Persian celery + bean stew


Persians like their stews. They really really do. A slow stew of meat and herbs. A slow stew of squash and dried fruits, or in this case, a slow stew of celery a ton of herbs, and kidney beans. The term used in Farsi is 'khoresh' - a magical dish typically cooked slow and low to achieve a fusion of smells and flavors that are exquisite, mouthwatering, and difficult to explain in a blog.

Though this particular celery khoresh recipe originally called for lamb, I substituted kidney beans for a vegetarian dinner party and it tasted AMAZING.  Other beans would work fine but I have a particular place in my heart for kidney beans (apparently).

So yes, let's get to it. This is one of my favorite Persian dinner party dishes of all. It's exceedingly tasty, extremely healthy, and though it does take some planning + stewing time, it is well worth it. Make it a day ahead for a dinner party or on a Sunday early afternoon and slow stew in time for dinner and serve it over white or brown basmati rice. 

This recipe makes about 6 servings


  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of sunflower or safflower oil, butter, or ghee (my fave!)
  • 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of cooked red kidney beans (I used canned to make life easier)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 1/2 bunches or about 10 stalks of celery washed and chopped into 1-inch lengths
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (or 2 tbsp dried)
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice or 5 whole dried Persian limes pierced (you can find these at spice stores or here on amazon).  To pierce, a trick my husband taught me is to use a wine opener-corkscrew to gently pierce a hole in the dried lime. 
  • 1 tsp of ground saffron dissolved in 4 tablespoons of hot water


  1. In a large stew pot (cast iron or enamel if you have one!), heat 3 tbsp of oil over medium heat and brown the onions.  When onions are browned add salt, pepper, and turmeric, and saute for 1 minute
  2. Pour in 4 cups of filtered water and add the cooked kidney beans. 
  3. In a separate, wide skillet, saute the celery in 1/4 cup of oil or ghee for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chopped herbs and saute for another 10 minutes
  4. add the mixture of celery and herbs, the lime juice (or pierced limes) and the saffron water to the stew pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for 90 minutes or longer until the celery is tender 
  5. Taste the khoresh and adjust seasoning as necessary - adding more salt or lime juice. 
  6. Serve with rice and enjoy!