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 bean-based dishes like Ash Reshteh, and the Seven-Bean Soup. There are also 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
1 cup dried red kidney beans or pinto beans, soaked overnight
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 fenugreek
4-5 limoo amani (dried limes)
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of a lime
Vegetable oil/olive oil
- 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.
- 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.
- In a large stockpot, saute the chopped onions in 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil until golden brown. Add turmeric powder. Stir well.
- 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 heat. Cover and cook on low setting for about an hour.
- 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.
- 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.