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Spice up Your Life with These Vegetarian Foods

Iran Nomad ToursOtherSpice up Your Life with These Vegetarian Foods

5 Best Persian Vegetarian Foods

Persian meals aren’t often the most vegetarian-friendly. In truth, Persian vegetarian foods are sometimes hard to find. Since red meat, specially lamb, is one of the main ingredients of almost all iconic Persian dishes. But, don’t turn away yet, because we have gathered around some of Iran’s most scrumptious vegetarian recipes that you can make at home. These recipes are fresh, unique, and guaranteed to spice up your life and return time and time again as a fan-favorite meal to your tables.

Kalleh Joosh

To kick this off, we thought of an amazing, nutritious, vegetarian and protein-packed dish that also happens to be a staple in the nomads’ house (or tent!). This dish is called “kalleh joosh” or “kala joosh” and it’s made with pretty simple ingredients that you can find in your pantry (well, almost). IF you don’t have some of the ingredients for these vegetarian foods, FEAR NOT, because we’re here to recommend substitute ingredients for you that you can easily swap with the original ingredients.

Ingredients
• Some vegetable oil,
• 2 large onions, chopped
• Walnuts, 100 grams, chopped
• Some dried mint
• Garlic (optional but encouraged)
• Kashk 500 grams, or to taste (or substitute Greek yogurt and cream cheese)
• Salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric (optional)

A nutritious vegetarian Persian dish made of walnuts, mint and kashk which is served in a white Persian dish and there are Sangak bread & vegetable beside it

Steps

    • 1. First, you need to sauté the onions until they soften and start to caramelize. Grate or finely chop the garlic and let it sauté in the mixture. At this point, the heavenly aroma of caramelized onions and garlics should be wafting through your kitchen.
    • 2. On medium heat, add the dried mint to the onion mixture and mix, the dried mint can burn up pretty quickly and you don’t want that.:)) this step is quick and DO NOT keep the dried mint on the heat for more than a minute.
    • 3. Add the chopped walnuts and mix. The walnuts will add a nice crunch and change of texture in this dish.
    • 4. In this step you need to add in the Kashk (which is similar to whey) and water and let it simmer while stirring it. This goes on until the mixture starts to boil. At this point take it off the heat. The thickness and minty-ness of this recipe is optional, some people like it to be thick, others like it very light and liquidy, and it can be enjoyed either way. By adding Kashk, this recipe won’t need any added salt, but make sure to add salt to your taste.

Swap: You can use salted Greek yogurt, sour cream and maybe a spoon of cream cheese to mimic the taste of Kashk. In normal times you could try to find a local Persian, Turkish or Arab grocery store but we know that option is off the table now.
Note: If you add yogurt (better to use sour yogurt), remember to mix it constantly and add some water and salt. If you don’t continuously stir it, the yogurt will curdle.
Of course, if you want to go the extra mile and become a true Persian chef, you can attempt to make Kashk at home, which is best to be explained in another blog post. I’m sure that if quarantine continues, we will all have enough time on our hands to venture into the unknown and try to DIY everything at home.
We’d love to hear your feedback if you make this recipe or other vegetarian foods. We have in mind to bring more Persian recipes to our website because Persian cooking is beautiful and you definitely miss out if you don’t try the abundant delights of colorful and fragrant Persian dishes.

Baghala Ghatogh

We know you can’t pronounce its name, but, if you like earthy, fresh flavors and soft poached eggs then this recipe is exactly what you need in your life! It does include a few special items (dill and Flageolet beans) but otherwise, this dish is very easy to whip up and enjoy in less than an hour. Low-calorie and protein-packed, this is a very nutritious vegetarian food that’s guaranteed to spice up your day!

Ingredients
• Flageolet beans, 300 grams
• 3 Eggs
• Dill (a handful, or if you’re using dry dill 3 tablespoons is enough)
• Garlic (4 cloves, crushed)
• Butter or olive oil

A vegetarian Persian dish with egg & beans surrounded by rice, garlic, onion & olive, served in copper dishes

Steps

Pre-cooking preparations: If you’re using dry Flageolet beans, make sure to let them rest in water for at least 12 hours before cooking. Then, add some salt to the water and remove their skin.

1. If you’re using fresh Flageolet beans (which is recommended), cut them in half and remove the skin on the beans.

2. Add the butter to a pot/pan and let it melt. Once the butter has melted, add in the crushed garlics. sauté for a little bit until the garlic turns fragrant but don’t overcook it because we don’t want the garlic to burn in the next steps.

3. Add in the Flageolet beans. Toss and stir for 2-3 mins. Add in the dried dill and salt and pepper to taste. Also add a pinch of turmeric.

4. Add a 1.5 cups of water to the mixture and let it cook the broad beans and turn it into a delicious stew-y consistency.

5. When the water has reached its boiling point and the beans are fully cooked, crack the eggs in the mixture and let them poach in the herby, buttery mixture until the egg whites are whitened. If you like a runny yolk, remove the pot from heat at desired time.

Mirza Ghasemi

Treat yourself to this smoky flavored, which is one of the most delicious vegetarian Persian foods from north of Iran which can be made from super simple ingredients and will definitely give you a refreshing change in your meal plans! This dish is better enjoyed with flat bread, or naan.

Ingredients
• Eggplants (5 medium sized)
• Tomatoes (2 medium sized)
• Tomato paste (optional, 2 tablespoons)
• One whole garlic (about 4-5 cloves, of course you can go easy if garlic isn’t your thing)
• 2 eggs

A dish from north of Iran. It is made of eggplant, tomato and garlic. it is served in a copper plate and decorated with a rose flower and vegetable

Steps

1. Grill the eggplants, whole, on a fire. You can use your stove on low heat or if you have a barbecue, do it outside. The skins of the eggplants should slightly burn and the eggplants will turn soft and deliciously smoky. After the eggplants have cooked and cooled down, remove the burnt skins and smash the juicy insides with a fork or a blender. I recommend the fork because we don’t want their texture to be pasty.

2. Puree’ the tomatoes using a blender, or grate them and remove the skins.

3. In a heated and oiled pan, sauté the crushed garlics until they turn fragrant. This should take less than a minute.

4. Add your tomato puree to the garlics and stir. Sautee for a minute. If you want your finished dish to have a brighter color, you can a spoonful or two tomato paste and sauté it with the rest.

5. Add your smashed smoky eggplants to the mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Dig a well inside the velvety mixture and crack your eggs in it. Blend and mix your eggs until they start to cook, then mix the egg with the eggplant mixture.

7. Your Mirza Ghasemi is ready! One of the best vegetarian foods from north of Iran. If you like a zesty flavor, squeeze in some lime juice and garnish with cherry tomatoes and a bit of parsley and imagine you’re enjoying this dish while looking at the lush forests in Gilan province of Iran.

 

Kashk e Bademjoon

Eggplant lovers, gather around because we got the best meatless eggplant recipe to bring you the best of both worlds. Juicy, tender meaty eggplants meet up with the star ingredient-Kashk- to bring you a creamy, tangy eggplant dish that is filled with protein and flavor in every bite! Don’t turn away if you don’t have Kashk (whey) in your fridge. We’re here to recommend the best substitutes to enjoy one of the best vegetarian foods with whatever you got in your pantry.

Ingredients
• Eggplants (6 medium sized)
• Onions (2 medium sized)
• Garlic (4 cloves)
• Walnuts (3 table spoons, chopped)
• Dried mint (2 table spoons)
• Kashk (4 table spoons)/swap: sour cream and Greek yogurt, a little bit of cream cheese
• Tomato (optional)

A Persian dish with eggplant served in a copper pot with Sangak bread & vegetables

Steps

1. Peel the eggplants, chop them in half and fry (or sauté’) them until they’re perfectly cooked and tender. After they’re cooked and a bit cooled, mash them with a fork.

2. Add the diced onions to a heated and well-oiled pan and cook until lightly caramelized.

3. When the onions are softened and lightly golden, add the crushed garlics and dried mint. Stir well. Both garlic and mint can burn quickly so be sure to do this on medium or low heat and just stir them together for a maximum of 2 minutes.

4. This is optional and not in the classic recipe, but adding some tomato paste or puree or finely chopped tomatoes to the onions can add a nice pop of color and also a subtle sweetness to balance the savory taste of Kashk.

5. Add the mashed eggplants to the onion mixture and stir. Season it with salt and pepper.

6. Add 1.5 cups of water to the Kashk and mix well until Kashk is fully incorporated into the water. Pour Kashk over the eggplant mixture and stir.

7. Add chopped walnuts. They will bring a nice crunch and extra flavor to this dish.

7.5. Pro tip: add some dried mint to a mixture of caramelized onions and garlics with olive oil and sauté to get a dark green garlicky mixture. This will be generously dripped on top of your dish after it’s done.

8. Our “kashk e bademjoon” is done! Garnish with the minty mixture and add some crushed walnuts on top for an extra drool-worthy look and taste.

Kookoo Sabzi

Ingredients
• A bunch of fresh, juicy herbs: chives, parsley and coriander
• Eggs
• Chopped walnuts
• Barberries (optional)

For this recipe you need 2 cups of chopped herbs, mostly chives, some parsley and a little coriander. Too much coriander will give this dish a bitter taste.

A Vegetarian Persian dish made of vegetable, egg and walnut. It is served in a copper dish and decorated with tomatoes and vegetables

Steps

1. Combine your chopped herbs with approximately 2 eggs. The mixture shouldn’t be runny. Add the eggs one at a time and only add the next egg if your mixture seems too dry and not fully incorporated.

Note: you can add grated onion to the mixture for a better taste, and adjust the amount of eggs with it.

2. Slightly oil a pan and add 2 spoonful of barberries and a pinch of sugar. Toss and turn in medium heat until the berries are tender and cooked.

Note: Barberries can burn quickly, and only need to be on heat for a few minutes.

3. In an oiled pan (maybe the one you used in the last step), add the herbal mixture, shape it in a circle and add the chopped walnuts and barberries on top.

4. Cook without the lid on for at least 30 minutes, then carefully turn it upside down and let the other side cook.

Your Kookoo Sabzi, one of the most famous vegetarian foods, is done! Enjoy in a flat bread sandwich with pickles, salted tomato slices and fresh garlics.

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