How to Make Sabzeh!


How to Make Sabzeh!
by Party Girl

O.K.  Everybody, just ten more days to Nowruz!  Have you started your sabzeh yet?  This is it!  If you get started now, you can have it in time for the celebration.

Of all the symbols of a new beginning set up on a Nowruz spread, this one is the most frequently remembered when we think about Haft Seen.  I thought I would share the way to do this for those who are lost on what to do!  I have roughly translated the instructions from here.

You will need:

One cup of lentils, or

One cup of dried wheat


A bowl

A platter

A clean cloth

A household water spray


For Growing Lentils:

1.  Put the lentils in a bowl and completely cover them with water.  Within the first 24 hours, the lentils will absorb all the water, swelling up.  Many of them will also break open to reveal the inside of the grain.  Don’t be alarmed!  You’re doing fine!

2.  After 24 hours, transfer the lentils into a nice platter and cover them well with your cloth, which you have thoroughly soaked in water.  The trick to this stage is to make sure the cloth covering the lentils is moist at all times, ensuring humidity inside the platter.  The lentils will need this humidity to grow, especially as there is no soil involved in their growth.  You may have to moisten the cloth several times per day.  If the cloth dries up, the growth will stop in the platter and the lentils will dry up, too, turning brown.  Sunshine will help the growth.  If you live in an area where sunshine is scarce these days, try putting your platter under fluorescent lights.

For Growing Wheat:

Follow the same steps, except when you move the soaked wheat grains into the platter, make sure they are covered with the moist towel both under and over the wheat grains.  Wheat requires a lot more moisture to grow than lentils, so make sure the cloth is moist at all times.

3.  After your lentils (wheat grains) have sprouted, you can remove the cloth and start providing moisture for the platter through a simple water spray.  Within ten to fourteen days, you should have a full platter of green stems. 

4.   As you set your Nowruz spread, put a nice ribbon around your sabzeh and make a bow.


The pictures in the link could provide visual aid to what to expect.


Good luck and let me know how it goes!


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Multiple Personality Disorder

My own home made sabzeh

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Most of the sprouts are 3-4 inches long and their permanent leaves are spreading their beautiful green wings. They look great sitting on top of a speaker by the patio window. They give me the goose bumps, making me feel connected to an event much grander than my lonely confinement.  For Norooz, I’ll have my own home made sabzeh for the first time in my life.

Anahid Hojjati

MPD, I like your comments

by Anahid Hojjati on

MPD, I like your comments that you titled:"Canopy of Green".  These are sad comments about some of fish not surviving but some seeing the new day.  It is sad but so true.

Multiple Personality Disorder

Lentils sway

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

The lentil sprouts began to lean, as much as 30 degrees, towards the light source after leaving them near the patio window . I turned the plate 180 degrees to make them face away from the light, and force them to go back the opposite way. Last night when I checked on them again, they had straightened up and then they were leaning 15 degrees the other way. Yes, I measured the angles with a protractor.

The sprouts have swayed as much as 45 degrees. No man-made building structure on earth can withstand such a huge oscillation, this is while most of the lentils have grown over two inches long, and I’m sure at this rate of growth they will collapse under their own weight soon, maybe,  But maybe not, somehow I trust that nature has other plans.

These plants are fascinating, just fascinating.


Canopy of plumules

by brave little swimmers (not verified) on

Dear Party Girl, thank you for the blog. It appears to have been ceded to the Galloping Ghormeh and you can be very proud of that. Keeps him out of trouble.

MPD, I heartily agree with you about the part about the Iranian youth. And the brave little swimmers, I know them. Also if things do not go exactly as expected there is always pizza.

Multiple Personality Disorder

Canopy of green

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Plumules, which are that part of plants' embryo that evolves into shoots and produce the first true leaves, are hard at work and they are growing rapidly; some of them are an inch and half long.  Almost all of the roots are now down below a non-existing soil line, and above it a canopy of green is manifesting itself.
In open air some of the roots, that in the chaos of mass confusion were sticking their tails out in the wrong direction in the air instead of being down below in underground, are dead.  They remind me of so many Iranian youdth who lost their lives in the chaos of the revolution.

The lentils are in a way similar to a school of fish.  It's as if they’re saying we are thousands but one, we will struggle for survival but some will not make it at the end, but some of us will, and we will see a New Day.


A tribute to MPD

by mpd's dream date (not verified) on

and his forays into culinary science!

lol (lotsa lentils...)


Multiple Personality Disorder

The cloth is off

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Once again I did not wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom! This is so out of character for me! I don't know what's happening to me, but at least I got up very early this morning and right away I checked on the lentils. They are doing great. The Hypocotyls are about 1/2 inch long on most of the lentils, and embryonic leaves are quite visible on most of them. Now that all the seeds have sprouted I can see that there are too many of them on the plate, which is overcrowded now. To thin them out I decided to eat some of them. I plucked and tasted a couple of them to see if I can tolerate eating them. I‘ve seen people put sprouts on their salad plates, so what's the difference?

They were delicious. I ate some more. They taste like dirt, kind of like clayish dirt that I used to loved to eat when I was a kid growing up in Abadan. I eat a few more till my mouth started drying up. I hope they are not poisonous at this stage of their development. Some plants do that you know. They make you sick so next time you know not to eat them. Oh well, if I get sick I’ll just call my boss and tell him I got lentil poisoning. I’m sure he’ll believe me. Who could come up with this kind of excuse if it wasn’t true.

When I was eating the lentils I discovered that the roots of the ones at the periphery of the plates are perfectly formed but the ones in the center have roots that look like they are turning brown. The plate is concaved, deeper in the middle, so when I water them there is always more water in the middle than the edge. I don’t have a flat plate and at this point I think it is too late to change the plate. I just have to hope they're going to be alright.

The cloth is off and I'm going to put them by the patio window today. I hope the sun would show its face today out of the clouds.


Congrats Multiple!

by Monda on

You are so blessed to have your babies morph into young sprouts. It sounds like you have been taking very good care of them. Mine on the other hand are not doing well because I neglected them in the midst of some family crisis. Tomorrow I need to start fresh. Hopefully I will have some green sprouts by Friday, if not before SizdahBedar. Life is still good now. Norooz Pirooz. 

Anahid Hojjati

sabzeh growing seems like a lot of work

by Anahid Hojjati on

All this sabzeh growing sounds interesting and like a class lab experiment.  In our family, I always heard that for us it is bad luck to grow the sabzeh ourselves.  So we always bought it.  Maybe back couple generations ago some body had too many kids, work, etc. to worry about growing sabzeh and just came up with story of sabzeh growing being bad luck for family.  

Multiple Personality Disorder

Good Morning my little sabzeh

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

In the middle of the night, I got up on a timely manner to empty my bladder, and I didn't forget to moisten the lentil cloth cover.  The little lentils are doing fine.  Some of the roots are as long as an inch and they are trying to grow downward.  

The Hypocotyls are growing too, but not by much.  Tiny little embryonic leaves are visible now.  They are not green (sabz) yet; they are more like yellowish-white-green.  A lot of the grains are still holding on to their skins, but it will not be long before they have to let go of their skins.

I think the little lentils are going to make it, but now that I think about it, not knowing from experience when it is a good time to remove the cloth completely, I might run into a problem.  Removing the cloth too soon might harm the roots.  Removing it too late might retard their growth.  No man should carry so much responsibility on his shoulder as to when it is the right time to allow living creatures to grow on their own without an arbitrary cloth to hinder their progress.

I'm going to wait till tomorrow to remove the cloth.  

Multiple Personality Disorder

They're alive! They're alive!

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Barely! The cloth was dry when I checked it this morning. Last night was one of the rarest nights that I did not get up in the middle of the night to empty my bladder. If I had woken up I would have moisten it for sure. I mean moisten the cloth, not my... Never mind. I feel so bad for not remembering the lentils last night, when I was dreaming about becoming a rich and famous author. I'm so sorry my little sabzeh.

This morning when I lifted the cloth and looked underneath I was amazed how much life had advanced. Some of the roots are 1/2 inch long, and most of them are showing tiny little Hypocotyls. It sounds sexy, doesn't it?  As Marge would say. Hypocotyls, Hypocotyls! Hypocotyl is that part of the plant embryo that lifts the growing tips up above the ground into the air and the first pair of embryonic leaves called cotylendons will grow out of them.

Some of the seed coats have completely separated from the grains. Some of the roots have dark brown spots on them, most likely due to drying up over night.

Grow my beautiful Hypocotyls! Grow!

anonymous fish


by anonymous fish on

has given birth and like every new mother is watching his miracle creation grow and mature...LOL

Multiple Personality Disorder

I checked on them first thing in the morning

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Some of the skins (seed coat) have turned slightly brown, and there was some brown water on the counter from the cloth dripping. I don't like brown. I want green. I made the cloth wet again but I think maybe I had too much water in the plate already. I tilted the plate sideway and drained some of that extra water out. Now I think maybe it's too dry.

Skins on most of the lentils have already broken open, and a small number of them are sending out a shoot called a radicle, which will hopefully become the roots. The ones with open skin are also showing their inner grain, but I can't see any Hypocotyls, the part of the plat embryo that would later sprout leaves.  Where are the Hypocotyls?  I want Hypocotyls! 

Fascinating, fascinating!

Nazy Kaviani

Dear Multiple

by Nazy Kaviani on

It sounds like you're doing it right! Don't mess with the sprouts too much or they'll break off. Just keep the cloth (I use Bounty paper towels) wet by spraying it or splashing small handfuls of water on it. Make sure there isn't too much water sitting under them on the plate or they will rot.

The key is patience and attention and in a couple of days you should see the green sprouts. Once they come out you can remove the cloth and just moisten the roots by spraying water on them once a day.

Maybe you can blog about it once it's ready!

Multiple Personality Disorder

The lentils soaked for 24 hours

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

...and then I transferred them to a flat plate, about 10 inches in diameter, an hour ago. When I transferred them, there was some water in the plate, which helped make the lentils spread evenly. I cut a not-so-clean piece of cloth from one of my old shirts in the shape of a circle and made it wet first and then tried to cover the lentils, but two things happened, first the cloth soaked up the excess water, and then the lentils clanged to the cloth, bunching up and making themselves uneven. I attempted to spread the lentils evenly but this time without water they would not cooperate. I gently got those lentils that were attached to the cloth loose and put them back on the plate.

I tried to spread the lentils by hand but they were too tender and not cooperative. I added a little bit of water to the plate and tapped on the side of the plate till they became relatively even and flat again. I put the cloth back on the plate again and made sure it was moist. The cloth is slightly larger than the plate, by about a quarter of inch all around so it sticks out. I put the plate on top of the pot that I was using to soak the lintels. It is now elevated and the cloth is moist and there is a slight dripping from the cloth, not too much. Also there was a stubborn brown ring around the pot that I used to soak the lentils, which it took some scrubbing to clean.

I am so excited I can't stand it! I'll keep you posted.


Very useful!

by Monda on

Mine never lasts until sizdah unless I leave it in the garage or some place dark and cold, for part of the day. So I'll follow your instruction tomorrow.

Multiple Personality Disorder

I got lentils

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

They are soaking.


It's the second day and

by desi on

It's the second day and nothing is sprouting.  Should I be concerned?  I may just end up buying a chia pet.

bajenaghe naghi

party girl jan

by bajenaghe naghi on

for the very lazy, there is another way. just stand somewhere long enough and as they say, "ta zireh paat alaf sabz beshe." 

anonymous fish

thanks Party Girl

by anonymous fish on

i got this ordered in time this year but i think we totally overdid the lentils... it might be TOO thick to grow.  but we're seeing some green coming through so maybe not!  it's really cool looking!  if it looks half way decent, i'll take pictures!


I'm trying this right now.

by desi on

I'm trying this right now.  Let's hope I have enough time.  The clock is ticking. As NP said.  My sabzis are also always kachal.  They tend to look like a badly mowed piece of sod.  Thanks PG.

Multiple Personality Disorder

I was going to bed

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

...but then I saw your blog which is exactly what I needed.  I'll get on with it right away as soon as the sun rises.  Do you know where I can buy lentils or wheat?  


Thanks so much Party Girl-e

by NP (not verified) on

Thanks so much Party Girl-e aziz!
I so needed to know this, my sabzehs are always
very kachal and bi-haal!
I'm sure going to use your directions.
Will let you know how it turns out.
Thanks again.
Nazanin P