Home » Vegan Fesenjan (Iranian Pomegranate Walnut Stew)

Vegan Fesenjan (Iranian Pomegranate Walnut Stew)

A deep clay pot with beautiful patterns full of vegan fesenjan, with the ingredients scattered around it.

Fesenjan, also called Fesenjoon, is a deliciously rich stew from northern Iran. It is sweet, sour, and bursts with spices and flavor. Typically, the rich pomegranate walnut stew is made with meat, but in this recipe, I will put a vegan spin on this classic and prepare it with chickpeas only. No matter if as comfort food during a cold winters day or as a refreshing recipe for a hot summer evening, this protein-loaded dish will got you covered. While this vegan fesenjan has some untraditional twists, this luxurious stew tastes absolutely delicious!

Ingredients for Vegan Fesenjan:

Ingredients for vegan fesenjan beautifully assorted on a patterned underground
  • Chickpeas
  • Walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Organic orange
  • Pomegranate
  • Vegetable stock
  • Maple syrup
  • Pomegranate molasses
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Turmeric
  • Nutmeg
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground black pepper & salt
  • Optional: Young eggplants

The ingredient list for this vegan fesenjan is a bit longer, but this stew is well worth the hassle! The main ingredients are chickpeas and walnuts. You can either use canned chickpeas, or soak and boil dried chickpeas a day ahead when making this recipe. We will grind the walnuts up to give the stew a deep, nutty flavor and nice texture. This stew is tangy and fruity, for which pomegranate molasses and orange are key ingredients. The pomegranate molasses gives this recipe it’s distinct taste. Use an organic orange as we will add the zest as well. To counter the tanginess, I like adding some maple syrup for sweetness. You can alternatively use can sugar or date syrup as well. If you want to add more veggies to this stew, fresh, young eggplants are the perfect choice. Next, this dish gets its rich flavor from lots of spices. The turmeric, nutmeg, cumin and cinnamon pairs so nicely with the orange flavor. Also, a tasty olive oil and vegetable stock (I went with my trusted homemade recipe) add extra depth to this dish. Fresh parsley, mint, and pomegranate round everything off and introduce delicious fresh notes to this rich stew.

Vegan Fesenjan Recipe:

Preparing the Ingredients:

A wooden bowl fllled with toasted ground walnuts

Firstly, pan-toast the walnuts. Giving them an extra toast adds so much flavor! Make sure that your walnuts are nice and fresh, we don’t want bitter flavor. Once toasted, grind the walnuts in a food processor until fine. If you don’t want the coarse texture of walnuts, you can add some vegetable stock until they turn into a smooth paste. I kind of like the walnut texture so I kept mine a bit more coarse. Dice the onions and mince the garlic.

Cooking this Delicious Stew:

Spice coated, sautéed onions and chickpeas in a stainless steel pot

Add your olive oil to a deep pot, and sauté the onions until turning translucent. If you are including eggplants, add them now as well. Add the garlic, spices, and orange zest, and sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Your kitchen will already start smelling amazing! If you are using homemade vegetable stock, you will want to have it prepared for the next step.

Simmering vegan fesenjan topped with liquid

Next, add the chickpeas, the juice of your orange, maple syrup, and fill up the pot with vegetable stock until the chickpeas are topped off. Add the pomegranate molassis and walnut paste, and bring the stew to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour until the stew has thickened nicely, and the chickpeas are super soft. Check for seasoning. If the pomegranate molassis is too sour, you can balance it with some extra maple syrup.

Finish the stew with fresh pomegranate seeds, and finely chopped parsley and mint. I like adding a few walnuts for decoration.

Serving Suggestions

Two bowls of vegan fesenjan served over yellow rice, beautifully garnished

I love serving this vegan fesenjan with a spiced golden rice! Plain simple white rice or tahidg for the more traditional experience will be fantastic, too!

My spiced golden rice recipe will follow in a bit!

I hope you liked this vegan twist on this classic Iranian stew. My family and I cannot get enough of it! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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A deep clay pot with beautiful patterns full of vegan fesenjan, with the ingredients scattered around it.

Vegan Fesenjan (Iranian Pomegranate Walnut Stew)

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This vegan fesenjan recipe is a plant-based spin on a persian classic. Expect creamy chickpeas, walnuts, orange and lots of flavor! It is simple to make and comfort food at its finest.

  • Total Time: 80 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

500g chickpeas

250g walnuts

60ml olive oil

2 onions

5 cloves garlic

1 organic orange

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground black pepper

300ml vegetable stock

40ml maple syrup

70ml pomegranate molasses

1 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup mint (to garnish)

1 pomegranate

Salt to season

Optional: 2 young eggplants (if you want to include more veg)

Instructions

Toast the walnuts in your pan on medium-high heat. Once toasted, grind the walnuts in a food processor until fine. Dice the onions and mince the garlic.

Add your olive oil to a deep pot, and sauté the onions until turning translucent. If you are including eggplants, dice them, and add them now as well. Add the garlic, spices, and orange zest, and sauté for 1-2 more minutes.

Add the chickpeas, the juice of your orange, maple syrup, and fill up the pot with vegetable stock until the chickpeas are topped off. Add the pomegranate molasses and walnuts.

Let the stew simmer for about an hour, until it has thickened nicely and the chickpeas are creamy. Check for seasoning and balance the flavors as you like.

Finish the stew with fresh pomegranate seeds, and finely chopped parsley and mint. I like adding a few walnuts for decoration. 

Notes

If you don’t want the coarse texture of walnuts, you can add some vegetable stock until they turn into a smooth paste.

This stew is best served over rice. I went with a delicious, fragrant pilaf rice today.

  • Author: Ivo
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 70 minutes
  • Category: Main, Dinner
  • Cuisine: Persian
  • Diet: Vegan

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