Broccoli-lentil Khoresh Fesenjan.

Plantbased Persian walnut-pommegranate stew.


  • 1 cup raw walnut halves (+ some for decoration)
  • 200 grams Puy lentils (or use brown lentils)
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 medium-large broccoli head cut into florets
  • 500 ml. vegetable broth unsalted
  • 2-3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch Isot pepper (Urfa flakes) (optional)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup (or use sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 chili flakes (optional)
  • plantbased oil for baking
  • pinch of coarse sea salt (I always use Maldon salt)


Start by cutting the broccoli into small florets. Bring water to boil and blanch or steam the broccoli florets for 5 minutes. Drain over a sieve and let the florets cool and dry.

Toast the walnuts for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 ℃. Let them cool a bit before placing the walnuts in a foodprocessor and turning them into a fine paste. Add some water while the foodprocessor is running for a smoother paste. (in the picture I choose to turn them into a coarse paste, which works just as well)

Walnuts toasted and turned into a coarse paste

Chop the onions fine and fry them in a bit of olive oil until golden and soft. Add 250 ml. of the broth. Rinse the lentils in a sieve and add to the onions and broth. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and let the lentils simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Check if there is enough moisture and add some broth if necessary. (it should become a paste like texture in the end, not a soup)

In the meantime place the broccoli on a tray covered with baking paper. Sprinkle with a drop of oil and a pinch of sea salt. Grill them for about 15 minutes at 180℃ until they char slightly.

Peel a quarter of a pomegranate to get approximately 2 tbsp. of seeds.

When the lentils have turned soft, add the walnut paste, the pomegranate molasses, the maple syrup (or sugar), cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, Isot pepper and chili flakes (when using). Add some of the broth that is left if the mixture is too thick. Taste for salt and pepper. Continue to simmer another 10 minutes.

Taste again for tanginess (add molasses), sweetness (add sugar), warmth (add cinnamon), spicyness (add cayenne or chili flakes) and earthiness (add turmeric).

Mix in half of the broccoli. Transfer to a deep dish, place some more broccoli florets on top, add the pomegranate seeds and some walnut halves for decoration.

Serve with warm bread, oven roasted potato wedges or rice.


  • serves: 4
  • prep. time: 45 minutes

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