Posted on: July 2, 2018

Persian Recipes Ideal For A Picnic

Summer is upon us, and what better way to enjoy the rising temperatures than bringing together your loved ones over a delicious outdoor feast.

Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad (Salad-e Khiar-o Anar)

Makes 4 servings, preparation time 25 minutes



Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons pistachio or olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


1/2 cup chopped red onions or spring onions

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or 1 tablespoon dried mint

6 Persian cucumbers, or 1 long seedless cucumber, peeled and sliced or diced

Seeds of 2 pomegranates (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons slivered pistachios (optional)

1/4 cup feta cheese (optional)


  1. In a serving bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing.
  2. Just before serving, add all the ingredients for the salad and toss lightly. Season to taste with salt and lime juice.


Persian Potato Salad (Salad-e Olivieh)

Makes 12 servings, preparation time 1 hour 45 minutes plus 2 hours of chilling time in refrigerator



1 skinless chicken, about 2 or 3 pounds

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

5 large russet potatoes

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 cups green peas

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)

2 spring onions, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 medium cucumber pickles, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2/3 cup olives, pitted and chopped


1 cup chicken broth (from cooking chicken in step 1)

2 cups mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place chicken in a pot. Add the onion and salt. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours over low heat (no water is needed because chicken makes its own juice). When done, allow to cool, debone the chicken, and chop finely. Set aside chicken broth for later use.
  2. In large saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Score around the center of each potato and drop in the boiling water. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl of ice water until cool enough to handle. Use your hands to remove the skins by pulling them off. Chop the potatoes.
  3. Steam the carrots and peas for 5 minutes and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together chicken broth, mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  5. Combine chicken, prepared vegetables, eggs, and walnuts with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the dressing over it and toss well. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  6. Transfer salad to a flat plate and chill for at least 2 hours.
  7. Make it an easily portable pita sandwich with Persian pickles and sliced tomatoes.


Saffron Ice Cream (Bastani-e Gol-o Bolbol)

Makes 4 servings, preparation time 2 hours plus 1 hour to develop


Crunchy Frozen Heavy Cream-

1 cup heavy cream

Ice Cream-

1/4 cup sahlab (salep)

4 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground saffron threads dissolved in 2 tablespoons rose water

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

1/2 teaspoon mastic ground with 1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup shelled, raw pistachios


  1. Pour the cream into a 9-inch freezer proof pie dish and place in the freezer. In a small bowl, dissolve the sahlab in 1 cup milk until quite smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups milk and the sugar to a boil, and reduce heat to very low. Add the sahlab mixture, salt, saffron-rose water, cardamom, and mastic, and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking constantly, for 10 to 20 minutes until thick enough for the mixture to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool then chill in refrigeratior. Pour into a chilled ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for making ice cream.
  3. Remove the cream from the freezer. Unmold it from the pan and break it into 1/4 inch pieces. Add the pistachios and continue to turn in the machine for another 20 seconds.
  4. Pour the ice cream into a freezer-proof glass container with a press-in-place lid and cover tightly. Freeze the ice cream for at least 1 hour to allow it to develop texture and flavor.
  5. Twenty minutes before serving, remove ice cream from the freezer and refrigerate.


Sour Cherry Drink (Sharbat-e Albalu)

Makes 1 pint, preparation time 50 minutes


3 pounds sour cherries

5 cups sugar

3 cups water

4 tablespoons lime juice


  1. In a large colander, rinse the sour cherries. Spread 2 layers of cheesecloth on the counter and dump cherries on the cheesecloth. Stem the cherries and discard any that are blemished.
  2. In a large pot, bring the sugar and water to a boil.
  3. Tie up the sour cherries in the cheesecloth and gently lower into the pot. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes.
  4. Lift the cherries in their cheesecloth and hold above the pot for a minute to let the syrup drain. Place the bundle in a large bowl, transfer the cherries into a jar, and store in the refrigerator. Use the cherries as a preserve.
  5. Add the lime juice to the syrup and continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until a syrup forms.
  6. Remove the pot from heat and allow to cool. Use a funnel to pour the syrup into a clean, dry bottle and cork tightly. Keep refrigerated and use as needed.
  7. In a pitcher, mix 1 part syrup with 3 parts water. Stir with a spoon and serve well chilled.
  8. *If you prefer a pomegranate variation, substitute 5 cups fresh pomegranate juice for the sour cherry juice.

You can find all of these recipes and more in Najmieh Batmanglij’s cookbook Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies.┬áNush-e-jan!