Fesenjan (Koresht Fesenjoon) is a delicious traditional Persian stew. Ground walnuts form the basis of the sauce, which is fragrant with cinnamon and pomegranate molasses. This easy vegan version is served with roasted cauliflower. Ready in just 25 minutes.
Commissioned by California Walnuts.
I’m working with California Walnuts to help promote their “Power of 3” campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the heart health benefits of walnuts and their Omega-3 content (more on this below) – so it seemed only fitting to share 3 recipes with them.
I’ve included them in a Persian-inspired feast, showing how to eat California Walnuts at any meal. Scroll down for the recipes for Breakfast Parfaits with California Walnut Granola and Persian California Walnut Salad, as well as the Fesenjan recipe (recipe card below!)
You will love this tasty Persian stew recipe, trust me! The rich sauce is made of ground California Walnuts, pomegranate molasses (a reduced pomegranate juice syrup) and fragrant cinnamon.
It’s quick, easy and absolutely bursting with flavour.
The fragrant dish is usually served with meat, but this one has roasted cauliflower instead, making it vegan and vegetarian.
Fesenjan is quick, easy and bursting with Persian flavours. It’s a recipe that’s firmly on my meal plan list and I hope it will be on yours too!
You only need a few ingredients for this pomegranate walnut stew, including pomegranate molasses (available in most supermarkets) and, of course, walnuts.
If you love this Persian stew, be sure to also check out my vegetable vegan stew.
What is fesenjan?
Khoresh-e Fesenjān , also known as fesenjan or fesenjoon, is a Persian stew (khoresh) that originated in the Gilan province of Iran.
It’s made from ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses (syrup/concentrate).
Traditionally, koresh fesenjoon is made with chicken, but my version is vegan and vegetarian by substituting roasted cauliflower.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make Fesenjan. The only unusual ingredient is pomegranate molasses, but it’s widely available in most larger supermarkets. You can also make your own by boiling pomegranate juice until it reduces and becomes the consistency of balsamic vinegar.
- California Walnuts
- Vegetable stock
- Pomegranate molasses (also called pomegranate concentrate)
- Maple syrup
- Ground cinnamon
Pomegranate arils / seeds
Walnuts are a great food for heart health, as they’re the only tree nut to contain a significant amount of the plant-based omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 2.7g/ 30g. A handful a day (30g) can help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. – California Walnuts
Fesenjoon makes the most of heart-healthy California Walnuts, in a tasty and easy dinner recipe. We all know how great the flavour of these nuts is (it’s a must in Carrot Cake!), but it’s also great in many other dishes.
I’ve included them in a Persian-inspired feast, showing how to eat California Walnuts at any meal. Scroll down for the recipes for Breakfast Parfaits with California Walnut Granola, and Persian California Walnut Salad, as well as the Fesenjan recipe in the recipe card below!
Why add more California Walnuts to your diet?
- As the only tree nut to contain a significant amount of the plant-based.
omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 2.7g/ 30g, walnuts are a great food for
- A handful a day (30g) can help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.
- They have the heart-healthy seal of approval from the heart health charity, HEART UK.
- A handful a day (30g) can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- 30g has 1.4g of fibre and offers 4.4g of protein.
- As the only tree nut to contain a significant amount of the plant-based.
Enjoy them at breakfast
So we know that walnuts are good for us. But you don’t need to just have them by the handful or for dinner in this koresh fesenjan recipe.
Here’s a super quick and easy way to enjoy them for breakfast – in a parfait!
Yogurt Parfait with California Walnut Granola
50g chopped California walnuts
2 tbsp maple syrup
450g plain yogurt
2 tbsp pomegranates
Sprigs of mint
- Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and add the walnuts and oats. Toast, stirring often until golden and fragrant, then stir in the maple syrup. Set aside to cool.
- Divide the yogurt, oats and pomegranate seeds between 4 glasses in layers. Top with pomegranate seeds and mint.
Enjoy them for lunch
Here’s the recipe for a tasty, easy Persian salad. It’s great for lunch or as a side dish to the vegetarian fesenjoon recipe.
Persian California Walnut Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish
50g California walnuts
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tsp maple syrup
200g salad leaves
½ a cucumber, unpeeled and diced
2 tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, finely chopped
Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
Optional garnish: chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds
- Heat a dry frying pan, add the walnuts and toast for a few minutes until fragrant and golden. Place half of them into a mini food processor along with the oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses and syrup. Whiz until combined. It will be slightly chunky.
- Gently toss the rest of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Divide onto plates and serve drizzled with the dressing and sprinkled with the remaining walnuts. Delicious served alongside the fesenjan!
How to make Fesenjan – step by step
- Roast the cauliflower florets for 15 minutes or until they turn golden.
- Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan for a few minutes
- Whiz the walnuts in a food processor until crumbly.
4. Wipe out the frying pan, then add the oil and fry the onion until soft.
5. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat.
6. Stir in the ground walnuts, cinnamon, maple syrup and pomegranate molasses.
7. Add the roasted cauliflower, cover and simmer for 7 minutes.
Tips and Tricks
- Walnuts, whether in-shell or ready-to-eat kernels, should be kept in a cool place, e.g. the fridge and not the cupboard.
- For longer storage, place walnuts in the freezer for up to 12 months and simply thaw when needed.
- California Walnuts are available from all major retailers. Simply look for ‘USA’ or ‘California’ on
- Don’t over-whiz the walnuts or they’ll turn to walnut butter. Keep an eye and stop when it forms a ‘meal’ consistency.
- If you can’t get pomegranate molasses, you can make your own by reducing pomegranate juice until thick like balsamic vinegar.
I’ve used roasted cauliflower in this dish, but you could try these other options to keep this fesenjoon vegan:
- Roasted eggplant (aubergine)
- Crispy pan-fried tofu
- Roasted squash or pumpkin
You can enjoy fesenjan on its own as a stew, or serve it over rice.
I love it with Persian salad (scroll up for the simple recipe).
Disclosure: This recipe was commissioned by California Walnuts. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to mess up my kitchen and write Veggie Desserts.
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you!
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- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 tbsp oil
- 200 g 2 cups California walnuts
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cupa 400ml vegetable broth/stock
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses pomegranate concentrate
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Chopped parsley
- Pomegranate arils
- Rice to serve (optional)
- Heat the oven to 400F / 200C.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets, then spread onto a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until soft and the edges are beginning to turn golden.
- Meanwhile, heat a dry large skillet and add the walnuts. Toast them, stirring often, for a few minutes until fragrant and the edges begin to darken. Transfer the walnuts to a food processor and allow to cool, then whiz until they form a fine crumbly meal. Don’t overblend them or they’ll turn to walnut butter!
- Heat a teaspoon of oil in the skillet you toasted the walnuts in (no need to clean it, just wipe out any burnt walnut bits) over a medium/low heat, then add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Add the vegetable stock and allow to bubble. Stir in the walnut meal, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup and cinnamon, then add the roasted cauliflower. Cover and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over rice, garnished with chopped parsley and pomegrante arils.