Borani Esfenaj is a classic Persian appetizer that’s usually served with bread. With a lot of spinach and garlic, this delicious dip is something you don’t want to miss!
Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dips are perfect for parties because of their flavor. I love Persian cucumber yogurt dip Mast-o-Khiar and baba ganoush for a nice side dish or appetizer. Today I’m sharing one of my all time favorite recipes with you. This Borani is one you’ll love and want to have all the time!
Yogurt and spinach: a tasty combo
Persian cuisine has many different types of appetizers and Borani is one of the most popular ones. It’s delicious, easy and totally addictive. The borani we are doing today calls for a lot of spinach and some garlic and is packed with flavor. It’s very simple and easy to make and it’s a great addition to your dinner table.
What is Borani?
Borani is a Persian appetizer that’s made of yogurt and vegetables. Think of hummus, but an Iranian version: smooth, flavorful, healthy and versatile. Borani can be made with eggplants, beetroots, zucchinis, spinach and many other vegetables.
As you might have guessed, in Farsi, spinach is called esfenaj which is what our recipe today is calling for. This Greek yogurt spinach dip is an all time favorite of ours and is the perfect way to have your family eat some vegetables. What I love the most about this recipe is that it’s very simple to put it together and it’s very healthy as spinach is a great source of iron and yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics.
Persian recipes are s full of flavors and spices. Everything is in harmony and there is a reason for using each ingredient, which makes every dish unique. Each dish has a special taste yet is made of simple and fresh ingredients and in many cases it’s naturally vegetarian, paleo or gluten free, which shows what I have always said: homemade food is the best food in the world.
To make this healthy yogurt dip you need a few ingredients: spinach, yogurt, garlic, salt and pepper. That’s it! As I told you, this yogurt dip is so ridiculously simple! As long as you have spinach and yogurt, you’re good to go. This whole recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes and it tastes better the next day, which means you can made it in advance and I call it a big win.
Fresh or frozen spinach?
It’s safe to say that both fresh and frozen spinach work in this recipe. However, if using frozen spinach, make sure you squeeze the leave well to get rid of the excess water. I personally prefer fresh spinach because of the tender leaves and the fact that I can cook them to my liking and let them wilt to my preference. They also absorb flavors better once they’re cooked fresh.
How to store fresh spinach
It’s best to consume spinach within 3-5 days after purchasing. You can store spinach in a container lined with paper towel. Place the spinach on the paper towel in the container and top with another paper towel. The spinach should hold up to 7 days with this method.
How to make borani spinach?
Spinach and yogurt are the basics of this dip, but usually there are other additions to the recipe such as fried onion, shallots, walnuts, or garlic. My favorite addition is garlic as it gives a nice subtle layer of flavor to this dip. You need 6 cups of baby spinach for this recipe. There is no need to chop them or cut off the stems. Simply place them in a pan over medium low heat until they’re wilted and have released excess water.
Add in minced garlic (the more the merrier) and stir over medium heat until excess water is evaporated. Let the mixture cool and then mix it with Greek yogurt and add salt and pepper.
Traditional yogurt and spinach dip is made with yogurt, cooked spinach and garlic. However, I sometimes add caramelized onion to the dip and it takes it to a whole new level. The caramelized onion gives a delicious subtle sweetness to the dip and compliments the yogurt very well.
How to serve spinach yogurt dip
Like other dips, you can serve this Persian yogurt dip with any kind of bread or cracker that you like. My favorites are whole wheat crackers and pita chips. Fresh pita bread or lavash would work great as well.
Can I make this yogurt dip ahead of time?
Yes! Borani esfenaj tastes better if it’s made a day in advance. The flavors combine and mix together well and make a flavorful dip. You can make this dip a day or two before in advance and simply give it a nice stir and season with salt and pepper if needed before serving.
Looking for more delicious recipes?
- Persian Appetizer Platter
- Kashke Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Dip)
- Pizza dip
- Manakish Zaatar
- Tzatziki Recipe (Greek Cucumber Sauce)
- Cacik Recipe Turkish Yogurt and Cucumber
Notes and tips to make borani esfenaj:
- 6 cups of spinach might seem a lot but spinach wilts as it cooks so be generous with spinach. Make sure it’s dry before cooking it as we don’t want any excess water.
- Get the firmest yogurt you can find. Runny yogurt is not suitable for this dip. A combination of half sour cream and half Greek yogurt would work great, too.
- It’s important to use freshly minced garlic in this spinach yogurt dip as it gives way more flavor than garlic powder or pre-minced garlic.
- About the spinach stems, it’s up to you to remove them or not. If using baby spinach, I usually don’t remove them because they’re very tender and have a lot of flavor.
Borani Esfenaj - Persian Spinach and Yogurt Dip
- 6 cup Baby Spinach
- 2 cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 1/2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a pan on medium heat. (No oil needed)
Place baby spinach in the pan, lower the heat and wait so that the spinach starts wilting.
Once the spinach is wilted, add in mined garlic and stir. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat or until the excess water is evaporated.
Mix the yogurt, spinach and garlic in a bowl.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with toasted Iranian bread, naan, toasted bread or pita chips.