Persian Yellow Split Pea and Eggplant Stew

The following recipe is a sneak peek from our new cookbook, Forks Over Knives: Flavor! Find more exclusive recipes from the recently released book here.

Many years ago, when I lived in India, a group of visiting Iranian friends made a Persian-themed dinner that included this stew. I loved the flavor of saffron with the yellow split peas, and I have been making it ever since. Dried rosebuds, which this recipe calls for, are common in Persian cuisine, in both savory and sweet dishes. You can also find edible rose petals in many Mexican markets and tea shops or online.

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 12 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Rind of one lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans sodium-free or low-sodium tomato sauce (about 3 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 big pinches saffron
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosebuds (optional)
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1½ pounds), peeled and sliced lengthwise into ½-inch thick slabs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Finely chopped fresh mint (optional)


  • Combine the split peas and 4 cups water in a large pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour, until the peas are tender enough to mash easily when pressed between your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, cook the onion, garlic, lemon rind, and ½ cup water over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onion is tender, adding 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Add the tomato sauce, cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, saffron, and rosebuds (if using). Add 2 cups water and stir to combine.
  • Lay the eggplant slices on top of the sauce and bring the sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the eggplant is tender.
  • Add the split peas and their cooking liquid to the pan. Season to taste with the lemon juice and salt; stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes to allow the split peas to absorb the flavors.
  • Serve stew warm over steamed rice, and garnished with the mint (if using).

Comments (6)

(4 from 4 votes)

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I´m not a big eggplant fan. So I cubed the eggplants to make smaller pieces. OMG it was so so so good! We´ll make more soon and can it for the winter.


Great recipe, an easy, healthy version of a Persian comfort food

Kristina Chmielinski

I was very hopeful for this recipe. It smelled amazing while cooking but the lemon overpowered the dish. I think it would taste amazing with no lemon. I am a fan of lemon but it made the dish taste chemically. I am definitely going to make it again minus the lemon.

KD Kitteh Mama

Could I use preserved lemons instead of fresh?


Quite a delicious adventure. Although we've had and been a fan of middle eastern dishes we never had a specifically Persian dish. It's amazing that no one spice overpowered another and that the 12 cloves of garlic silently blended in with all the other flavors. Will definitely make again.

Jill Princehouse

Is there any way this could be made in an InstantPot so it could be a one pot meal?

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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