Salad, Stew and Pistachio Rose Pudding.

Today my parents come over to hang out and have dinner with me.  I love when they come by, and it's always fun to cook with them. My Baba (Baba means "Dad" in Farsi) is my sous-chef and my Mom is our personal taste tester. This is how Baba cleans my pots...

Today we made a Vibrant Mango and Cilantro Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

Persian inspired Kabocha Squash and Kale Stew served with Basmati Rice

and a Vegan Pistachio Rose Pudding for dessert.

I served the salad as a starter to our meal.  The salad was just made up with veggies I had in the fridge, it turned out to be a really nice combination.

Vibrant Mango and Cilantro Salad
by Sarah Farsh, February 19, 2012
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 mango, cubed
  • 1/2 cup organic corn 
Honey Mustard Dressing
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

In a large bowl, toss vegetables and fruit together.  In a separate bowl, combine dressing together and whisk well.  Drizzle dressing on top of salad when ready to serve.

The Kabocha Squash and Kale Stew was our main course. I used Persian spices to flavor this stew, the only ingredient you may not find in your local grocery store are dried lemons. If you've never seen a dried lemon before, this is what they look like.

They add some serious flavor to stews and soups, the best way I can describe the flavor would be an earthy, lemony and slightly bitter taste.  You don't actually eat these dried lemons, they just cook in your soup or stew to add flavor, you can squeeze the juice out when they get softer.  *Before cooking with these babies, use a fork to stab some holes into them to release their flavor. If you don't have the dried lemons and want to make this anyways, you totally can.  I would just add a juice of an additional lemon to substitute. To speed up the cooking time, bake the kabocha squash before putting it into the stew, it also makes taking the skin off much easier.

Persian Inspired Kabocha Squash and Kale Stew
Adapted recipe of Lentil Kabocha Stew by Tracy Flaherty
  • 1 kabocha squash (or butternut squash or sweet potato)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 vine tomatoes, diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 bunches kale, chiffonade
  • 3 dried lemons
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup brown lentils 
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 6oz can pure tomato paste
  • 3 tsp date paste
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes (less if your a baby)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350˚. Cut squash into 4 pieces and lay cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake for 20min, let cool then remove skin. Cut into bite sized peices and set aside. Heat up an extra large sauté pan until very hot. Dry sauté onions until lightly brown, add tomatoes and carrots as soon as onions start sticking to pan. Stir in kale and put lid on pan for 5 min until kale softens down. Pierce holes into dried lemons using a fork, add whole dried lemons into stew. Add tomato paste, lemon juice, broth, apple cider, date paste, lentils and all spices. Give everything a good stir and cook on low with lid on for 25-30min. Lastly, add in squash and stir. Serve with brown basmati rice or just on its own!

My dessert was inspired by traditional Persian ice cream, pronounced Bastani in Farsi. You won't have to feel guilty for eating my version.  I used the traditional flavors of pistachio and rose water to make this pudding.  If I had any saffron, I would have added it in too. Pistachios are my favorite nut, not only are they incredibly delicious, but they are so colorful and beautiful.

Pistachio Rose Pudding
by Sarah Farsh, February 19, 2012
  • 4 cups soy milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 3-4 tbsp date paste (more or less to taste - you can substitute using 6 whole date)
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
In VitaMix™ or high powered blender, blend soy milk, pistachios, date paste, rose water and the inside of 1/2 vanilla bean.  Poor mixture into a pot and cook on low heat.  In a small bowl, mix corn starch with 3 tbsp warm water until starch is dissolved. Raise heat to medium and poor corn starch liquid into pot, stir continuously on medium heat until boiled.  Once boiled, lower heat to low and continue to stir.  This takes some time, be patient - it will thicken up.  Stir for approximately 10min, poor into martini glasses and cool in refrigerator for 1 hour. Garnish with crushed pistachios and rose petals. You can make this the night before, it comes out better. A thin layer of film will develop, just mix before serving and it will be fine. Cheers!


  1. I've been trying to find a "Persian-esqu" kale recipe - I wanted to know - based on your ingredients - is this dish more on the sweeter side?

    1. Honieh Jooon, it is a bit sweet but I wouldn't say overly sweet. The kabocha squash is sweet on its own. The dates I feel just balance out the flavors of the turmeric and lemon. What I would recommend if you really don't want it sweet at all is to leave the date part out and give it a taste - you can always add the dates into it last.

      Here is a quick and easy kale dish, its my favorite way to have kale:
      -1 bunch kale, chopped
      -1 tsp chili flakes
      -5 garlic cloves, diced
      -1 juicy lemon

      Dry saute garlic with chili flakes. Add in kale and sauté together for about 7min (until kale wilts down). If your pan gets too dry and things start to stick, you can add a few splashes of vegetable stock or water. After kale is finished cooking, juice the whole lemon on top. Eat and enjoy! *You can add some turmeric and saffron if you wanted it to be Persian-esqu ;)

    2. Sarah joon,

      I think adding tumeric and saffron to any dish makes it Persian-esque haha!

      But I will definitely try both Kale recipes - as I've heard its a great way to get in nutrients.

      BTW - the rose AND green tea pudding were phenomenal. Love the pic of your baba! :)

      Can't wait to see what else you post on here!


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