Persian eggplant lentil stew – gheymeh bademjan

persian eggplant lentil stew gheymeh bademjan

My passion for cooking started many years ago as a desire to eat anything other than the constant Persian food being served at my house. Ironically enough, one of my favorite things to cook nowadays is the delicious food of my beloved homeland. Gheymeh Bademjan (eggplant lentil stew) is one of my all time favorite dishes.

This dish is traditionally cooked with beef or lamb that is simmered to perfection {for several hours} and served alongside delicious, thick yogurt. I developed this meat-less version for a quicker weeknight dinner that is also more affordable. Try this recipe the next time you’re looking for a Meatless Monday dish!

Doing some simple prep work in advance makes this such an easy dish to pull together. Start by cutting a small yellow onion in half and dicing it into small, equal pieces.

A Dutch oven (or Le Creuset) works great for Persian stews but you can use a pot as well. Heat about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and cook the onions until lightly golden brown- see photo on top right.

Peel a large eggplant and cut into equal sized chunks.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and cook the eggplant until golden brown.

While the eggplant is cooking, drain the lentils and add to the onion mixture. Cook the lentils for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 1 Cup of filtered water to the onion/lentil mixture, poke a hole in the dried lemon and add to the pot of lentils. Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes until the lentils are almost cooked (they should be al dente). Note: you can find dried lemons (sometimes called preserved lemons) at any international market or the ethnic food section of Whole Foods.

IMG_2353 After the lentils have been cooking for about half an hour, add the sautéed eggplant to the pot with the lentils. Season with about 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt (taste the stew after a few minutes of cooking and add more salt to your taste). Cook the stew for an additional 20minutes over low heat. You are good to go when the lentils are fully cooked and the eggplants are fully cooked. Serve this delicious concoction over toasted brown rice and you’re golden!

To make the toasted brown rice:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot. Add 1 Cup of dry brown rice and stir frequently with a wooden spoon. Toast the rice until it’s lightly browned and fragrant. Add 2 Cups of water to the rice, add 2 teaspoons of sea salt, bring the water to a boil.

Once the water boils, lower to heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Cook the rice for 35-40 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is no longer crunchy.

gheymeh bademjan

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Persian Eggplant Lentil Stew (Gheymeh Bademjan)

A vegan take on a traditional Persian dish!

  • Author:
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Cuisine: Iranian food

Ingredients

  • 1/2 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant (peeled and cubed)
  • 1/2 cup yellow lentils (soaked in filtered water for at least 30minutes)
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste.
  • 1 Cup water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 dried lemon
  • 1 Cup brown rice

Instructions

  1. Place the lentils in a large bowl and cover with water, let the lentils soak for at least 30 minutes or overnight
  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat
  3. Once the oil is hot and starts to ripple in the bottom of the pan, add the yellow onion and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the onions are translucent and the edges are starting to brown, about 8-10minutes
  4. When the onions are golden brown, drain the lentils add to the onion mixture.
  5. Cook the lentils for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add turmeric to the lentils and cook, stirring continuously, for 3 minutes
  7. Add the tomato paste to the lentils and cook, stirring continuously for 5 minutes
  8. Add 1 Cup of water to the lentils, using a sharp knife or fork poke a hole in dried lemon and drop into the pot of lentils
  9. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot, cooking for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are almost cooked but have a slight bite to them
  10. While the lentils are cooking, peel the eggplant and cut into equal sized chunks
  11. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat until the oil begins to ripple (3-5 minutes)
  12. Add the eggplant to the oil and cook, flipping the pieces frequently, until the eggplant is golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes per side
  13. Once the eggplant is browned add them to the pot with the lentils
  14. Season with about 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt (taste the stew after a few minutes of cooking and add more salt to your taste)
  15. Cook the stew for an additional 20 minutes over low heat
  16. When the lentils are fully cooked, you can serve the stew over a bowl of brown rice and garnish with parsley

To make the toasted brown rice

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot
  2. Add 1 Cup of dry brown rice and stir frequently with a wooden spoon
  3. Toast the rice over medium heat until it is lightly browned and fragrant
  4. Add 2 Cups of water and 2 tsp sea salt to the rice
  5. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with it’s lid
  6. Cook, covered, for 35-40 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is no longer crunchy
  7. Fluff the rice up with a fork and serve with the stew
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