Nowruz Recipes (Persian New Year Recipes)

You’ll find a wonderful collection of Nowruz recipes on this page. From the traditional to the not so traditional. Everything you need for a delicious Nowruz, with recipes from Asia, the Middle East and Africa. 

What is Nowruz?

Nowruz or Norooz, pronounced no-rooz, is a combination of two Persian words, “now” for new and “ruz” for day and is the festival that heralds the spiritual new year for Persian and some Central Asian communities, celebrating the start of spring and all that it entails: renewal, rebirth and new beginnings.

Nowruz, which falls on the first day of spring (vernal equinox), is a secular holiday, observed across the faiths and goes back some three thousand years with practices that are partly rooted in the rituals and traditions of Zoroastrianism, the religion of ancient Persia, before the advent of Islam in 7th century A.D.

Where is Nowruz Celebrated?

Nowruz is celebrated not just in Iran but also in other countries in Central Asia, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey. The Indian Parsis also observe this holiday.

The New Year is celebrated with friends and family; at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, wishes of Sal-e No Mobarak (Happy New Year) are exchanged, then sweet treats are distributed by the oldest in the family, with the children receiving gifts or money. The immediate days that follow are spent visiting friends and family, a practice very similar to Eid.

Nowruz Celebrations

A big part of the Nowruz recipes and celebrations is the setting of the Haft-Seen table, or the Table of the 7 S’s. a table bedecked with symbolic items representing spring, new beginnings, hope and a lot more.

In Farsi,

  • Haft = number 7 (in this instance, representing the seven days of Creation)
  • Seen = the letter S
So, the Haft-Seen table is a table set specifically for the New Year celebrations with 7 items beginning with the  letter S.
Haft-Seen Table for Nowruz

In ancient times, reflecting Persia’s Zoroastrian roots, these items would have represented the seven days of creation (rest being the seventh day). They also represented the seven holy immortals protecting them, the Amesha-Spenta.

These seven individuals would have also included the Supreme Creator, Ahura Mazda, the primus inter pares (first amongst equals).

In Zoroastrian tradition, the Holy Beings are the first six emanations of Ahura Mazda, and were responsible for protecting his creations as well as being the source of all future life.

Haft-Seen Table

Today, these items retain the spiritual representation of Creation and new beginnings and here is a typical example of what the table would display and what the items represent:

  • Sabzeh (sprouted wheat grass) – rebirth and renewal
  • Serkeh (vinegar) – age and patience
  • Sumac (Middle Eastern spice) – sunrise, ie. light vs dark, good over evil
  • Senjed (dried fruit of the lotus tree) – love and affection
  • Seeb (apples) – health and beauty
  • Seer (garlic) – medicine, ie. good health
  • Samanu (wheat pudding) – fertility and affluence

Besides the 7 S’s, you will also find other symbolic items on the table, such as:

  • a mirror to encourage one to reflect on the past year and to look forward to the next
  • painted eggs to represent fertility
  • real goldfish to represent life
  • a special book like the Quran or a compilation of ancient Persian stories, poems etc
  • an orange in a bowl of water for the earth, and so on.

Nowruz Recipes

And of course, no celebration is complete without a feast! In the gallery below, you’ll find a wide range of recipes for celebrating Nowruz.
These Nowruz recipes are from all over the world, from Persian recipes to Indian recipes, to Central Asian ones.

Nowruz Recipes
pink yoghurt with beetroot in white bowl with blue paisley tablecloth

Borani Laboo (Persian Yoghurt with Beetroot Recipe)

Doogh, Afghan and Persian Yoghurt Drink

Doogh (Afghan and Persian Yoghurt Drink, aka Ayran)

Mango cake photography pinterest

Eggless Mango Cheesecake (super easy Cheesecake Recipe!)

Eshkeneh, Persian Onion Soup

Eshkeneh, Persian Onion Soup with Egg and Fenugreek

ashta cream in a glass container topped with crushed rose petals

Homemade Ashta Recipe (plus a Cheat’s Version)

Persian Rice Tahdig

How to cook Tahdeeg with the Perfect Persian Rice

long kebabs on rice

Kabab Koobideh (Lightly Flavoured Persian Kebabs)

Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)

Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew)

Khoresh Rivas, Persian Rhubarb Stew

Khoresh Rivas (Persian Rhubarb Stew with Meat, خورش ریواس)

Knafeh, Kunafeh, Kanafeh

Kunafeh, a Middle Eastern Pastry and Cheese Dessert

pouring syrup on layali lubnan

Layali Lubnan (Lebanese Nights, a Semolina Pudding)

Mango Mahalabia

Mango Mahalabia (Muhalabia) with a touch of Sumac

Best maqluba recipe, maqluba layers photography

Maqluba Recipe (Makloubeh), Palestinian Upside Down Rice

Mirza Ghasemi (Persian Eggplant and Tomato Dip)

Monk’s Salad (Saltat al Rahib)

Morasa Polow, Persian Jewelled Rice

Morasa Polo (Persian Jewelled Rice)

Moroccan Almond Cookies

Moroccan Almond Cookies (Ghriba | Gluten Free Cookies)

mutabal, eggplant dip on a dark plate, grey tea towel

Mutabal (Eggplant, Yoghurt and Tahini Dip)

Naan-e Berenji

Persian Rice Cookies (Naan-e Berenji) for Nowruz

Persian Roast Lamb Recipe and Video (with Pomegranate Molasses)

Persian Saffron Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard | شله زرد)

Persian Walnut Cookies

Persian Walnut Cookies (Naan-e Gerdooi), Gluten Free

qatayef asafiri filled with ashta on a gold tray with small gold jug

Qatayef Asafiri with Ashta (Pancakes Stuffed with Cream)

reshteh polo, persian rice with noodles topped with raisins and onions

Reshteh Polo (Persian Rice with Noodles)

Sabzi Polo Mahi (Persian Herbed Rice)

Sabzi Polo Mahi (Persian Herbed Rice with Fish) for Nowruz, the Persian New Year

Salad Shirazi, Persian Salad

Salad Shirazi – Persian Cucumber, Tomato and Red Onion Salad

Semolina, rose and pistachio cake covered in pistachios and dried rose petals with samovar in the background

Semolina Cake with Rose Water and Pistachios, drenched in Rose Syrup

tabbouleh recipe

Tabbouleh Recipe (it’s all about the PARSLEY!)

Mahalabia in Tiny Glasses

The Best Mahalabia Recipe (Middle Eastern Milk Pudding)

Zereshk Polo Morgh (Persian Barberry Rice with Chicken)