May 21, 2017

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.



  1. I had a Persian professor in college who was vegan. She made gormeh sabzi with mushrooms. She would keep them whole so it felt like chunks of stew meat for us non-vegans. And it was delicious! This dish reminds me of that dear lady. : )

  2. thank you for sharing this recipe, Its about the time. I've been searching for vegetarian recipe that I want to serve for sunday dinner next week some of my friends are vegetarian, never across of my mind that I can substitute the meat with mushroom, such a clever idea.. Mercy, dear friend..

  3. Mushrooms instead of meat! What a great idea, Azita joon! I'm going to try your recipe this w/end. xo

  4. Thank you Azita khanoom for a great work you have done here. For a vegetarian ghormeh sabzi I have Oyster mushroom and really liked the texture, but my favorite is to tripled the red kidney beans from 1 to 3 cups, it provides higher protein and it is much more palatable. Yahya

  5. I made this today it’s turn out so good ..

  6. This looks incredible!!! Can't wait to make it!

  7. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    I am Iranian and Vegan. I was also vegetarian for many years. I cook Iranian dishes without any animal products since years, in particular Ghormeh sabzi with mushrooms. It is very easy to make Iranian dishes vegetarian and vegan as the falvours of Persian cousin comes from plant based ingredients of the dish.