Vanetzi Ashkile

Recipe Corner: Vanetzi Ashkile (Spinach Soup)


A hearty, healthy, delicious Armenian soup perfect for cooler weather – or any time of year.

FRESNO — This is one of the many treasured recipes in the Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes Cookbook published by the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church Trinity Guild (now Ladies’ Guild) in 1970. The Ladies’ Auxiliary was organized in 1914, the year the new church was built. This supporting membership of 68 young ladies was dedicated to the church in all areas – visiting the ill and shut-ins, and was the only major fundraiser for many years. They taught the Armenian language classes on Saturdays to all age students. These pioneer members had a significant role in the church Christian life. In later years, these senior members were responsible for preparation and serving memorial (hokejosh) luncheons.

The Trinity Guild was formed in 1949 with the goal of improving the Sunday School attendance. The Holy Trinity Ladies’ Guild was formed in 2011 as a result of combining the Ladies’ Auxiliary and Trinity Guild. The purpose and objectives of the Ladies’ Guild is to promote and perpetuate the Armenian Apostolic faith and to encourage all members of the church and its community to join and participate in church activities. The Ladies’ Guild offers financial support to the church and its affiliated groups and promotes the social, educational, and spiritual wellbeing of church members.

The fundraisers evolved into the Annual Bazaar. Yearly service activities include working for the lunch delivery in the spring, hosting a joint dinner meeting with the Men’s Society, participating in the annual April 24th commemoration as well as baking and cooking throughout the year to prepare for the Annual Grape Blessing and Bazaar.



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2 lbs. stewing beef or lamb (boneless)

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, or water

1/2 cup wheat berries, shelled wheat or whole wheat kernels (Also known as dzedzadz. Shelled wheat is sold in Middle Eastern stores.)

2 large carrots, diced

1 medium bunch green onions, chopped

1 medium bunch parsley, chopped

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)

Salt, pepper to taste

2 medium bunches fresh spinach, washed, chopped

Juice of 1 large lemon (or 1/2 lb. rhubarb, finely chopped)

4 medium eggs, optional)

4 tablespoons butter (or 1/4 cup olive oil to taste)



Brown stew meat in a large pot in butter or olive oil, tossing, until meat is brown on all sides. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until onions are translucent.

Add just enough of the broth or water to cover the meat; bring to a gentle boil. Cover pot, and braise for about one hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomato sauce, the rest of the broth or water, dzedzadz, carrots, green onions, parsley, cilantro – if using, and seasonings, and bring to a full boil. Stir, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-35 minutes or until the meat and dzedzadz are very tender.

Add the spinach and lemon juice (or rhubarb). Add more broth or water, as needed, to make a stew-like consistency. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the spinach (and rhubarb, if using) is/are cooked.

Optional: crack the eggs, one at a time, into a separate bowl. Gently add each egg to the pot and steam for a few minutes until egg whites are set.

How to order your copy of the Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes Cookbook: The cost of the cookbook is $20.00 plus $5.00 for shipping. For questions or to place an order, please call or contact:

Ms. Nazik Arisian

Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church

2226 Ventura St.

Fresno, CA 93721

(559) 486-1141 (office)


Make check payable to: Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church of Fresno is the oldest Armenian Apostolic church in the Western United States. The first Holy Mass-Badarak was officiated by Rev. Aharon Melconian in 1895. The church is registered as a National Historic site located in downtown Fresno. Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church is a historic Armenian church located in the heart of downtown Fresno, California.  Listed on the National  Register of Historic Places, this beautiful church serves as a foundation for the Fresno Armenian community and is a focal point of historic downtown Fresno. The “Blessing of the Cornerstones” was held on January 14, 1914. At this ceremony, a handful of soil brought from the Monastery of St. Krikor the Illuminator in Garin (Erzeroum) was placed in the foundation along with a “Nshkar” from St. James Monastery in Jerusalem. The first Badarak (Liturgy) was held in the completed basement of the Church on April 12, 1914. The architect of the Church was Boghos Condorjian (Lawrence Cone). The total cost of the Church was $22,594.84. The Holy Trinity Church was located at the center of “Armenian Town,” a ten to twelve-block area in downtown Fresno. This area remained predominantly Armenian until the mid-1950s, when many Armenians there became financially and socially successful and moved out.

*Raffi Tapanian, a licensed attorney in California, says in Cultural Genocide of the Armenian Heritage of Van, Western Armenia, “Van is a city that is currently in Turkey’s Van Province on the eastern side of the Republic of Turkey, located around Lake Van. This city has a long history of being populated by thousands of Armenians in the past 3,000 years under the various Armenian kingdoms and foreign empires, but following the Armenian Genocide of 1915 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, the Armenian population has vanished. Along with the erasure of the Armenian population of Van, the erasure of thousands of years of Armenian heritage has and continues to take place.” For more about Van, see:

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