Vegetarian Rice and Beans Recipe with (Loobia Polow)

Spiced green bean and tomato rice

  • serves 4-6
  • Easy

Sabrina Ghayour takes a classic Persian recipe, loobia polow (rice cooked with green beans and meat), and made it veggie for a showstopping meat-free main



  • basmati rice 350g
  • ghee or vegetable oil 4-5 tbsp
  • onion 1 large, finely chopped
  • fine green beans 400g, trimmed, each cut into 4 equal pieces
  • garlic 4 large cloves, thinly sliced
  • ground turmeric 1 tsp
  • ground cinnamon 2 tsp
  • tomato purée 4 tbsp
  • butter 75g, cubed
  • saffron a pinch, ground to a powder, mixed with 2-3 tbsp of boiling water
  • greek yogurt 1 tbsp


  • Step 1

    Bring a pan of water to the boil and parboil the rice for 6 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold running water for a couple of minutes, using your fingers to wash off the starch. Shake vigorously to drain, then set aside.

  • Step 2

    Heat 2 tbsp of the ghee in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the onion for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Add the beans, and cook, stirring regularly, for 15-20 minutes or until they are completely soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further 10 minutes. Mix in the turmeric and cinnamon, then season generously. Mix in the tomato purée and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, then take the pan off the heat. Tip in the rice and fold together gently, avoiding breaking the rice grains, until evenly combined.

  • Step 3

    Line the base of a large lidded pan with a disc of baking paper cut slightly larger than the base. Heat the pan over a low heat, add the remaining ghee and allow it to melt over the paper. Stir the saffron water into the yogurt, then add it to the melted ghee and stir gently together.

  • Step 4

    Tip the rice mixture into the pan, pressing into the edges and base of the pan to create a flat bottom. Smooth the surface, then, using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke a series of holes into the rice, piercing all the way to the base of the pan (this allows the steam to circulate). Wrap the pan lid in a tea towel, cover the pan with the lid and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Remove the lid, put a large platter over the pan and carefully flip the rice on to the platter to reveal the crunchy tahdig (scorched rice) base. If it doesn’t turn out in one piece, simply remove the crunchy base, slice it into portions and put it over the rice to serve, as pictured.

Sabrina Ghayour, Bazaar

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Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 432
  • Fat 21.5g
  • Saturates 12.7g
  • Carbs 48.9g
  • Sugars 5.5g
  • Fibre 5.3g
  • Protein 7.9g
  • Salt 0.3g