Fruits, Nuts and Herbs

Sabzi Khordan

Persians love fresh herbs and eat them with every meal whether formal, fancy, of fast. The Persian word for these fresh herbs is sabzi (سبزی). Sabzi comes from the Persian word sabz, which means green. In this way it is similar to the English expression “greens” which is used for leafy vegetables in salads. Green also has cultural significance being associated with the Persian new year which begins on the first day of spring. Sabzi polow ba mahi or herb rice with fish is a traditional new year’s dish.The herbs eaten with meals are always fresh, but dried may be used in cooking when fresh are not available. Several classic Persian dishes are almost entirely composed of herbs. Two examples would be an herb stew called khoresht-e gormeh sabzi and an herb egg dish called kookoo sabzi which is similar to a fritatta.


The plate of fresh herbs served with almost every meal is sabzi khordan, which means to eat greens or herbs. Many of the herbs used in Persian cooking can be found in most grocery stores. A few are difficult to find unless you have access to a Persian or Afghani market. It would be rare to use all of the herbs listed here at one time. And replacements can always be made using any green herbs that you like.Note that the English spelling of the Persian words is a transliteration of the Farsi.

Persian Herb List

English Persian Farsi (فارسی) Genus Species
Basil Reyhan ریحان Ocimum basilicum
Cilantro Gishniz گشنیز Coriandrum sativum
Cress Shahi شاهی Lepidium sativum
Dill Shevid شوید Anthemum graveolens
Fenugreek Shanbalileh شنبلیله Trigonella foenum-graecum
Green Onion Piazcheh پیازچه Allium fistulosum
Persian Leek Tareh تره Allium ampeloprasum var. persicum
Mint Nanah نعناع Mentha X piperita
Parsley Jafary جعفری Petroselinum crispum
Persian Shallot Moosir موسیر Allium hirtifolium, Boiss
Radish Tarbocheh تربچه Raphanus sativus
Saffron Zafaron زعفران Crocus sativus
Tarragon Tarkhun ترخون Artemisi


Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the "saffron crocus". Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpel.

Saffron is widely used in Iranian food and sweets.



Wonderfully delicious pistachio nuts have long been revered as the symbol of wellness and robust health since ancient times. The kernels are enriched with many health-benefiting nutrients essential for optimum health.

Just a hand full of pistachios a day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein.

Iran is one of the main producers of the pistachio and ways of preparing it makes it so delicious it is the most popular nut in Iran.


Organic pomegranate seeds or refreshing pomegranate juice is a delicious, refreshing snack!

It is a favorite among children since they “ab-lambo” , which means smashing into juice. When one cant be bothered the trouble of pealing the fruit, ab-lambu is the solution, which means smashing it smoothly with fingers, than making a small whole in the skin and sucking out the juice (very popular method for smaller pomegranate). Eating it raw is also very popular in the season, but these are not what makes pomegranate special and essential to Iranian life style.

In the season of pomegranate which is autumn, the juice is extracted and boiled until it becomes thick and turns to a dark brown sauce. This juice is the main ingredient in one of the most popular Iranian meals, it is called “Fesenjan stew” which eaten with white rice. Beside pomegranate sauce, it has chicken, walnut and spices. Cooking good fesenjan shows you’re a good cook, its some how a tricky food. Since the sauce is also available in sweet or sour tastes, the fesenjan stew varies according to household taste.

Eating it raw is also very popular in the season, but these are not what makes pomegranate special and essential to Iranian life style.