5 Healthy Persian Recipes to Satisfy Your Vegan, Vegetarian, and Carnivore Friends

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.


The breakdown:

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.

Vegan and Vegetarian friendly*

The essential spices you’ll find in any Persian home ↓ grind them up and it’s called Advieh. This flavorful aromatic mixture of antioxidant spices is soooo good for you!! The health benefits are mind-blowing. I used these spices in the stews I made.
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne
  • Cumin
  • Dried lime
  • Dried rose buds
  • Saffron

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

We made two versions of the Ghormeh Sabze. One with meat and the other without.


Vegan and Vegetarian friendly*

What You’ll Need ↓
  • Frozen or fresh chopped spinach
  • 2lb of stewing meat
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • Fresh parsley, cilantro, and chives
  • Sautéed onions and crushed garlic
Note: You can replace the spinach with any green herb you prefer. A lot of people use leeks and I’ve made it with kale before too.

For the meaty-ghormeh sabze → I massaged the meat with the Advieh spice, covered it and placed in the fridge to marinate overnight.

The next day, to cook the dish → I used a large pot. Added my sautéed onions and raw crushed garlic. I added the marinated meat and soaked kidney beans. Cooked on medium for about 20 minutes. Then removed it from the pot and set it aside.


Using the same pot → I added some oil, then the chopped spinach. A 2 cups of water and left it to boil for a few minutes. Halfway through I added the chopped herbs for additional aroma. Then the meat. Cook on low/medium for a couple hours so it all marinates within each other.


Follow the same instructions for the vegan/vegetarian version of it. But instead of adding the advieh to the meat → add it in halfway through. Some say towards the end so the flavor, aroma, and health benefits get cooked less.


Khoresht Gheimeh Badamjoon


Vegan and Vegetarian friendly*

What You’ll Need ↓
  • Yellow split peas
  • Tomatoes paste (small can) I recommend Heinz
  • 6 eggplants
  • Sautéed onions
  • Crushed garlic
The Prep → Soak the yellow split peas the night before too. Wash and peel the eggplants in lengthwise slices. Pat dry them with a paper towel. Then drizzle some olive oil and slap some salt generously on. Leave them out to dry overnight. The eggplant will release water — this helps eliminate the bitter taste eggplants usually have.


Cook the eggplants → The next day, cook them in the oven at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes. Or use a pan to fry them on the stove.


Note: We used 4 of those eggplants for this dish and used the other two for our khaskeh bademjoon.


Cook your split peas in a smaller pot by adding 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until split peas are tender. Drain and set aside.

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.

Then → Add the eggplants and split peas and cook for 1 hour.


Maste Khiar

What You’ll Need ↓
  • 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!

Salad Shirazi

Vegan and Vegetarian friendly*

Shirazi is named after Shiraz in Iran. Being the sixth most populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province. At the 2011 census, the population of the city was 1,460,665 and its built-up area with “Shahr-e Jadid-e Sadra” was home to 1,500,644 inhabitants.


What You’ll Need ↓
  • 6 Cucumbers
  • 6 Tomatoes
  • Bunch of fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt and pepper as desired

Kashkeh Bademjoon

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.

Persian food is extremely healthy and it’s been long proven that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best for you. I hope these recipes helped