Yogurt with Spinach, Oregano, and Garlic Borani (Esfenaj)

Nothing ties a Persian meal together like creamy and tangy yogurt. Yogurt is usually served as a condiment with classic dishes like lean and juicy kebab, fragrant stew, and fluffy white rice. Sometimes yogurt is served with just a sprinkling of fresh dill or dried mint, but often it’s mixed with a vegetable to give it color and texture. This delicate yogurt condiment has few ingredients but holds a big, rich flavor. It’s best to cut off any thick, fibrous spinach stems before cooking. Like many Persian dishes, this yogurt tastes even better after chilling overnight in the refrigerator.

Wonderfully fresh and delightful recipes are in Louisa Shafia’s lateat cookbook, The New Persian Kitchen. Beautiful colors, intense flavors and nutritious ingredients are found in all the dishes.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound spinach
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper


Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil, followed by the spinach. Sprinkle the oregano and garlic over the spinach. Toss gently, and cook until the spinach is very tender, and most of the water has cooked out, about 10 minutes.  Let the spinach cool to room temperature, then chop it finely. Fold the spinach into the yogurt, along with the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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