Part of what we do here at Iran Vegan Travel is scour the country for authentic, local vegan dishes. While most traditional Iranian favorites can easily be made vegan by eliminating the meat and dairy and/or substituting your favorite plant protein, there are actually several dishes that are vegan to begin with. We’ve gathered a few of these Persian vegan dishes and desserts to present to you in this post. These are just a handful of the local specialties you’ll be able to try when you travel with us. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of them, though, because the truth is that there are more than a couple that are new for most Iranians, too!
Ghâtogh-e baneh (or âb baneh)
Baneh is a kind of wonderfully colorful wild pistachio harvested around the rocky village of Meymand in Kerman province. Crushed baneh are massaged until their oils are released. Then tepid water is added, and the shells are drained. This process is continued a few times until nothing but the baneh shells are left. While this dish itself is fully raw vegan, locals like to tear pieces of bread into it until it soaks up the liquid and add sliced raw onion. As for the taste? We can assure you it’s quite unique- in a good way of course! Guests inevitably end up saying that they can’t get enough of it.
One of the sweets the city of Kerman is best known for is kolompeh, a date-filled cookie (of which a vegan version is also available). But a lesser-known confection is komach sehen, which is wholly vegan. These fantastic cookies are made from a combination of sprouted wheat flour and wheat flour and filled with minced dates and either walnuts, almonds, or pistachios. Spices including cinnamon, green and black cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, and clove will play with your taste buds. Best washed down with a glass of piping hot Persian tea, these hearty sweets are a guilt-free indulgence!
Persian stuffed eggplant
Eggplant can be used versatilely in vegan cooking. In this version, a mixture of onions, garlic, walnuts, sweet and sour pomegranate paste, and fresh herbs is stuffed inside the eggplant to add some authentic Persian flavors to your palate. This incredibly tasty and satisfying specialty can easily be recreated at home in under an hour!
You may already be a major fan of traditional Iranian breads like barbari and sangak, but there is a wide variety of local breads that must be tried in each city. Nân kholfeh is one such traditional flatbread from the north of Iran. Made with mashed pumpkin, rice flour, and wheat flour and sprinkled with ground fenugreek, this bread is best eaten straight out of the traditional clay oven!
Another delicious eggplant dish from the north of Iran is kâl kabob and is similar to the more widely known baba ganoush. Smoked eggplant is mashed together with ground walnuts, pomegranate paste, garlic, mint, angelica, and other spices to create a mouth-watering starter. But we predict you’ll enjoy this one so much you’ll fill up on it before you get to the entree!
This popular sweet comes to us from Gilan province in the north of Iran. Ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom are tucked into a layer fried batter made from rice flour. A wonderful snack to be had with a glass of tea at any time, reshteh khoshkar is particularly popular during the month of Ramadan when locals eat it to break their fast.