GF Vegan Persian Khoresh Karafs (Celery Stew)

March 5, 2021
I assume not many of us use celery stalks in their dishes besides their cleansing juices and salads as it is not the most exciting vegetable. I just learned that it can be a magnificent main ingredient for an entree. Such as this delightful Persian stew, which gets its full flavor from celery!

Traditionally Khoresh Karafs are made with meat but vegan version can be made with beans, black eyed peas, or mushrooms. I decided to use beans and soy balls for the additional protein, but you can choose your own variety.

If you want a full Persian experience on your plate, some side dishes like onion slices, Shirazi salad, pickles and fresh herbs complement this dish perfectly.

The best way to bring out all the flavors is to cook it over low heat for a long time. The longer you cook it, the more tasty it will be actually.
vegan persian celery stew in a bowl with a spoon and crystals

GF Vegan Persian Khoresh Karafs (Celery Stew)

utensils YIELDS 4 servings
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  • 400 g fresh celery stalks
  • about 200 g fresh celery leaves
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200 g soy balls
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • to taste salt
  • 1 liter water or veggie broth
  • 1/8 tsp saffron powder
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 can white beans in brine
        graphic for recipe card


1. Wash the herbs (celery leaves, parsley and mint) and mince them. Set aside.

2. Chop the celery stalks into small pieces.

3. In a medium pan on medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil and add the herbs and celery leaves and sauté for about 15 minutes. Set aside.

4. In a medium pan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp oil and add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add in celery, sauté until soft. Mix with the sautéed herbs, add in turmeric, salt and sauté for another 10 minutes, frequently stirring.

5. Pour about 4 cups/1 liter water or veggie broth into the pot and stir the stew. Add in the soy balls. When the stew is boiling reduce the heat and place the lid on the pot and let it cook for at least 30 minutes slowly. Keep checking on the stew and occasionally stirring so it will not burn, if needed add more water.

6. At the end stir in saffron and beans, let them warm through and take it off the heat. Stir in lemon juice before serving.

Also by Imola: Persian Green Beans And Rice

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Photo: Imola Toth

Imola is a Hatha and Ashtanga yoga teacher, tree planter and writer and editor of Raised by the Wolf, an online magazine for Wild Women, with a passion for exploring and life outdoors. Originally from Hungary but currently planting trees and rewilding the enchanting forests of France. Hop over to RBTW magazine, and blog and follow her on Instagram @yogiraisedbythewolf


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