Fesenjoon with Tofu

Fesenjoon with Tofu {Gluten-Free, Vegan} | Wheat-Free Meat-Free

Fesenjoon is an Iranian stew featuring walnuts and pomegranate molasses. Whenever I’ve seen it in restaurants, it’s been made with chicken. But while doing some research, I learned it’s not uncommon for the stew to have no meat at all. I chose to add tofu because the stew is so flavorful and the tofu could soak up all the flavor. If you don’t like tofu though, leave it out.

Fesenjoon with Tofu

  • 2 12-ounce blocks extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, minced
  • 1 cup finely ground walnuts (1½ cups walnut halves)
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • pinch saffron
  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup well-rinsed basmati rice
  • pinch salt
  1. Place the tofu between towels and set something flat and heavy on top. Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add the oil. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the walnuts, cook for 3 minutes, until just starting to brown. Add 2 cups of water. Stir well to break up any clumps, and scrape up any walnut stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the saffron and pomegranate molasses. Stir well. Add the tofu. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
  4. With 30 minutes left in cooking time, combine the rice, remaining 2 cups of water, and salt in a medium pot. Cover and set over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set the lid askew, allowing rice to steam until fesenjoon is ready.
  5. With 15 minutes left in cooking time, set the lid of the fesenjoon askew to allow some of the liquid to cook off. Serve over rice.

Serves 4

Preparing the Walnuts | Wheat-Free Meat-Free

Making the Fesenjoon | Wheat-Free Meat-Free

I ground the walnuts in my food processor. Process until the nuts start to look wet and clump together. They should have a paste-like consistency.

The fesenjoon should be both sweet and sour. This will largely depend on your pomegranate molasses. Give the stew a taste before serving. If you think it’s too sweet, add a couple splashes of lemon juice.

This recipe is being shared in Meat Free MondaysAllergy Free Wednesday, and Gluten-Free Fridays.

Looking for More Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes?

Take a look at my book, The Wheat-Free Meat-Free Cookbook: 100 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes.

A sampling of the recipes included:
  • Breakfasts: Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, Yeasted Waffles, Gooey Butter Cake,
  • Sides: Patatas Bravas, Pea and New Potato Salad, Braised Celery,
  • Mains: Corn Waffle Sandwiches, Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Pesto Asparagus Galette, and
  • Desserts: Blueberry Mango Crisp, Baklava Rolls, Amaretto Cake.

You can see the full recipe list on the Amazon page.


  1. I’ve never heard of Fesenjoon before but it looks delicious!

  2. Looks great!

  3. Love tofu but don’t make enough meals with it! This sounds really good. Pinned for later. :) #MeatFreeMonday

  4. Wow, I’ve been dabbling in Persian cooking recently and have been meaning to make a vegetarian or vegan version of this recipe and this looks deep dark and delicious, I love that you have used tofu too. It looks greats.

  5. I love fesenjoon and make it up with tofu too! Your images look so rich and tempting. :-)

  6. I make it with Tempeh (from Trader Joes or Whole Foods) and it turns out great! My boyfriend is Vegeterian but he doesn’t like tofu mostly because of its texture. So we make it with Tempeh which has a more firm texture.

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