Vegan Persian Eggplant and Tomato Stew (Khoresh Bademjan)

Khoresh Bademjan Persian Eggplant and Tomato Stew

The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 36 mins
Total: 51 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
418 Calories
16g Fat
64g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 418
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 431mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Dietary Fiber 10g 37%
Protein 11g
Calcium 337mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Khoresh, (sometimes spelled khoresht) or stew, is a mainstay of Persian cuisine. While khoresh bademjan, or eggplant stew, often includes meat, it's a recipe well suited to vegetarian adaptations. This vegan version makes a delicious main dish served over plain steamed rice or crusty tahdig. For a less traditional take, serve it over quinoa or couscous. If you're not concerned about keeping things vegan, a dollop of yogurt herb sauce is a tasty topper to this meal.

Pomegranate molasses—a thick syrup made from reduced pomegranate juice and sugar— gives the stew a distinctive tang and depth of flavor. You can find it in Middle Eastern markets and at some specialty groceries or make your own. 

Stews like this one are ideal for cool weather al fresco dining during Sukkot. And since the palace intrigues of the Purim story took place in ancient Persia, this dish is the perfect addition to a Persian cuisine-inspired Purim seudah (feast)


  • For the Khoresh Bademjan:
  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (stemmed, peeled, and cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion (trimmed, peeled, and finely sliced)
  • 3 large cloves garlic (peeled, smashed, and finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (sea or kosher, plus extra for salting the eggplant)
  • 1 (28 ounce can) tomatoes (whole and peeled; drained)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (store-bought or homemade)
  • Optional: 1 pinch saffron
  • For the Yogurt Herb Sauce (optional):
  • 1 (6 to 7 ounces) container plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup dill (fresh, chopped)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic (smashed, peeled, and finely chopped)
  • Optional: 1 pinch salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the eggplant in a large colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with a generous pinch or two of sea or kosher salt and set aside. 

  3. In a Dutch oven or large chef's pan set over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and saute until they are soft and translucent, and beginning to brown in spots, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and salt, and sauté until the onions are coated and the spices are aromatic, about 1 minute more.

  4. Add the eggplant to the pan (if it has released a lot of liquid, pat it dry with paper towels or a clean tea towel first). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté, turning to coat the eggplant in the onion and spice mixture, until the eggplant turns tender and shrinks in volume, about 8 to 10 minutes. 

  5. Stir in the tomatoes, using the spoon to break them apart into large chunks. Add the water, pomegranate molasses, and saffron, if using. Stir well. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook covered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot over rice, quinoa, or couscous

  6. To make the optional, non-vegan yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, dill, garlic, and salt, if using. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

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