Happy Nowruz! This 5,000-year-old festival celebrates the start of Persian New Year—and the start of a new season, too. The joyful holiday begins on the first day of spring and lasts for two weeks after the spring equinox. Nowruz, which means “new day,” is the most important day on the Iranian calendar. Persian families clean their homes, decorate with flowers, and exchange gifts with friends.
Many Nowruz traditions revolve around food, like setting the table with a haft-seen to bring health and prosperity to all. A haft-seen is a plate of seven foods that start with an “s,” from senjed (dried fruit) to sabzeh (sprouts). Families also gather to share large meals with traditional dishes such as stuffed peppers and rose water cookies.
These tasty vegan dishes make for a happy and healthy Nowruz. Spread the cheer by leaving animal-derived products off your plate, and make sure that your celebrations don’t come at the cost of anyone else’s life. Nowruz mobarak! (“Happy New Year!”)
Dolmeh (Stuffed Leaves)
Most countries in the Middle East have their own version of stuffed leaves with various spices and herbs. In Iran, dolmeh (which comes from a Turkish root meaning “to stuff”) are filled with Persian rice and rolled into squares. This savory and minty version is made with Swiss chard leaves.
© The Persian Fusion
Tahdig (Crispy Rice)
This rice dish is famous in Persian cuisine, and its name says it all. Tahdig, or “bottom pot,” is made from crispy, burnt rice at the bottom of an oiled pan. Most rice dishes can be cooked tahdig-style for a crispy treat. This version has saffron, barberries, and pistachios—three classic Persian ingredients.
© The Vegan Physicist
Ghormeh Sabzi (Fragrant Herb Stew)
This slow-cooked green stew is a favorite in Persian cuisine. Parsley, coriander, and fenugreek are just a few of the herbs that give ghormeh sabzi its signature green hue and heavenly smell.
© One Arab Vegan
Sabzi Baghali Polo (Rice with Herbs and Fava Beans)
Two traditional Persian rice dishes are combined to create this sabzi baghali polo: herbed sabzi rice and baghali with fava beans. This new take on a traditional Nowruz recipe is best served with your favorite vegan chicken.
Fesenjan (Spiced Pomegranate Stew)
Fesenjan is a showcase of Middle Eastern products. The stew is filled with tart pomegranates, walnuts, and warm spices such as turmeric and cinnamon. The dish is rich and unique and has been described as a “Persian gem.”
Ash Reshteh (Persian Noodle Soup)
This flavorful soup is always served during the festivities before Nowruz. Ash reshteh is a thick vegetarian soup (vegan in this recipe, of course) with legumes, noodles, and piles of fried onions on top. It’s commonly cooked on the 13th day of the New Year and best eaten with family.
© One Arab Vegan
Baklava (Pistachio Pastry)
The flaky pastry known as baklava or baghlava is a sweet tooth’s dream. Everyone is sure to love this dessert made with phyllo dough, pistachios, and a sticky syrup.