Sabzi (Afghan Spinach – Vegan)

Qabuli Palao with Sabzi

This is a companion post to the Qabuli Palao recipe. While my assignment for my Plant-Based Chef Professional Certification program was a rice and lentil dish, I wanted lots of greens to go with the Qabuli Palao. Sabzi is a popular Afghan stewed spinach dish with bold flavors that are a wonderful match with the Qabuli Palao.

Sabzi is often served with basmati rice or naan bread. A dollop of your favorite plain vegan yogurt gives a nice balance to the texture of the spinach.

The recipe I originally used called for three pounds of frozen chopped spinach. Since frozen spinach is not an ingredient I can easily get, I went to the local market and bought four bunches of fresh spinach. I didn’t weigh the washed and trimmed spinach, but I’m guessing it was about one pound. That’s a lot of spinach–it filled two large bowls while raw. The spinach in our Guatemalan markets is quite hearty. If you’re using baby spinach, you might want to increase the amount of spinach as it will cook waaaay down.

You probably won’t be able to fit all the spinach in the pan at one time. I add as much as I can fit in the pan, let it cook down, then add more. The cooked spinach will take about 1/10th the space of the raw spinach.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh spinach, washed and trimmed.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbl refined coconut oil or avocado oil
  • 2 Tbl dried dill
  • 3 Tbl coriander
  • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Tbl lemon or lime juice

Method

  1. In a large pan, heat oil over a medium heat. Add garlic and cook gently until it starts to brown–don’t let it burn!
  2. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until all of the spinach fits into the pan and is cooked down.
  3. Add the dried dill, coriander, cilantro, black pepper, salt, and lemon juice. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. You can continue cooking over low heat for up to 30 minutes, or until the spinach is melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  4. Serve with Basmati rice, or on your favorite rice pilaf.
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