5 Healthy Persian Recipes to Satisfy Your Vegan, Vegetarian, and Carnivore Friends
A how-to recipe guide for 5 Persian dishes that are delicious, healthy, and exotic!
Khoresht Ghormeh Sabzi •Khoresht Gheimeh Badamjoon • Salad Shirazi • Kashkeh Bademjoon • and Maste Khiar
Sidenote: Khoresht (in Farsi) translates to stew in English. #themoreyouknow
Growing up I was very lucky to have a mother who home cooked me all 3 meals → and provided a lot of snacks in between. Now that I’m older — I truly appreciate the benefits and taste of a home cooked meal. This year for our holiday celebration with my American in-laws — they wanted to incorporate a bit of my culture into our holiday traditions. So we all got together and prepped the night before to have a Persian feast for Christmas Day!
Because our house is filled with both carnivores, vegans, and vegetarians. When I was making the shopping list for this — I was surprised to see how much vegan and vegetarian friendly dishes consume the Middle Eastern foods.
How to prep that rice → I used basmati rice. Rinse your rice the night before and leave it to soak. To start, fill a bowl with raw rice and continuously rinse. Keep doing this until the water is clear. Sometimes it takes me up to a dozen times. But once the water looks clear — leave the water in the rice bowl overnight to soak.
Soaking gives the grains a head start on cooking and yields a better texture—it’s a common step in cooking basmati.
How to cook the rice →
- Fill a large nonstick saucepan (at least 6 quarts) with 12 cups water; add oil and salt. Cover and bring to a brisk boil over high heat.
- Add the rice and continue cooking over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.
- After 3-5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop some grains from the water. Break one grain in half to make sure it is “al dente”. Turn off the heat and pour rice into the colander to drain; set aside.
To garnish your rice use Saffron (or turmeric). Crush the saffron. Then in a small saucepan, mix the crushed saffron with hot water. Steep for a few minutes, until the water becomes yellow. Then, mix the saffron water with steamed white rice.
- Dried lime
- Dried rose buds
Most noteworthy → the majority of our dishes are based with sautéed onions. I like to dice them in small squares for these stews. Cook them in a frying pan until they’re golden brown. They add so much flavor! I sautéed mine with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Khoresht Ghormeh Sabze
- Frozen or fresh chopped spinach
- 2lb of stewing meat
- 1 can of kidney beans
- Fresh parsley, cilantro, and chives
- Sautéed onions and crushed garlic
For the meaty-ghormeh sabze → I massaged the meat with the Advieh spice, covered it and placed in the fridge to marinate overnight.
Khoresht Gheimeh Badamjoon
- Yellow split peas
- Tomatoes paste (small can) I recommend Heinz
- 6 eggplants
- Sautéed onions
- Crushed garlic
To cook the dish → In a medium deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add your already sautéed onions, cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Here’s where you would add your meat then increase heat to high. Cook until all liquid evaporates, which will be about 5 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, salt, pepper and turmeric. Cook for 5 minutes or until tomato paste changes the color of oil. Frying tomato paste develops a deeper flavor and almost a saffron-like color in the sauce. Add 3 cups hot water, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low.
- Yogurt — I like using Fage or the European ones from Trader Joes
- Fresh mint chopped finely
- Raw garlic crushed
- Cucumbers chopped
Whip your yogurt — you want to be almost in a thick liquid form. Add your chopped cucumber and mint. Feel free to add any other fresh herb that’s finely chopped. My mom also grinds celery and mixes it in. I swear it’s such a delicious way to eat your veggies — thanks mom!
- 6 Cucumbers
- 6 Tomatoes
- Bunch of fresh parsley chopped
- 1 Red onion
- 1 Lemon
- Salt and pepper as desired
For this — you already prepped!
What You’ll Need ↓
- 2 Eggplants
- Olive oil
- Crushed garlic
- Salt and pepper as desired
How to cook it → Take some of the eggplant you had cooking in the oven and mash it. Add some olive oil and crushed garlic and continue mixing until desired texture. I topped mine with some of that delicious maste khiar we made earlier. But if you want to take it up a notch — replace the maste with kashk instead. In addition, crush and cook some dried mints in olive oil to spread over the dish.