Zeytoon Parvardeh is a tasty Iranian dip used as a side dish or appetizer in Persian cuisine. This pleasant combination of olives, pomegranates, and aromatic herbs, comes from northern Iran specially Gilan. Zeytoon Parvardeh is popular all over the country and it has also been nationally registered in the name of the Gilan province. This dip is a perfect harmony of sweet, sour and fruity. Juicy pomegranate arils glitter among olives mixed with a delicious sauce, making the taste of Zeytoon Parvardeh unique.
This popular side dish always reminds me of my grandma’s house. She used to grow fresh vegetables in her garden with a memorable aroma, including mint and baby blue eryngo (locally called chuchagh). In Gilan, Chuchagh is used to make Zeytoon Parvardeh, but as Chuchagh is rare and is found in certain areas, mint is usually replaced.
This side dish is really quick and easy to prepare. It is best to make this dip from the night before so that the flavours blend well together.
You can also buy Zeytoon Parvardeh from Iran. In Rasht or traditional bazaars like Tehran grand bazaar you will see many kinds of Zeytoon Pravardeh, They are all based on walnut and pomegranate sauce but vary in flavour ranging from sweet and fruity to spicy and salty. The recipe that we have here is the traditional Gilani recipe.
Ingredients for Zeytoon Parvardeh
The main part of this side dish is green olives. It’s better to use pitted olives. You can also use crushed olives. For marinating olives, we make a sauce, which mainly consists of walnuts, pomegranate molasses, and mint diluted with pomegranate juice. It is best to use the fresh handmade pomegranate juice. Garlic and angelica powder complete the flavour of this sauce.
Pomegranate arils and chopped walnuts are perfect for garnishing this side dish. If you serve olives on a plate you can use diluted pomegranate molasses for garnish too.
How to make Zeytoon Parvardeh
Making Zeytoon Parvardeh is easy and quick. We’re going to make the sauce first and then add the olives to the mixture.
First, grate the walnuts (you can use a meat grinder). Walnuts are one of the main ingredients of this dip and if you like your Zeytoon Parvardeh to have a lighter colour you can add more walnuts.
Grate the garlic cloves, chop the mint and add them to the walnuts along with the pomegranate molasses and mix well. The Gilaks (people from Gilan) crush garlic and mint together to blend the flavour. You can also use this traditional method.
In this part, you can substitute 3 tbsp. of dried mint if you don’t have access to fresh ones.
Add the pomegranate juice to the mix. Using fresh and natural pomegranate juice is very effective in flavoring this sauce. Add half the pomegranate juice first and measure the sauce concentration. The sauce should not be too thin but should have some stickiness. Then add the rest of the pomegranate juice as needed.
Zeytoon Parvardeh sauce is almost ready and you just need to add angelica powder and salt to the sauce.
Now add the olives to the sauce and mix well. If your olives are with the kernel, it is best to beat olives with a knife width or a masher to make olives cracky. This will make the flavours blend much better. The last step is to add pomegranate arils to the mixture and you can keep a little to use later as garnish.
Zeytoon Parvardeh is incredibly tasty and I always eat a lot right away under the pretext of testing it! But it is better to wait until the mixture rests in the fridge for at least a few hours until its unique flavours blend in.
You can garnish this yummy side dish with pomegranate arils and chopped walnuts to have the best collection of colors and flavors.
- 300 gr Green Olive
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbsp Pomegranate molasses
- 1/3 cup Pomegranate juice fresh
- 1/3 cup Pomegranate arils
- 5 tbsp Fresh mint chopped
- 1 tsp Angelica powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Grate walnuts in a mixing bowl or use meat grinder
- add grated garlic, chopped mint, and pomegranate molasses to walnuts and mix well
- add pomegranate juice as much as needed, the mixture shouldn't be so thin but should have a little stickness
- Add angelica powder
- Add salt as much as needed
- Add olives to the mixture and let the dip rest in the fridge overnight or at least a few hours