road trip, I suggest at least going out east to Halifax, Nova Scotia--fabulous seafood!


I just made this soup and all the toppings are ready! Can't wait to have it in a few minutes. I substituted kidney beans for the borlotti beans. I didn't have turmeric so I hope it turns out ok anyway!


Heidi, your book and recipes started a food evolution for me 3 yrs. ago. It started with a gift of your book from a dear friend. I began with your sushi bowl (with some influence from Cafe Gratitude) onto your Yellow Split Pea, Wild Rice and Lively Lentil soup recipes. I put more 'condiments' (avocado, nuts/seeds, yogurt, sprouts, sauerkraut, marinated garlic, more) on rice and soup dishes now that they are masterpieces full of yummy sour/sweet/savory/creamy textures and tastes at every turn. I just wanted to send HUGE appreciation your way as you recover!


Happy New Year to you Heidi and thanks for doing this blog ... eight years is a real commitment, and thanks again! My substitutes for this recipe included canned tomatoes, canned black beans, goat milk, as I have goats and freeze the milk for winter use, and broken spaghetti. Mint oil sounds great!


Hope you feel better soon! This soup looks like the perfect cure to whatever ails you!


This soup sounds fantastic! It involves many of the spices I've been trying to incorporate more into my cooking the last few months (turmeric, cumin) as well as the borlotti beans that my husband is obsessed with. We happen to have most of the ingredients on hand so I am looking forward to trying it this week!


thanks for this recipe! a light and healthy counterbalance to my new years feasting. here's to another delicious year and even more creativity in the kitchen in 2011...

i3etty @ veggie potluck

This soup looks delicious and your travel plans for 2011 are impressive! Happy New Year!

Funnelcloud Rachel

Just got back home last night after a long road trip and found your wonderful soup recipe... so, even if I did not prepare the exact recipe, this morning I heated up some broth, added noodles, some cilantro and spinach I just happened to have in the fridge and guess what... here in the South we have to have blackeye peas for good luck every New Year.... squirted some lime juice and it was great. Can't wait to make the complete recipe as written. Thank you, get well soon... I absolutely love your good food choices. May in Atlanta, GA HS: Way to improvise May!

May Bingham

What a fabulous recipe! I was thinking soup yesterday but ended up with a pear salad and lamb chops. Resolution: Simplify. Cheers!

Caroline Shields

I just happen to have most of these ingredients on hand! 2011 will be good to you, Heidi!

A Teenage Gourmet

I've had your new cookbook on pre-order since September, can't wait!!

Gail Harries

This looks like a wonderfully warming soup. Perfect for chilly Jan nights. I love the long slurpy noodles and hearty beans.


Je vais adorer cette soupe ! Merci pour toutes vos jolies recettes, anciennes et futures. Je vous souhaite une merveilleuse année 2011 ! And if my english is not too bad ... ;o) I'll love this soup ! Thank you for all your lovely recipes, past and future.And happy new year 2011 !


Happy New Year ♥ Moltissimi Auguri per uno splendido 2011


Something for me :) Happy New Year, Heidi! Thank you for your books and your site.


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