Vegetarian Foods in Iran!

Post from Saboktar By Maryam Raha

If you are a vegetarian and planning to visit Iran, the food might be one of your biggest concerns. Many people suppose that Iranian food is all about Kebabs, so finding yummy Iranian vegetarian foods is a big deal while traveling in Iran. However, this idea is not true!

Don’t worry about being a vegetarian while traveling to Iran! Be sure that you might gain weight in Iran but not lose even a gram!

First tip: Know Iranian food and get the part you can have!

First of all, I should say that Iranian general cuisine is a combination of rice with a stew called Khoresh. Different stews have different mixture of beans, herbs, vegetables and meat, chicken or fish. People usually have the stews as a sauce for the white rice.

To be honest, although these stews are mostly non-vegetarian, trying them is a part of your Iranian cuisine experience. Therefore as a help, some restaurants cook the meat and chicken separately and just add it to stew when they are serving it. As a result, you can easily order your stew meat/chicken free!

What are famous Iranian vegetarian foods that you can find in restaurants?

1. Falafel kebab, cheap and yummy!

Falafel kebab is one of the Iranian vegetarian foods that you can find almost in every street in Iran. This food is really cheap in Iran and you can find a tasty falafel sandwich! Moreover, most of the falafel kebab restaurants are self served so you can fill up your sandwich with as many falafels and sides as you like! Don’t miss trying pickles with your falafel.

2. Aash, a green herbal soup!

In Iranian cuisine we have a variety of herbal green soups which are called Aash. Aash Reshteh is one of the most popular Aash that you can find almost everywhere in Iran. This Aash is a mixture of noodles and herbs and a top up special whey. So if you are vegan, don`t forget to ask it whey free.

3. Kashk bademjan and Mirza ghasemi, tastes like heaven for eggplant lovers!

If you are an eggplant lover, you should definitely try these two foods. Mirza Ghasemi, a local food for north of Iran is what I always have in my pocket to impress my non Iranian friends! Smokey eggplant plus garlic, tomato and egg are what make Mirza Ghasemi a super yummy vegetarian food! What If you are vegan? just ask it without eggs!

Another especial eggplant base food that you should not miss in Iran is Kashk Bademjan. This food is actually a mixture of eggplant, whey and fried onion!

4.Baghali Ghatogh, faba (fava) beans meal!

If you travel to Rasht or its surrounding, you can enjoy Baghali Ghatogh in most of the restaurants. This food is a famous mixture of fava beans, dills and eggs and you can have it with rice or bread.

5. lentils soup, pinto beans meal! (Adasi, Loubia)

These two meals are similar to plain dhal and Iranian people usually have them for breakfast. Both of the foods are vegan and really nutritious.

6.Adas Polo, (lentil rice)!

Polo in persian means rice. There are plenty of mixed rice recipes in Iranian cuisine and Lentil rice -Adas Polo- is one of the best ones. Iranian people serve Adas Polo with fried dates, fried sultanas and minced meet. Therefore, You can easily order it without minced meat as the meat is not cooked with the rest of the food.

7.Kuokuo! A new veggie patty!

If you are a burger lover and you feel like missing the burger experience since you are a vegetarian, kuku is probably a food for you. Kuku is a mixture of herbs or potato with eggs. It goes very well with salad or pickles.

Although vegetarian diet is not that much common in Iran, there are some restaurants or cafes which serve only Iranian vegetarian foods. Hence if you are looking for some more Iranian vegetarian foods, ask for these cafe or restaurants. I`m sure that they will add some new tastes to your journey!

If you are a food lover and specially a vegetarian one, you should definitely travel to Rasht in North of Iran. This city has recently joined to UNESCO creative cities network for its creative cuisine. Therefore, if you are planning to go to North of Iran and visit Caspian Sea, you will be delighted with the food there, vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

To sum up,  traveling as a vegetarian to Iran might seem like a challenge at first, but it won’t be a big deal. Just don`t worry and  give it a try and add some more vegetarian foods to your recipe book!