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Vegan in Tehran

Vegan in Iran - breakfast (Image Zahra Khosroshahi)

If you ask me, one of the best ways of discovering a new culture is through its food. I’m always interested in what and where the locals eat, and if I’m lucky, I can even get my hands on some homemade meals.

Whenever I visit Iran, I have a list of foods and delicacies I have to get my hands on. Believe it or not, even as a vegan, I had some of the most delicious meals, drinks and baked goods in Tehran – and I am here to share them with you.

Try homemade dishes when possible

Vegan in Iran - loobia polo (Photo by Zahra Khosroshahi)

Persian food is known for its tasty stews that are served over saffron rice. Most stews get their flavour from the herbs and spices and don’t need any meat at all.

The best-case scenario is that you get your hands on homemade stews. In a country like Iran, known for its hospitality, this won’t be difficult. You’ll realise in the first few days of your stay that everyone you meet wants to invite you over. Tell them what you can and can’t eat and, even if they complain, they’ll serve you the best vegan meals you’ve ever had. Believe me, I speak from experience.

Vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Tehran

Vegan in Iran - kebab (Phot Zahra Khosroshahi)

Tehran is a massive city and so it’s bound to have veggie and vegan restaurants. As a vegan, I know that travelling to new countries often means for me to prepare and do a bit of research. The same applies to Tehran. Here’s a list of some of the best veggie restaurants in the city by Happy Cow.

The ones I have tried so far have been great, but I have to be honest and say that Banyan Tree is my favourite so far and this is because it serves vegan and plant-based Kebab (a traditional Persian dish that uses grilled meats and is served over rice, with grilled tomatoes and fresh herbs).

Other vegan options

Vegan in Iran - fresh bread (Photo Zahra Khosroshahi)

Unfortunately, you can’t always plan where to eat when travelling. So let’s talk about some vegan options that are available to you in Tehran. Make sure you don’t miss the amazing bread culture. Different regions in the country serve and make bread differently and there’s no shortage of traditional bakeries, so get your hands on it.

Also, Iran is known for its dates and dried fruits and nuts, which makes a great snack. Ash-Reshteh (a thick noodle soup with herbs) is vegetarian and if served without the Kashk (a dairy product) completely vegan. Most breakfast places in the country also serve beans and Adasi (lentil-soup) that is also vegan. Last but not least, when in Iran, get yourself some freshly made pomegranate juice.


About the author: Zahra Khosroshahi

I’m a PhD student at UEA, looking at the representation of women in Iranian cinema. When I’m not consumed by films, I like to write about environmental issues. I believe we all need to take better care of our shared and only home.

Follow me on Instagram for more zero-waste and eco inspiration: @zahra_livinglifenatural

About the images

Image 1: Vegan options from a brunch buffet (Location: The Tabiat Bridge). Food: Adasi (lentil soup), coffee, grilled veg, bread and salad

Image 2: Homemade food where the meat is replaced with soya

Image 3: Vegan Kebab in Tehran!

Image 4: Freshly baked bread (zero-waste too ;) )