Raise your hand if you are a victim of cedar pollen right now. Yeah, me too. When I’m suffering from stuffy sinuses, all I want is some spicy, brothy soup to clear everything out. When I came across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. The original calls for a serrano pepper, but mine somehow didn’t make it home from HEB and I substituted a generous pinch of red pepper flakes with great results.
Besides that, there’s so much going on in this soup. There are three types of beans: chickpeas, yellow split peas (or lentils) and borlotti beans. The latter are also called cranberry beans, for the reddish-pink flecks on their skin. They are a bit sweeter and fuller-flavored than pinto beans, but pintos are a good substitute if you can’t find borlotti. I used dried beans that I cooked a few weeks ago and froze until now. The borlotti are on the far right in this picture.
I used Swiss chard, but any hearty green would work. Also, I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of the egg noodles originally called for, as I think they’ll hold up better when the soup is reheated. And I love the addition of fresh herbs at the end, along with a squeeze of lime juice. Oh, and the toppings! Caramelized onions, walnuts, and a bit of sour cream add even more flavor to what already is a fantastic soup. You really need to give this one a try.
New Year Noodle Soup (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
8.5 cups vegetable broth
3.5 oz yellow split peas or lentils (about 1/2 cup)
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if using canned
2 cups cooked borlotti or pinto beans
Salt to taste
4.25 oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles, broken in half
3.5 oz Swiss chard, finely shredded (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Juice of one lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Sour cream or creme fraiche
Toasted, chopped walnuts
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and the pepper flakes 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 and chard to the pot. Cook until the peas are just tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and borlotti beans. Once the beans have heated up, season with salt to taste.
Add the noodles to the simmering soup and return to a boil. Reduce the heat back to a simmer and cook until the spaghetti is al dente, about 11 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and dill. Squeeze in the lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the toppings. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat along with a few pinches of salt. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 8 -10 minutes. Set aside.
Serve right away, each bowl topped with a big spoonful of caramelized onions, some sour cream, and a sprinkling of walnuts.