Persian-style herby beans with yogurt and caramelized onions
This year, March 20 marks the start of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. The ancient festival is a 13-day celebration of springtime and a brand new year for hundreds of millions of people around the world. You can find fresh, herb-laden dishes at every celebration, and thanks to chefs and cookbook authors like Samin Nosrat, Yasmin Khan, and Naz Deravian, we can all learn about the distinctive Persian cooking techniques and ingredients at home. We’re excited to share one of our favorite recipes, adapted from the herbaceous bean and noodle soup known as ash reshteh, which is commonly enjoyed during Nowruz. Our version is heavy on the beans, and features the traditional yogurt and caramelized onion topping. Don’t forget the warm flatbread!
- Serves: 4-6
- Time: 1-½ hours
- Cookware: electric pressure cooker (or large pot), medium skillet
What you’ll need
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup dried chickpeas
- ½ cup dried cannellini beans
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup green lentils
- 1 lb baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 2 bunches cilantro, tough stems removed, chopped
- 2 bunches parsley, tough stems removed, chopped
- 2 bunches dill, tough stems removed, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup Greek yogurt (preferably Fage)
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp dried mint
Cook the beans: Heat olive oil in the pressure cooker pot insert using the sauté function. Add onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until onion is tender and golden brown, 16-18 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add dried beans, turmeric, and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper. Stir to coat. Cover with water by 1-½ inches. Secure the lid, and cook for 40 minutes on high pressure. Allow the pressure to naturally release. (Alternatively, you can cook beans in a large pot; cook until they start to soften, but are still al dente.)
Add remaining ingredients: Stir in lentils and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans and lentils are completely tender, 25-35 minutes. The soup should be thick. Add spinach, cilantro, parsley, and dill and cook until greens are just wilted and have slightly darkened, 4-6 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Caramelize the onions: Meanwhile heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until golden and caramelized, 16-18 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.
Prepare the yogurt: Mix yogurt, buttermilk, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
Prepare the mint oil: Wipe out skillet and heat remaining 4 tbsp oil over low. Add mint and remove from heat. Let steep for at least a few minutes until mint oil is fragrant.
Assemble and enjoy: Divide soup among bowls and drizzle with yogurt mixture and mint oil. Top with caramelized onions.
We imagine this with...
Warm flatbread. Sabzi khordan, a heaping platter of fresh herbs, radishes, walnuts and feta that accompanies nearly every Persian meal.
Adapted slightly from NYT Cooking’s Ash Reshteh (Persian Greens, Bean and Noodle Soup) by Samin Nostrat (recipe here) and Bon Appetit’s Beans and Green Soup with Salted Yogurt and Sizzled Mint by Andy Baraghani (recipe here).