Ash Reshteh

A few days after amato mio and I moved into our apartment in Taroudannt, Morocco, I was looking online for meal ideas, which didn’t involve tagines, and came across this recipe on the wonderful food blog, Turmeric and Saffron.

Azita’s recipe is for a soup; however, since our apartment had no dishes or bowls, I decided to add more pulses in order to thicken it to make it more stew-like. I also used yoghurt instead of kashk, and whatever vegetables I could get in the souk on that day. I’d like to think that this recipe, like most Italian cucina povera, is made with what one has to hand.

If you’re going to use dried, instead of canned, chickpeas, please remember to soak them in plenty of water for at least five hours before cooking them. I always put them in a pot to soak overnight.

In Morocco, I found it convenient to cook up batches of beans and chickpeas every few days (as we had no supermarkets in our town, everything was cooked absolutely from scratch), and keep them in airtight containers in the ‘fridge – that way I always had some to cook with. 

Ash Reshteh (Persian Bean and Lentil Stew)
Serves 8
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 500g white beans, cooked with a pinch of salt
  2. 500g chickpeas, cooked with a pinch of salt
  3. 200g dry lentils
  4. 400g onions (red or white, or a combination), chopped
  5. 1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  6. 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  7. 100g vermicelli (or other small pasta)
  8. 50g cabbage, shredded
  9. 50g fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  10. 50g fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  11. 25g garlic, chopped finely, or smashed
  12. 20g fresh mint leaves, chopped
  13. 2 tbsp oil
  14. 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  15. 1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  16. 1 litre tap water
  17. Plain soy yoghurt to serve
  1. Place the beans and chickpeas into a large pot with a litre or so of water, and the lentils, red pepper, cauliflower, cabbage, half of the onions, parsley, and half of the coriander. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
  2. While that's cooking, gently sauté the rest of the onions in the oil, with the garlic, turmeric, and mint, until golden brown.
  3. Stir 1-2 tablespoons of the onion mix into the stew. Add the ground black pepper. Taste - season more if necessary (you might want to add some salt... I don't but you might!). Add vermicelli, and continue to cook until the pasta is soft (approx 5-10 minutes).
  4. Serve in bowls, with some of the onion mixture on top, some yoghurt dribbled over, and a sprinkling of the remaining coriander.
  5. This is lovely on its own but equally good with fresh bread too.
  6. Buon appetito!