Plant-Based Khoresht Gheymeh (Red Tomato Saffron Persian Stew)

Cooler autumn weather invites more soup and stew cooking at home, and your body will be calling for it. Here's one of my favorite Persian inspired stews that my grandmother used to make. It's versatile where you can include or simplify with what you have. The traditional base is with tomato paste, lamb and yellow split peas. You can easily amp up the veggies and make it plant-based or vegan by using Japanese eggplants, lions main mushrooms and squash instead. I've also made this with chicken instead of lamb for a little lighter version that still has some animal protein. Whatever you wish to include, this hot pot of primarily plant-based goodness will fill your insides up with warm aromatic flavors, nutrients and love. 

Also, incase you didn't know, I just came back from a magical trip exploring Santorini Greece. They have a very similar lamb stew without the lentils. If you feel like adding some Greek flavors to the mix like I did in this feature, I'll include the option for a subtle Greek spices to try as well. Enjoy!

Plant-Based or Vegan Khoresht Gheymeh

by Sarah Farsh October 10th, 2021

  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Persian saffron, soaked in a shot glass of hot water
  • 4-5 lemon omani (dried black Persian limes), or extra lime juice
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 250 g grass-fed lamb, cubed or organic boneless, skinless chicken or vegans can sub with:
    • 3 Japanese eggplants cubbed, lions main mushroom torn with hands like shredded chicken, 1/2 or whole squash of choice like kombucha, butternut, spaghetti peeled, seeded and cubbed. 
  • 1 large can organic crushed tomatoes (ingredients should say "tomatoes" and maybe "salt" only.)
  • 1 small can organic tomato paste (ingredients should just say "tomatoes")
  • 1-2 potatoes or Japanese yam, cubbed 
  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas or red lentils
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4-6 cups of water, more or less depending how rich you want your stew. You can always add more water after it's been cooking down if it got too thick. 
  • Greek twist: 2 tsp very good dried oregano, 2 tbsp very good honey or maple syrup, 1 tsp dried mint
  • kosher or Celtic sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh mint leaves and or basil
  • serve straight up, with basmati rice, quinoa or with cauliflower rice
  • very good cold pressed olive oil to finish 
In a large stew pot, dry sauté onions, adding splashes of water as needed to help onions not stick to pot. I don't cook with oil, but I sometimes finish dishes with raw oil for extra luxurious flavor and texture. Add turmeric, saffron with the hot water that it's been blossomed in, salt, pepper, cinnamon, lemon juice, lim juice and sauté well. Add protein of choice or all the veggies you're using, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and potato-mix well. Add potatoes split peas last because they take the quickest to cook, fill with a little more water you wish to see turn into stew because it will cook down into veggies a good amount. Cook slow and low for 1-2 hours. For greek version, transfer to an oven safe pot and bake at 350 for an hour before serving. Or keep cooking on stove and allow pot to cool off before serving. Drizzle with good olive oil if you like to finish with, and garnish. Enjoy!


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