Lemon Chicken & Rice
This easy Persian-inspired chicken and rice dish has a beautiful golden color and a wonderful fragrance. If you have saffron in the cupboard, do add that optional pinch; just a little will enhance the flavor and aroma of the dish.
Basmati Rice & Curry Casserole (Chana aur Sarson ka Saag Biryani)
Biryanis are rice-based casseroles that combine a saucy meat, vegetable or legume curry with basmati rice, whole spices, nuts and raisins. This particular dish is a nutritional powerhouse, thanks to the mustard greens and chickpeas. Look for the specialty spices--cardamom pods, saffron and garam masala--in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets or online at penzeys.com.
No-Churn Ice Cream with Cardamom & Saffron
This recipe was inspired by kulfi, an Indian frozen dessert often flavored with cardamom, saffron and pistachios. Counting saffron threads seems tedious but it is an accurate way to measure one of the most precious spices on Earth. Rather than using an ice cream maker, you whip the cream mixture to form soft peaks before freezing it. The results are über-creamy.
Quick Paella with Shrimp & Mussels
Our quick take on paella is studded with mussels and shrimp. Traditional paella made with short-grain rice takes a while to cook and can be a bit tricky. Instant brown rice is a great shortcut--what it lacks in authenticity it more than makes up for in convenience. Make sure you seek out saffron, which gives the dish its distinctive yellow color and signature flavor. Serve with: Spinach salad.
Cashew Butter Chicken Masala
Butter or even heavy cream usually gives butter chicken its rich, satisfying quality. In this healthy version of a butter chicken recipe, cashew butter creates an equally luxurious texture. Chickpea flour thickens the sauce, but is optional if you don't have it on hand. For weeknight speed, marinate the chicken ahead of time and you can have this dish on the table in about 30 minutes. Serve with steamed spinach and basmati rice.
Slow-Cooker Spanish Chickpea Soup
This easy soup recipe is inspired by cocido, the hearty stew of assorted meats, chickpeas and vegetables considered a national dish of Spain. Each region, family and restaurant has its own variation, but this slow-cooker soup has enough meat to satisfy the carnivores and enough vegetables to make it healthy. Ask for a 4-ounce slab of Serrano ham or prosciutto at your deli counter instead of buying slices. If you don't have a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker, opt for the stovetop variation instead.
Rhubarb, Ginger & Saffron Baked Chicken
This easy baked chicken recipe is perfect for entertaining because you can mix most of the ingredients together ahead of time. While the chicken is baking, you can throw together a salad and make couscous or rice to sop up the delicious sauce from the chicken. Red onion is key here, as it helps the rhubarb retain its pink color even when baked.
Persian-Style Butternut Squash Soup
Swap out your basic butternut squash soup for this fragrant version that includes sweet potato and a medley of spices like cinnamon, cumin, coriander and saffron. A drizzle of maple syrup and a few drops of orange water brighten the flavors, while a sprinkle of sumac adds a pop of color and a tangy edge. This healthy butternut squash soup would be a wonderful starter for your Thanksgiving meal.
Honey-Harissa Pork Tenderloin with Saffron Freekeh & Zucchini
In this 30-minute healthy dinner recipe, whole-grain freekeh cooks unattended while you finish the rest of the meal. Using baby vegetables cuts down on prep time because they can be cooked whole. Look for them near prepared and/or specialty vegetables. If you can't find them, use 4 cups sliced small zucchini or summer squash instead (1/2-inch-thick slices).
Iberian-Style Sausage & Chicken Ragu
This hearty sausage and chicken ragù was inspired by a fabulous stew Bruce Aidells enjoyed when he was traveling in Spain. Serve it over a heartier pasta, such as whole-wheat penne, or gnocchi. Garnish with grated sheep's-milk cheese, such as Manchego.
Scallops in Saffron-Tarragon Broth
Tomatoes, tarragon and white wine make a fragrant broth for the scallops in this vibrantly colored easy one-pot stew. Make it a meal: Serve with a simple green salad and sop up the leftover broth with toasted whole-grain baguette.