Ghormeh Sabzi - Persian Herb Stew



Khoresh-e Ghormeh Sabzi is one of the most delicious and popular dishes among Iranians. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like ghormeh sabzi. The combination of flavorful and aromatic herbs, slow cooked lamb cubes, fork-tender beans and dried lemons make the khoresh very tasty and nutritious. My mother would call this dish a Sabzi Stew (vegetable stew) because she would add a whole lot of vegetables to the pot including spinach and dill. This is my simplified and the more common version.



Ghormeh Sabzi - Persian Herb Stew 

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 pounds meat (lamb or beef) washed and cubed
1 cup red kidney beans or pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 bunches flat-leafed parsley
1 bunch cilantro
2 large leeks or 4 scallions (green stems only)
1 small bunch fresh fenugreek, or 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek (shanbalileh), too much fenugreek will cause ghormeh sabzi to taste bitter
3-4 dried lemons (limoo amani), or 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil
Water

Method:
  1. Clean and wash the herbs, dry thoroughly and chop finely. 
  2. Heat 1/3 cup of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the chopped fresh herbs for about 15 minutes, stir frequently. Set aside.
  3. In a large stew pot, saute chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of oil until they become golden brown. 
  4. Add the meat, turmeric, salt, pepper and fry until all sides are brown.
  5. Add the soaked dried beans, fried vegetables and dried lemons. 
  6. Pour in enough water to cover the mixture by about 2 inches, bring to a boil on high heat for just a couple of minutes, lower the heat, cover and cook on medium to low heat for 1 1/2 hours. 
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary and add a little more water if needed. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for another 30 minutes. The longer ghormeh sabzi simmers the better it tastes. ( khoob ja miofteh). It would also taste better reheated the next day. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving. 
Serve hot with basmati rice, salad shirazi and mast o khiar.

Enjoy!

72 comments:

  1. Azita, for some odd reason i am really craving this today, but i dont have all the sabzis at hand at home. a wishlist for the weekend. this looks really amazing.

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  2. Thanks Shayma, love to see the photos when you make it.

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  3. Ghormeh Sabzi is my favorite food, and I am not even Persian! :) Yours looks very, very good!!

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  4. Anonymous, Thank you for stopping by and commenting.:)

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  5. It's delicious without meat, too! A favorite for vegetarians/vegans. I even like it for breakfast!

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  6. This is my favorite dish at the cafeteria! I'm excited to make it at home

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  7. Oliver, ghormeh refers to the pieces of lamb that have been browned/fried and salted. This was also a popular method of meat preservation long before before refrigeration.

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  8. This is so delicious! As you said, it tastes even better the next day.

    I made it vegetarian and added extra beans and some seitan but I think I'd leave the seitan out next time.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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  9. خانوم آزیتا سلام ؛ من امروز وبلاگ شما رو کشف کردم و به فارسی هم نوشتم که بگم واقعا لذت بردم که یک ایرانی وبلاگ به این خوبی و پرباری به زبان انگلیسی داره ؛ امیدوارم روز به روز موفق تر باشین :))

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  10. Salam Roz Jaan,
    Az lotf va mohabbat-e shoma besiar moteshakeram.
    Salamat o shad o movafagh bashid,
    Azita

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  11. I guess there could be regional variations to this dish. I believe the original version includes only Parsley, Fenugreek, and Tareh (Persian leeks). My Family are originally from Tabriz so they use Black eyed peas instead of pinto or kidney beans. My great aunt still makes ghormeh and I had it the last time I was in iran.

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  12. Ghormeh Sabzi was introduced by my Persian friends (I am Korean:) and this became one of my favorite dishes. They would bring me homemade sabzis from Iran and I would even cook it for myself. Recently, I was very excited to find dried sabzis in an International market, however, I miss the real homemade one. I also miss Persian rice (a mix of yellow and white) and tadig that eat with Ghormeh Sabzi.

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  13. Azita,
    Wow, for a first time making this dish everyone was blown away. I doubled it up since I had a whole lamb leg in the freezer and cubed it for this. My total cooking time turned out to be about two hours and it came out wonderfully and better like you said. Served it with tahdig and everyone was very happy. I'm still on the hunt for dried lemons in my town. Would you have any retailer anywhere that ships Persian goods in the US you can recommend?
    What a treat as this was the top Persian recipe I had to try as I always enjoyed it at my many friends' houses growing up in Beverly Hills.
    Azita you are a GEM!

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    1. Avi, thank you and I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! You may want to try the Sadaf products: http://www.sadaf.com/persian-foods/

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  14. Great recipe. Tastes and smells woderful. Though we use more fenugreek and mixed lamb and beef meat in it. Thanks for this :)

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  15. Do you think this dish could be made with lentils rather than meat? Thanks.

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    1. Lulu, I think adding lentils instead of meat might work well in this recipe.

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  16. Beautiful work...thank you for this great website and your wonderful dishes....so proud of you...! Thank you for sharing ...so so helpful...love the pics btw.
    Merci Azita jaan. :)
    Parastoo

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  17. Thank you for posting this fabulous recipe and explaining it in such a simple way! I'm looking forward to trying more Persian recipes now from your blog.

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  18. Azita, I love your blog! My father is Iranian and my mother is American, and I really have only ever had Persian food in Iran or at Iranian restaurants, or as results of my mother and me experimenting in our kitchens, because we have almost no Iranian friends or family here at all. :( I love Iranian food, but recently I started following a mostly plant-based diet, so I am going to try to adapt some of these recipes for my current dietary restrictions, starting with the gheymeh!

    Dast-e toon dard nakoneh!

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  19. Azita thank you so much for posting this recipes! My mom always adds a little dried herb to the sabzi as she says the herbs here don't taste like back home. Can you tell me how to incorporate them into the dish?

    Merci, Parissa.

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    1. Parisa jan, soak the dried herbs for about 10 minutes, drain completely and then fry lightly. Add to the dish and mix well.

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  20. Greetings!
    I am loving your recipes this summer (especially for some of the traditional dishes eaten during Ramadan)...for a long time I would turn to Najimieh Batamanglij, but I have been coming here more and more. I am American, husband is Persian, have been cooking mostly Persian food for my family since we got married 19 yrs ago...I always consult my cookbooks (authentic sources)since I am not native and don't have all those childhood tastes embedded in my cooking soul : ) Of the Persian food blogs yours is hands down my favorite...authentic, lots of love, personal touches with a little mystery left...thanks for sharing and please keep on doing so!
    Valerie in Seattle

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  21. Azita,

    Should we at any point take the Limoo Amani out of the stew or do we leave them in even for serving? When I tried your Gheymey recipe I left them in, but the other ingredients were masked by the sourness of the lemons. Maybe I should try another brand?

    Thanks

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    1. Ghormeh sabzi is usually served with the limoo amani in it. However, you can take them out before serving or you can use just a couple of them in the stew. You don't need to try a different brand. They all taste the same.

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  22. Thank you for the post. Can you include spinach in this recipe?

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  23. hi! does fenugreek necesarily for this recipe i don't have any :(

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    Replies
    1. Yes, fenugreek is necessary for this recipe and without it ghormeh sabzi would not taste as good.

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    2. For sure the fenugreek is the key. Maybe order online in the dry form.

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  24. Hi Azita! Second time I have made this recipe and it turned out amazing! Probably one of the best ghormeh sabzis I have ever had. I am an Iranian, married to a Canadian. Before I got married, I was never really interested in cooking. My mother would do all the Persian cooking at home. But now I enjoy cooking and I am expecting my first child. I want her to grow up with Persian food because it is part of maintaining and passing on the beautiful Persian culture. I don't have any Iranian friends or family here where I live. I am very glad your blog exists! Please keep it up! Maryam

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  25. I was taught to use black eyed peas rather than the red beans. Also, when I fry my veggies, I do it on low heat and actually fry them until they are somewhat crispy. This takes a good amount of time. I find using lamb adds much more flavor than beef.

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  26. Hi Azita,
    My khoresh is cooking at the moment, it smells devine. I do have to admit I am using dried mixed herbs that are sold especially for ghormeh sabzi. I cannot get the big amounts of fresh herbs this time of the year, especially fenugreek. We'll see how it turns out.
    i wanted to ask you about freezing ghormeh sabzi and other khoresh. Is this something you would do or rather discourage from doing?

    Regards,
    Sharon

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    1. Hi Sharon, you can cook ghormeh sabzi ahead of time and freeze it until you are ready to serve. I freeze Iranian stews (khoreh) all the time.

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  27. Update: it turned out marvelous. The whole apartment smelled delicious. I have now managed to freeze a couple of portions, but no more ... can't stay away from it. :) Thanks once more for sharing you recipes.
    Sharon

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    1. Thanks for the update and I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

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  28. 4 bunches of parsley sounds a lot. It is 4 prepacked bunches that you buy at the main supermarkets ?

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    1. Clare, It may sound like a lot but when once they are finely chopped, fried and mixed with all the other ingredients, it'll make a lush ghormeh sabzi!

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  29. Hi Azita,

    I just want to tell you that I am very grateful for your excellent step-by-step recipes. I got married to a wonderful Iranian man last August and I've been able to make a lot of great food because of you. My husband tells his Iranian friends that I cook better than Iranian women; but that is only because I'm following the recipes of a great Iranian woman cook! Thanks so much! Love from Adele

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    1. Dear Adele, thanks so much for your kind words! It's very much appreciated. x

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  30. I've never had this dish before nor have I eaten Persian food before. Just wanted to confirm before making this that there is NO spinach in this recipe as I've seen in other recipes?

    Thanks.

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    1. No, there is no spinach in this recipe.

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    2. Azita, I have The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallows. Upon seeing this recipe online I tried the boiok. There it was a different variation but the same name. Not much difference. I will have to try both recipes. I worked in the Middle East and enjoyed so much of the food I ate there. I have several cookbooks from the region and try my hand at preparing many of them. I brought several of the dry ingredients back to the USA when I returned home. One question, How long will Limoo Amani keep? Ray, Nevada USA

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    3. If kept in a cool dry place limoo amani should keep well for up to two years without losing their flavor.

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  31. I really enjoy this dish and have had a vegetarian version in a Persian Restaurant. One of the best most flavorful dishes I have ever tasted :) I would like to prepare this without the meat. Do you recommend increasing the beans if not adding meat? Thanks!

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    1. Natalie, you can increase the beans or what I like to do for the vegetarian version is to add sauteed shiitake mushrooms.

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  32. wow so excited that I stumbled upon your blog. I'm not iranian but had aush reshteh at someone's house onetime and it was delicious. You have such passion for food, love reading your blog. I am going to try your aush reshteh recipe.

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  33. How do you get some of the grains of rice red like that? Is it from the saffron (which I thought was more yellow) or is it another type of rice mixed in? Thank you for the recipe

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    1. The more saffron you use the more intense and deeper the color.

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  34. Thanks Azita for such a easy, simple and logical recipe. I was looking for Ghormeh Sabzi recipe to send to a friend who asked me about my lunch at work. I was unable to find a fair and easy recipe with accessible ingredients that suits my friend's request. Almost everyone (those i saw) exaggerated the way of cooking or ingredients (like adding potato/Persian spices/etc) and made it different from what we know as Ghormeh Sabzi in Iran and difficult for people living outside of Iran for preparation.

    With your permission I advised my friend to use canned kidney beans instead of cooking it as (you know) people don't like to cook foods that takes long time here.

    Thank you again and god help you to continue the good job you are doing.

    Aussies say: your blood's worth bottling :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! :)

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  35. Don't know where to find fenugreek leaves here. Would it be okay to use fenugreek seeds, instead? If so, how much? Thanks!

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    1. You can use dried fenugreek leaves which can be found at Iranian grocery stores. Fenugreek seeds are not a good substitute for leaves for ghormeh sabzi.

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  36. I just made this and it turned out great. I learned about this dish through an Iranian friend I had while living abroad, and now that I'm back (in Canada), I've been trying to track down the ingredients for this. After 3 stores, I managed to get everything I needed.

    Your recipe is very easy to follow and tastes so much like what my friend made me. Thank you so much! I'm browsing through your other recipes now, excited to try something else

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    1. I'm so glad you liked the recipe. Thank you!

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  37. I ordered this from a nearby Persian restaurant and am excited to have some left over with the saffron rice :) yay! Mama made this as a staple :)

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  38. Azita joon,

    I have bunch of dried herbs that I want to use for this; could you please tell me what is the equivalent of one bunch of fresh herbs to tablespoon dried herbs?

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    1. There is about 1 1/4 cups of parsley leaves in an average parsley bunch and 1 cup of chopped fresh parsley leaves equal about 4 tablespoons dried parsley.

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  39. The meat is what gives it the flavor and blends it all together,this would not make a good vegetarian dish.

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  40. Ross, Edinburgh, ScotlandApril 15, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    My Iranian colleagues brought this into work for lunch and the smell was amazing; too bad they had just finished eating so I couldn't get a taste. They told me the name of the dish and here I am. I'm getting the ingredients from the supermarket today. Looks like a prefect slow cooker recipe. Wish me luck.

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    1. Ross, thanks for giving the recipe a try and please let me know how it turns out!

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    2. Ross, Edinburgh, ScotlandApril 29, 2016 at 5:50 AM

      It went quite well for my fist attempt! I think I put a little too much water in and maybe overcooked (did slow cooker low 8 hrs so probably too much) so the herb flavour was less strong than compared to what my colleagues prepare. However, I added a little curry powder and this pepped it up. Delicious all the same and I'll tweak it next time accordingly. Need to find some dried lemons maybe for the real deal here.

      Thanks very much for the recipe. Recommended.

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  41. Christer KarlssonApril 22, 2016 at 9:28 PM

    Thanks for the recipe! I made it with dried sabzi veggies but used tuna filets instead of lamb, it was delicious =)

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  42. Thank you so much for the delicious recepie! I have a question, I doubled the ingredients for a party. If I leave the dried lemons in the stew for 2 days, will it turn the taste of the stew bitter?

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    1. Niloufar jan, leaving the dried lemons in the stew will not turn the stew bitter and ghormeh sabzi just tastes better the next day! Thank you and noush-e jan!

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  43. Great! Merci!! It turned out really good. Thanks again!

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