Khoresh Gheymeh Kadoo Sabz - Iranian Lamb and Yellow Split Pea Stew with Zucchini

Here's my favorite خورش قیمه کدو سبز khoresh-e gheymeh kadoo sabz: a combination of the delicious and popular khoresh gheymeh and khoresh kadoo. Recently, I posted a picture of this dish on my Instagram and I was asked for the recipe. So I made it again and this time I measured the ingredients instead of eyeballing everything and wrote a new blog post! Traditionally, gheymeh is made with small bite-sized lamb, yellow split peas, limoo amani, fried onion, tomato sauce, and topped with fries. Khoresh kadoo sabz is cooked with cubed lamb, lightly fried kadoo (gray squash/zucchini), fried onion, tomato sauce, and limoo amani (dried limes). Gray squash is lighter in color and more round at the bottom than zucchini. For this recipe you can use gray squash or zucchini or baby zucchini if available.
Baby Zucchini

It's worth mentioning that the word کدو kadoo refers to both summer and winter squash such as  pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, or gray squash. سبز Sabz means green in Persian/Farsi.

  کدو حلوایی/ کدو تنبل Kadoo Tanbal/Kadoo Halvaie (Pumpkin & Butternut Squash), Kadoo Sabz (Gray Squash & Zucchini)

Gheymeh Kadoo Sabz - Yellow Split Pea Zucchini Stew

Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless lamb or beef, trimmed and cut into small bite-sized cubes
1 1/2 pounds regular zucchini, peeled and cut lengthwise into thick slices or whole baby zucchini
1 cup yellow split peas
1 large onion, peeled and diced or thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes, peeled and diced
4-5 limoo amani (dried limes), make 2-3 little holes in each of the dried limes with a fork or a knife
1 cinnamon stick (small)
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper *optional
Juice of 1 lemon *optional
Vegetable oil or olive oil


  1. Rinse yellow split peas, place in a pot, add 3 cups of water, add a small stick of cinnamon and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat or until tender and remove foam as it cooks. Set aside. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Fry the zucchini until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion, saute until soft and transparent. Add a pinch of salt and the turmeric powder, stir. Add the minced garlic and saute for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add the meat and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and thoroughly brown on all sides.
  5. Spoon in the tomato paste in the center of the pot, cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomato paste changes color.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes, yellow split peas, limoo amani, 1 teaspoon salt, a pinch of red pepper and enough water to cover the stew by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes. 
  7. Layer zucchini slices or whole baby zucchini on top of the gheymeh. Add a little more water if needed. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes over low heat until the meat and the peas are fully cooked and the flavors come together. 
  8. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in juice of a lime or lemon if you like.
Serve warm with rice, mast o khiar, salad shirazi and sabzi khordan.


Ash-e Goje Farangi with Koofteh Ghelgheli - Hearty Iranian Tomato Soup with Tiny Meatballs

Persian Tomato Soup

Early this summer we planted two rows of different types of tomatoes in our vegetable garden. We are so pleased with the results that we are now planning to only plant tomatoes next summer along with some basil. Tomatoes are easy to grow and are very nutritious. They turn out incredibly tasty and harvesting them is truly gratifying. There are many Iranian recipes that call for tomatoes, tomato sauce or paste. These recipes include dizi, khoresh gheymeh, khoresh bademjan, and estamboli polow and they are usually served with a side of salad shirazi: a simple salad with tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. A ripe and juicy tomato wedge wrapped up in a warm lavash is also a great snack on any given day.

As we are nearing the end of summer, there's still time to take in the sunshine, walk on the beach, and enjoy the abundance of fresh summer produce. With tomatoes still in season it's time to make آش گوجه فرنگی Ash-e goje farangi (tomato soup). This is a very flavorful soup that can be had all year round but is especially delicious as a late summer soup. Every region of Iran has its own version of ash-e goje farangi. They may use different kinds of herbs or spices, add beans, or peas. The Khuzestani (southern-style) آش تماته ash-e tamate is hot and spicy.

Serves 6

5 large tomatoes, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup basmati rice, rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch chives or scallion, chopped
A handful of basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
A pinch of red pepper
Vegetable oil/olive oil
Juice of 1 lime or 1-2 tablespoons abghooreh (verjuice), juice of sour grapes

For کوفته قلقلی Koofteh Ghelgheli - Meatballs

1/2 pound ground beef or lamb
1 small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. In a bowl combine beef, onion, salt and pepper and shape into mini meatballs. Place on a large plate and set aside.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut an "x" in the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and cook for a minute or two. Remove from the pot, allow to cool and peel the skins. Chop or grate the tomatoes on a box grater. Remove the seeds if you prefer.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a pot, saute chopped onions over medium-high heat until the onions become translucent. Add turmeric, stir and add the chopped garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the rice, parsley, scallion, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and a pinch of red pepper.
  6. Add six cups of water, stir, bring to a boil, add the meatballs, reduce the heat, cover and cook over low heat for 45-50 minutes. Periodically, stir the soup and add a little water if needed.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add lime juice/verjuice just before serving.
Serve hot with fresh herbs and warm bread.


For a vegetarian version of this soup you can make it without the meatballs.
For a lighter soup you can reduce the amount of rice to 1/4 of a cup.
You can drizzle نعنا داغ nana dagh (fried dried mint) on top.


Vegetarian Ghormeh Sabzi

Ghormeh Sabzi

Over the years I have received many requests for vegetarian recipes from my readers. I was somewhat hesitant to write vegetarian recipes because I believe that Iranian cuisine is vegetarian friendly and has many vegetarian dishes. If you search my recipe index you'll see that there are many vegetarian options on my blog, such as the bean based dishes like Ash Reshteh, and the Seven-Bean Soup. There are also the vegetable based recipes such as Koo Koo Sabzi and Koo Koo Sibzamini. As for those polow and khoresh (rice and stew) recipes with meat, you can remove the meat or with a little tweaking you can easily adjust the recipes to your liking and enjoy many of the traditional Iranian meals while sticking to your vegetarian diet. Growing up in Iran, I only knew of a couple vegetarians around us. However, with the growing number of vegetarians/vegans and those cutting back on red meat (lamb, beef) for health reasons, some traditional recipes can be modified by substituting ingredients.

I'm a firm believer in maintaining and preserving the integrity of traditional Iranian food and I am always reluctant to make any drastic changes to our traditional beloved recipes. I am so grateful to those culinary magicians of the past that created many timeless recipes to be enjoyed for generations to come. I wonder, if the inventors of ghormeh sabzi or fesenjoon, had any idea that their creations would surpass time and all borders and would be enjoyed by many for years to come.

For today's recipe I decided to do my vegetarian version of this most beloved khoresh. There are a few simple options for customizing vegetarian ghormeh sabzi. The first option is to just omit the meat! The second option is to increase the amount of beans (red kidney beans or pinto beans) by 1/2 cup or more if you like. The third option is to replace the meat with tofu, tempeh or seitan. However, my choice for a قورمه سبزی گیاهی ghormeh sabzi giahi (meat-free ghormeh sabzi) is using baby bella mushrooms for their brown color and meaty texture and flavor.

Vegetarian Ghormeh Sabzi

Serving 4-6

1 cup dried red kidney beans or pinto beans, soaked over night
10 oz baby bella mushrooms or large portabella, trimmed and cut into chunks or sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cups chopped fresh parsley
3 cups chopped leeks, or scallions or chives (tareh)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh fenugreek or a tablespoon dried
4-5 limoo amani (dried limes)
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of a lime
Vegetable oil/olive oil


  1. In a large pot, add beans, cover with water by a couple of inches, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat, cover, leaving the top a little ajar. Cook until beans are tender. 
  2. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat, saute the chopped herbs for about 10-15 minutes or until their color changes. Stir frequently. Set aside.
  3.  In a large stock pot, saute the chopped onions in 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil until golden brown. Add turmeric powder. Stir well.
  4. Add the sauteed herbs, cooked beans, dried limes, salt and pepper to the pot. Add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat. Cover and cook on low setting for about an hour.
  5. In the meantime in a large pot heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they have released most of their liquid. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, place in a bowl and sprinkle with lime juice.
  6. Add the mushrooms to the pot, cook for another 15-20 minutes on low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add a little more water if needed.
Serve up the khoresh in a large bowl with rice, mast o khiar and salad shirazi.


Celebration and Traditions of Nowruz - The Seven S's of Sofreh-ye Haft Seen -1396


نرم نرمک میرسد اینک بهار
خوش به حال روزگار
ای دریغ از تو اگر چون گل نرقصی با نسیم
ای دریغ از من اگر مستم نسازد آفتاب
ای دریغ از ما اگر کامی نگیریم از بهار

~فریدون مشیری

نوروز Nowruz (New Day), the traditional 13-day Iranian celebration of the first day of spring (spring equinox), dates back to the Achaemenid Empire 6th century B.C. Nowruz is a celebration of nature and its revival and rejuvenation. The preparation for the Nowruz festival starts with خانه تکانی khaneh tekani, a thorough spring cleaning. Then there's چهار شنبه سوری Chahar Shanbeh Suri (festival of  fire) that's celebrated on the eve of the last Tuesday of the year. عید نوروز Eid-e Nowruz is a time for Iranians all across the world, as well as other neighboring countries of Iran that share this holiday, to gather together with their families and celebrate the Persian New Year.

هفت سین Haft seen spread is embedded with symbolism and each item on the سفره sofreh has a symbolic meaning. Overall, they represent life, health, prosperity, love, fertility and patience.The Seven S's of Sofreh-ye Haft Seen include the following, سبزه Sabzeh (wheat or lentil sprouts), سرکه Serkeh (vinegar), سماق Somagh (sumac), سیر Seer (garlic), سنجد Senjed (fruit of oleaster tree), سکه  Sekeh(coins), سمنو Samanoo (wheat pudding) and سیب Seeb (apples). Fragrant سنبل sonbol (hyacinth) as well as other fresh spring flowers such as لاله laleh (tulips) and نرگس narges (narcissus) adorn the table. Other items on the sofreh (tablecloth) include ayneh (mirror), candles, colored eggs, and gold fish. Nowruz sweets and ajil (nuts and seeds) may also be found on the sofreh. Food is a major part of the Nowruz celebration and a traditional Persian New Year feast includes fresh herbs which represent earth, nature and healthy eating. A typical Nowruz menu includes: Sabzi Polow ba MahiKookoo SabziReshteh PolowAsh ReshtehSabzi KhordanMast o Khiar and Salad Shirazi.

Nowruz Mobarak! Happy Nowruz!

Ash-e Jo - Barley Soup with Spinach and Cilantro: A Safavid Era Recipe

I was recently gifted an Iranian cookbook titled آشپزی دوره صفوی - Ashpazi Doreh-ye Safavi (Cooking during the Safavid Dynasty). This cookbook is a compilation of two separate books (Karnameh and Madat-al- Hayat) about cooking and recipes from the era of Shah Ismail I ( 1501-1524) and Shah Abbas I (1588-1629). According to the author, Iraj Afshar, many of the recipes in this book were dishes served at the Safavid royal court. The working class people could barely afford most of these extravagant, elaborate and time consuming meals. I suspect that this book would appeal to those interested in the history of Iranian cuisine. While many of the recipes are not easy to read or easy to make, the instructions are vague, the servings are large and the correct measurement of ingredients are left to your imagination, it's wonderful to have a glimpse into the type of  food people used to eat long ago.

On a personal note, I am very passionate about recreating old and forgotten recipes and have a deep desire to bring them back to life, I decided to try out one of the recipes and among the many recipes listed in the book I came across a simple vegetarian barley soup with spinach and cilantro. I would think a warm bowl of barley soup would have appealed to the Safavid royal court as well as the working class people especially in the cold days of winter. I have written two other barley recipes in the past, Soup-e Jo and Ash-e Jo and this آش جو ash-e jo recipe would be a great addition to my barley recipes. I used this brief and loose ash recipe with vague directions and converted it into a usable recipe and I'm delighted to share it with you all. I tried to stay true to the original recipe and keep it as authentic as possible while coming up with my own measurements and proportions. Adding lime juice, butter/olive oil to the ash is simply a personal preference and you may skip it if you like.

Ash-e Jo - Barley Soup with Spinach and Cilantro
Serves 4-6

1 cup barley
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped spinach
A handful of almonds
Salt and pepper
Fresh squeezed lime juice *optional
Butter/olive oil *optional

  1. Place the raw almonds in a small bowl, cover with boiling water, let sit for a few minutes, remove the skins and let the almonds dry completely. You can use a food processor or a mortar and pestle to grind the almonds. Set aside.
  2. Rinse barley under cool running water, drain and place in a saucepan. Cover the barley with a couple of inches of water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. cover partially and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.
  3. Add the chopped cilantro, spinach and ground almonds. Add more water if needed. Simmer on low heat for another 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stir well, taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve the ash in individual soup bowls and drizzle each serving with a generous squeeze of  lime juice.