Ghormeh sabzi is a classic and traditional Persian herb stew known for its unique savory, sweet, and slightly sour taste. Seared beef or lamb is combined with sautéed fresh herbs, kidney beans, and tangy dried limes, then slowly cooked until it develops an incredible depth of flavor. Serve this delicious stew over fluffy basmati rice for a filling and satisfying meal. Although you’ll need to set aside over an hour to allow the stew to cook, it's actually easy to make and your time will pay off tenfold. Plus, the longer it sits, the more delicious it is — making leftovers the next day even better!
Why You'll Love Ghormeh Sabzi
- Classic Persian recipe. There are a handful of Persian recipes that are really considered an iconic national treasure. And ghormeh sabzi is no exception. It's a traditional dish that has likely been prepared in every Persian household and one that is often thought of when you think of your mother's home cooking. In fact, many consider it to be the unofficial national food.
- Easy stovetop recipe. Some might think that making ghormeh sabzi is intricate and complex, but it really isn't. You just need to dedicate some time to let it simmer for over an hour on the stove, but there is no major prep work during this braising process. Once you have seared the meat and sautéed the vegetables, it just turns into a waiting game. In fact, the longer the stew sits after it's been cooked, the more intense and delicious the fllavors become.
- It's loaded with flavor. If you love dishes packed with flavor that don't disappoint, you need to try ghormeh sabzi. Sautéed fresh herbs and dried Persian limes make this dish stand out by lending it distinct depth of flavor with hints of sour and sweet tastes. So if you want a truly unique dish to impress your palette, this Persian herb stew is it.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make this traditional ghormeh sabzi, you will need the following ingredients (full quantities in the recipe card below):
- stewing beef - you can also use stewing veal or lamb instead.
- vegetable oil
- herbs - it wouldn't be a herb stew without a lot of herbs. You will need fresh parsley, spinach, and cilantro. Fenugreek is also a required taste in this stew, we used dried fenugreek but you can substitute with 1.5 tablespoons of fresh fenugreek.
- ground turmeric
- red kidney beans - you will need to soak the kidney beans overnight for this recipe to work, otherwise the beans will be undercooked. So it's important to plan ahead with this recipe. You can also substitute with canned beans. Be sure to rinse and drain them, and then add in them in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- dried limes - we get our dried limes at a specialty Persian store or you can find them online on Amazon. If you are unable to find any, you can substitute with 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice for a similar flavor.
- salt and pepper
You can also easily double this recipe by doubling all the ingredients.
How to Make the Best Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew)
- Prepare the beef. Heat oil in a large skillet or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until the oil sizzles, about 1 minute. Add in cubed beef and sear until browned on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 1 minute. Season with salt and turmeric and mix well to coat. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Sauté herbs. Heat oil in a 4 quart Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat until the oil sizzles, about 1 minute. Add in fresh herbs including parsley, spinach, and cilantro. Sauté until wilted and heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with turmeric and dried fenugreek and mix well to combine.
- Combine ingredients. Add in the beef mixture, pre-soaked kidney beans, water, and dried limes (or add the dried limes in the last 30 minutes of cooking if you don't want them to get too soft and be able to easily remove them once cooked). Stir well to combine and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Simmer. Turn down the heat to low and cover with the lid. Let the stew simmer over low heat until the beef is tender, about 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Serve. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm over Basmati rice.
How to Serve
- How to store: Keep leftover Persian herb stew stored in the pot you cooked it in with the lid, or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- How to freeze: Allow the ghormeh sabzi to cool down to room temperature and then transfer it into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stove over medium-low heat until warmed through, about 5-10 minutes.
More Middle Eastern Recipes
- Persian Shirazi Salad
- Persian Saffron Chicken Kebabs (Joojeh Kabob)
- Basmati Rice with Saffron
- One Pot Lentils
- Persian Rice Cookies
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