Spinach and Herb Beef Stew with Dried Limes

Spinach and Herb Beef Stew with Dried Limes
Photography by Brian Wetzstein | Food styling by Donna Coates and Linda Hall

Spinach brightens this modification of ghormeh sabzi, a popular herb-centric Persian stew known for its sweet-sour taste and fermented aroma from dried limes.

SERVING SIZE: 1 cup (240 grams)
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound trimmed beef chuck, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups diced yellow onion
  • 6 cups (1,380 milliliters) water
  • 6 Persian dried limes
  • 3 cups chopped Italian parsley, stems and leaves
  • 1⅓ cups chopped cilantro, stems and leaves
  • 1½ cups chopped scallions, green parts only
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 8 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 2 15½-ounce cans kidney beans, drained


  1. In a medium bowl, combine turmeric, pepper and ½ teaspoon salt.
  2. Add beef and stir.
  3. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add beef and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add water, limes and remaining salt.
  7. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
  8. Cover and simmer 1 hour or until meat is tender.
  9. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat.
  10. Add parsley, cilantro and scallions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Transfer herbs to saucepan with beef, add fenugreek and cook 15 minutes.
  12. Remove limes and set aside.
  13. Add spinach and beans, stir to combine and cook until beans are hot and beef reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), about 8 minutes.
  14. Squeeze in additional juice from limes and salt to taste.
  15. Serve over cooked rice.

Cooking note: Persian dried limes also are known as limoo omani and black limes. Salt brined and dried, they range in color from tan to dark brown. Purchase them in Middle Eastern specialty stores and online. Dried fenugreek leaves can be purchased online and in specialty Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 220 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 44mg cholesterol, 402mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 4g sugar, 20g protein, 640mg potassium, 199mg phosphorus

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Michele Redmond
Michele Redmond, MS, RDN, FAND is a French-trained chef and “Food Enjoyment Activist” who specializes in flavor development, food culture diversity and culinary nutrition through online classes, training events and consulting. She directs TheTasteWorkshop.com in Scottsdale, AZ. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.