Vegetarian Loobia Polo Recipe

“Bean rice.”

That’s the literal translation of Loobia Polo. Pretty boring, huh?

But don’t underestimate this Persian dish; it’s anything but bland!

Being half Persian, I had the privilege of eating this dish quite often. It’s by far my favorite Persian dish and one of my favorite meals ever. No one can make it quite like my mom who, funnily enough, is Polish. (Yes, I’m half Polish, too.)

Once I moved out, I no longer had my mom to cook this for me so that’s when I took matters into my own hands. With a little help from Pinterest and my memory, I recreated a more simplified version of my favorite dish and it tastes just like home. 🙂

And now, I want to share it with you in the hopes that you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Vegetarian Loobia Polo Recipe

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 c uncooked brown jasmine rice
    • This is normally made with white basmati rice but I used whatever I had on hand.
  • Small pinch of saffron
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies (green beans, carrots, and corn)
    • Green beans are the most important of the three
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut oil

Here’s what you do:

The sauce:

  1. Saute the diced onions in a pan with some coconut oil on low heat until they’re a bit translucent.
  2. Add frozen mixed veggies and let them thaw completely on the pan.
  3. Add can of tomato sauce and stir till everything is incorporated.
  4. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, and cinnamon. Don’t be stingy! 😉
  5. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Set aside.

The rice:

  1. Add 2 cups of uncooked rice into a pot filled with water.
    1. Filter out the water several times to remove any starchy-ness from the rice.
  2. Let the rice boil until it’s half-cooked.
  3. Pour rice into a colander to drain out the water.
  4. Crush the saffron in 1 Tbsp of water and pour to the bottom of the same pot you used.
  5. Add rice back into the pot.
  6. Pile the rice into the center of the pot and poke holes in it.
    1. This is to cook the rice faster on the bottom.
  7. Cover and on medium heat, cook the rice for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the sauce and some coconut oil to the rice and mix until well combined.
  9. With a dishcloth, wrap the lid and cover the pot:
  10. Cook rice for 25-30 minutes on low heat.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Pro Tip: Is your rice crispy at the bottom of your pot? Not to worry! That’s totally normal. In fact, it’s called “tahdig” (tah-deeg) and Persians loveeee eating it. But make sure to eat this while it’s still fresh! It’s not crispy once you reheat it. 😦

Pro Tip #2: Traditionally, this dish is made with meat. My family would always use ground beef and lately, my mom would make it with cubes of tofu. Feel free to add whatever protein you want while you’re making the sauce and make sure to cook your meat well! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this little culinary adventure. I am, in no way, the authority on Persian cooking but I really wanted to share an ethnic dish with you. I love trying new foods from different cultures and I hope you enjoyed getting a little taste of Iran. 🙂

What’s your favorite ethnic dish? Share in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Vegetarian Loobia Polo Recipe

  1. Thank you for posting this. Loobia Polo is one of my favorite Iranian dishes, and actually I think that most Iranian recipes can be prepared without meat.
    BTW if you are interested take a look at my non-political Iran blog with focus on people, nature, customs, architecture and everything surprising about Iran:

    I hope you enjoy my posts. 🙂


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