Lentil Fesenjān is a classic Persian dish that traditionally features meat, such as chicken or duck, cooked in a rich and flavorful sauce made from pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts. This vegan version substitutes lentils for beef, creating a hearty and nutritious stew that retains the essence of the original dish. Packed with protein, fiber, and a myriad of flavors, this Vegan Lentil Fesenjān is a perfect addition to your plant-based recipe collection.
- 1 cup dry green or brown lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups walnuts, finely ground
- One large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups pomegranate molasses
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- One teaspoon of ground turmeric
- One teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
- Three tablespoons olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- One tablespoon vegetable oil (for sautéing)
1. Cooking Lentils:
In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed lentils with 4 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, approximately 20-25 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and set the lentils aside.
2. Toasting Ground Walnuts:
In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the ground walnuts until they release their oils and become fragrant. Be careful not to burn them; stir frequently for about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
3. Sautéing Onions:
In a large pot, heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.
4. Creating the Base:
Stir in the ground turmeric, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using). Allow the spices to infuse the onions for a couple of minutes, creating a fragrant base for the stew.
5. Combining Lentils and Walnuts:
Add the cooked lentils and toasted ground walnuts to the pot. Mix well to combine, ensuring the lentils and walnuts are evenly coated with the aromatic onion and spice mixture.
6. Adding Pomegranate Molasses:
Pour in the pomegranate molasses, which brings a sweet and tangy flavor to the stew. Adjust the amount based on your preference for sweetness and tartness.
Reduce the heat to low and let the stew simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
8. Adjusting Seasoning:
Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning, adding salt if necessary. The balance between sweetness, tartness, and spiciness is key to a perfect Fesenjān.
Once the stew reaches your desired consistency and flavor, please remove it from heat. Serve the Vegan Lentil Fesenjān over a bed of fluffy rice or quinoa.
10. Garnishing (Optional):
Garnish the dish with additional toasted walnuts or pomegranate arils for a burst of freshness and texture.
This Vegan Lentil Fesenjān offers a plant-based twist on a traditional Persian delicacy. The combination of lentils, ground walnuts, and pomegranate molasses creates a hearty and flavorful stew that will delight your taste buds. Perfect for special occasions or as a comforting weeknight meal, this dish showcases the versatility and richness of vegan cuisine. Enjoy the unique blend of textures and tastes in every spoonful of this plant-based masterpiece.