This recipe for Instant Pot Ghormeh Sabzi serves up the classic Persian herb stew without waiting all day for it to be ready.
Ghormeh Sabzi is one of my favorite Persian stews. My family and I literally fight over the last bit of leftover stew and who is going to get it. So needless to say, I make ghormeh sabzi quite often.
Although it is not a complicated recipe to make, it isn’t for the faint of heart. If you do not have a food processor, you have to chop all the herbs by hand. And the stew has to simmer all day until it is ready. But by using the instant pot, you can make this delicious stew in a fraction of the time.
Why you must try this recipe
If there is one dish that is quintessential Persian, it is Khoreshteh Ghormeh Sabzi, an herb stew made with parsley, cilantro, green onions and fenugreek. Not only is it incredibly aromatic, but it is so ridiculously delicious.
The stew is made with either beef or lamb. For beef, you can use stew meat, chunks of London broil, chuck roast or shanks. For lamb, only shanks are used. You can also make this dish vegetarian and either omit meat altogether or add mushrooms.
Ghormeh Sabzi also has beans in the dish. I prefer to use red kidney beans, but many Persians also choose to use pinto. The stew is served on a bed of fluffy basmati rice.
As much as I love eating ghormeh sabzi, I won’t lie. It’s labor-intensive and takes all day to cook. There’s the vegetables to clean and chop, then the stewing of the meat, the sautéing of the vegetables, and basically simmering all day to let the flavors melt together.
So when I do make it, I make a massive amount of stew so we can enjoy it over and over again.
Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom and technically have all day to get the stew made, I still wish I could speed the process up a bit. I am a very impatient woman. I figured this was the perfect job for my Instant Pot.
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Are you part of the Instant-Pot fan club? All of my friends have been asking me about it and what I think of it. I have a confession. My 6-quart Instant Pot sat in its box for over six months before I finally took it out and used it for the first time. Then it took another six months to use it again.
I don’t mind cooking the slow traditional way, but I do understand the appeal of what the Instant Pot offers. I make Persian rice the traditional way, I don’t use a rice cooker or the instant pot. It’s all about the tahdig, that delicious crust you can only get by cooking rice in regular pot.
I have not tried making yogurt in the Instant Pot, but I’ve heard rave reviews about how easy it is. I have an 8-quart slow cooker that does the job for our big family. All in all, I was a skeptical about the Instant Pot living up to all the hype.
The first time I made ghormeh sabzi in my Instant Pot, I was pleasantly surprised. The flavor was good and I was happy to see that I could double my initial recipe and make enough ghormeh sabzi for 8 big servings. But most importantly, the stew was ready to eat 90 minutes after I started.
Ingredients you need
- Fresh herbs: This magic concoction is different for different cooks. I use fresh parsley, cilantro and green onions
- Onion: Use a brown or white onion.
- Beef stew meat: You can use chunks of chuck roast, London broil or butcher cut stew meat.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper and turmeric.
- Pantry staples: Olive oil, beef broth, canned red kidney beans and all purpose flour.
- Dried fenugreek: I normally cannot find fresh fenugreek so I always use dried fenugreek.
- Persian dried limes: Dried Persian limes offer tremendous flavor to this dish. Although you can use lemon juice instead, this stew is known for its use of limoo omani.
- Lemon juice (optional): I use a combination of dried Persian limes and lemon juice because my family likes this dish on the sour side. Adding the extra lemon juice is optional.
1. Remove stems, especially the thick woody ones, from parsley and cilantro. Wash, drain and spin green vegetables dry. A salad spinner works great with this step.
2. Once dried, chop vegetables in batches using a food processor with a metal blade and set aside.
3. Clean green onions and cut into thin slices and separating whites from greens.
4. Peel and finely chop onion.
5. In a large bowl mix together meat, salt, pepper, turmeric and flour until meat is coated evenly. Set aside.
6. Press the “Sauté” function key on your 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot. Select “More” temperature with the “Adjust” key. When Instant Pot displays “Hot” add olive oil. When oil is hot, add reserved stew meat and brown meat all over. When meat is browned, remove meat and reserve.
7. Add more oil to hot Instant Pot. Stir in chopped onions and sauté until onions start to soften.
8. Stir in reserved white parts of the green onions and cook for another 2 minutes.
9. Stir in reserved green parts of the green onions, chopped parsley and cilantro and continue cooking.
10. Stir in fenugreek and add beef back to the pot.
11. Carefully pierce dried limes with a sharp knife. If you like your stew more on the sour lemony side, add 6 dried limes. If you don’t know how you like it, start with two. You can add lemon juice later to adjust the flavor to your preference. Add dried limes, broth and lemon juice (optional) to stew.
12. Place the lid on your instant pot, turn the vent to seal and set on meat/stew for 35 minutes. Once the timer goes off and the stew is cooked, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure manually. You can also let all the pressure release naturally if you have time.
13. Drain and rinse beans. Stir in kidney beans with the stew. Place the lid on your instant pot, turn the vent to seal and set on warm for 15-30 minutes.
14. Open Instant Pot and serve with steamy basmati rice.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Now true fans of this stew will argue that that ghormeh sabzi should not be served the day it was made. That it tastes infinitely better after a day or two. I do agree with this fact: ghormeh sabzi tastes even better the next day. But once my kids walk in the door from school and smell that distinct smell of ghormeh sabzi, well, they won’t wait the next day.
After making this stew in the instant pot several times now, my finicky family is quite smitten with the results. My husband told me that the flavor is great despite the short cooking time. Would it taste even better the next day, of course!!
But I can’t deny how easy it was to make this stew in the Instant Pot. Especially when I turned it on to stew, left the house to pickup my carpool run, and return to see that the pressure valve was singing in my kitchen and the ghormeh sabzi was nearly ready.
Now there’s the question of color of the Instant Pot ghormeh sabzi.
Just like in other cultures, there is much debate on the right way to sauté the herbs for this dish. Some like to cook the herbs in a lot of oil for a long period of time, until the color of the herbs turns into a very dark green, sometimes near black.
Others swear by using DRIED herbs for this dish, which I personally think is a travesty. I’m sorry, but fresh is best.
For this recipe, I brown the meat, onions and vegetables using the Instant Pot. Even on high heat, I found that I got better results with my stove and pan. The deep Instant Pot honestly steams your food in sauté mode, especially with these ingredients and amounts.
You can totally do all of this over the stove top to get a hotter pan, but quite honestly, this defeats the purpose of using just one pot to do it all. I loved that I only had one pot to clean afterwards. If you like this recipe for instant pot ghormeh sabzi, then you have to try my instant pot ash reshteh recipe for Persian noodle soup with beans and herbs.
I created another classic Persian stew in the instant pot, if you’re interested. Click here for my Instant Pot Khoresh Gheymeh (Persian Split Pea Stew) recipe.
Are you baffled by your Instant Pot? Here are some great posts I have found that have helped me better bond with my Instant Pot:
- 17 Instant Pot Tips and FAQs
- How to Use the Buttons on the Instant Pot
- A Simple Guide: How to Use Your Instant Pot
So there you, my analysis of the Instant Pot and my recipe for Instant Pot Ghormeh Sabzi. For those of you looking to create this iconic dish faster, the Instant Pot is definitely for you. I have another recipe for Khoreshteh Ghormeh Sabzi on my blog, where I add kale to the mix. You can my traditional gormeh sabzi with kale recipe here.
And of course, this dish is served with steamy basmati rice. If you have another Instant Pot, feel free to make it in that. But I still prefer making rice on the stove. Click here for my Persian basmati rice with potato crust recipe.
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Instant Pot Gormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew with Beef)
This recipe for Instant Pot Gormeh Sabzi serves up the classic Persian herb stew without waiting all day for it to be ready.
- 18 oz fresh parsley (about 5 bundles)
- 8 oz fresh cilantro (about 5 bundles)
- 2 bundles of green onions
- 1 brown onion
- 2 lb stew meat, 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 TBS all purpose flour
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 3 TBS dried fenugreek
- 3-6 dried Persian limes
- 4 cups beef broth
- ¼ cup lemon juice (optional)
- 20 ounces canned red kidney beans
- Remove stems, especially the thick woody ones, from parsley and cilantro.
- Wash, drain and spin green vegetables dry. A salad spinner works great with this step.
- Once dried, chop vegetables in batches using a food processor with a metal blade and set aside.
- Clean green onions and cut into thin slices and separating whites from greens.
- Peel and finely chop onion.
- In a large bowl mix together meat, salt, pepper, turmeric and flour until meat is coated evenly. Set aside.
- Press the “Sauté” function key on your 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot. Select "More" temperature with the “Adjust” key.
- When Instant Pot displays “Hot” add 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add reserved stew meat and brown meat all over.
- When meat is browned, remove meat and reserve.
- Add to hot Instant Pot 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil.
- Stir in chopped onions and sauté until onions start to soften.
- Stir in reserved white parts of the green onions and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in reserved green parts of the green onions and continue cooking.
- Stir in chopped parsley and cilantro until well mixed.
- Stir in fenugreek and add beef back to the pot.
- Carefully pierce dried limes with a sharp knife.
- If you like your stew more on the sour lemony side, add 6 dried limes. If you don't know how you like it, start with two. You can add lemon juice later to adjust the flavor to your preference.
- Add dried limes, broth and lemon juice (optional) to stew.
- Place the lid on your instant pot, turn the vent to seal and set on meat/stew for 35 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off and the stew is cooked, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure manually. You can also let all the pressure release naturally if you have time.
- Drain and rinse beans. Stir in kidney beans with the stew.
- Place the lid on your instant pot, turn the vent to seal and set on warm for 15-30 minutes.
- Open Instant Pot and serve with steamy basmati rice.
Instead of kidney beans, you can also use pinto beans.
I also like to add chopped spinach or kale in with the herbs to sneak in more nutrition.
For meat, you can also use lamb shanks. For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth and baby portobello mushrooms instead of meat.
Serving Size:1-2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 624Total Fat: 20.6gSaturated Fat: 6.7gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 821mgCarbohydrates: 53.3gFiber: 15gSugar: 4.3gProtein: 56.5g
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This was delicious and the beef was soooo tender!!!
I used 7 dried limes because we like sour in our family 🙂 and I added spinach, and used 4 bunches of curley parsley and 4 bunches of cilantro.
I also added some cayenne pepper to the beef to add a bit of spice and I used 4 TBS of dried fenugreek to add more frangrance.
This is a fantastic recipe! And so easy!
If I wanted to add spinach, would I omit any of the other greens? And how much do I add?
The other greens offer aroma and flavor, so whenever I add spinach or chard to my gormeh sabzi, I keep the proportions of the base herbs the same. If your instant pot can fit it, add 6-8 oz of chopped spinach to the mix. If not, then you can take off 8oz of parsley and cilantro. It’s not baking, but more flavor and personal preference.
This recipe is a home run –if made with beef– and I make it all the time. Hands down my favorite food on the planet. But I tried it last week without the meat for my vegetarian housemate, and it was AWFUL 😮 Just not the same without the umami from the beef fat I guess.
Ha ha ha! When you are a beef eater, you love the flavor it brings to any dish. What did your vegetarian housemate think of it?
He was truly perplexed, asking “is this REALLY your most favorite food in the world?” He ate one polite serving and no more. I am eager to make it again soon…with the beef!
Ha ha! Hey, I offer the vegetarian option. But I’m with you, it needs the beef!
Hi! Will this recipe fit in a 6qt instapot?
It might fit into a 6-quart instapot. My 8-quart wasn’t filled all the way to the top.
Hi Laura, please can you tell me if you use dried fenugreek leaves or seeds? Thank you
I use dried fenugreek leaves, not the seeds.
Will this recipe work cut in half in a 6qt instant pot with the same cooking time?
I’m pretty sure it will work just fine to cut it in half and cook in your 6qt. You’re just going to have to make a second batch when people go looking for leftovers!
When do you add the beef back?
You add the beef back after the vegetables are cooked before you add the liquids and cook in the pressure cooker. The video shows more details and I added the missing copy to the written directions.
Agreed, the hard part is washing and pulling the stems off the greens. But this recipe is a total game-changer. It’s so much easier and comes out perfect every time. Glad I have the 8 quart instant pot because the greens fill it to the top.
By the way, I saw at the Persian market you can now get powdered dried lime in a jar. I use three pierced dried limes and a tablespoon of the powdered, and I just love the tangy tart flavor.
I haven’t made ghormeh sabzi in ages, but a friend wants it for her Christmas potluck. I’ve traditionally used an electric skillet to sauté the herbs and sautéed the meat in the stew pot along with the onions and spices. I’m excited to try the instant pot version. Since it’s a daytime party, I’ll make it the day before so the flavors will blend. Reading over the recipe, I could smell and taste it in my head. I’m not Persian but many in my community are, so I’ve tasted the best and know what to aim for. Now my only… Read more »
I am so used to eating Gormeh Sabzi with beef that I forget that I can make it with lamb! I swear the hardest part of this dish is washing and cleaning all the herbs! I hope you enjoy the recipe!
do you use fenugreek leaves or powder?
I use dried fenugreek leaves.
I made this recipe last night and it was astonishingly delicious (and so easy). All in one pot and so easy to clean up. At first I questioned why not chop the herbs while the meat was cooking, but I did it your way and it makes sense now. Have everything ready to go and it wraps up really quickly. Making ghormeh sabzi always used to be such a chore, but your way is so easy and tastes just like mamani used to make. I am six months into a kitchen remodel, and was glad I could make this comfort… Read more »
This is awesome to hear, thank you! I tell ya, the convenience of the instant pot is pretty impressive. If I have time, I prefer the traditional way of making it. But sometimes I like to make it in the instant pot, but serve it the next day. Best of luck with the remodel and your new kitchen!
Do you think this would work in a crock pot?
ABSOLUTELY! Gormeh Sabzi tastes so much better when it has been simmering all day! You do need to brown the meat and fry up the veggies first. Then throw it all in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours.
Is there a way to make this with dry beans all at once?
Beans require a lot of water to cook, even in the instant pot. For every 1-pound (approximately 2 cups) of dry beans you need 5-6 cups of water. If you cook the dry beans in the stew, you don’t want to water down the stew so you could add beef broth instead of water. Then there’s the question of presoaking your beans or not. I do not cook with dry beans often because my family has trouble digesting beans. I prefer to drain the canned beans of their liquid, rinse the beans and then soak them in water for a… Read more »
Thanks for the recipe.
Have you tried using uncooked beens vs canned? If yes, how how do you incorporate it into the recipe?
No I have not. You would definitely need to add more water to accommodate the dry beans.
Hi Laura! I have never heard of this stew before and now I want to try it! Where do you find/buy dried persian limes?
Sorry for not writing sooner, Sara. I was sick in bed all last week. You can find dried limes at middle eastern markets or order on Amazon (more expensive than stores) here: https://www.amazon.com/Sadaf-Dried-Whole-Lemou-Omani-Family/dp/B01DVLCO3A/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1528137630&sr=8-1&keywords=sadaf+dried+lime&refinements=p_85%3A2470955011