Loobia Polo | Persian Green Bean Rice Recipe

Loobia Polo is one of Persian’s famous dishes. A Delicious combination of green bean, rice, and meat, forms a popular one-dish meal among most Iranians. This simple, easy to make comfort dish has such gorgeously rich developed flavors that do not need a long preparation nor need many ingredients.

A typical busy Persian mom would choose to cook Loobia Polo as a healthy and easy food for her kids, in parallel with thousands of other chores she has to do during the day…

What is Loobia Polo/Lubia Polo?

Persian Green Bean Rice, as it is obvious from its name requires green beans and rice as its main ingredients.
There are two parts to the dish:

  1. The first part of Loobia Polo is Polo! Polo or Polow, often called Persian rice pilaf in the West, is the name applied to rice with which other ingredients are mixed in the cooking process.
  2. The second part would be the green beans & meat mixture, that would be added to par-cooked rice, and eventually steamed in order to bring the flavors together.

The balanced combination of greens, carbs, and meat all together makes this food a special Persian main dish and a good source of minerals and vitamins.

Loobia polo - Persian Green beans with rice

Can I make Vegetarian Loobia Polo?

The traditional recipe for Loobia Polow requires boneless lamb shoulder as it’s protein. However, it is more popular to be made with ground beef. Also, for those who prefer chicken, is possible to make it with boneless chicken cut into cubes.
However, the green beans itself are so nutritionally rich and flavorful that would make this dish a perfect vegetarian food.
If you want to replace meat with something, I suggest adding diced potatoes as it really helps with the taste.

Loobia Polo recipe Ingredients (SERVES 4-6)

Green beans and meat mixture

  • 500g Meat ( lamb or beef cubes/ ground beef/chicken)
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 500g green beans
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Rice

  • 2 1/2 cups long-grain basmati rice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 cups of water
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp bloomed Saffron
Green bean rice - green beans rice ingredients

Meat can be replaced with ground beef, chicken or potato

How to make Loobia Polo?

Persian green bean rice recipe includes 3 steps.
1. Cooking the green beans mixture just like a thick sauce.
2. Par cooking the rice.
3. The final step would be to mix both rice with green beans mixture and then steaming them together.

Green beans and meat mixture recipe

To prepare the green beans and meat mixture, start with washing and removing both ends of the green beans. Then chop all the beans to 1-inch tall pieces. Onion is the base of most Persian foods as well as most international dishes, the cooking process begins with small dicing onions and sautéing them in a pan with vegetable oil on medium heat until it becomes transparent.

Loobia polo - Saute onion until the become transparent

Then add cut beans on to the onions, fry them both together until the green beans become shiny green and soft.

Loobia polo - add cut green beans and fry with onions

Now it is time to add the protein (in this case mincemeat), cook until browned. If you are using lamb or beef chops pre-cook them with spices before adding, since they need longer cooking time.

Lubia Polo - add the protein of your choice to the combination of beans and onions

*if desired, you can add diced potatoes too.

Persian green bean rice - optionally you can add potato

Optionally added some diced potatoes

 

The next step would be Turmeric to make the smell of meat magical. You may also add other spices, I personally like to add 1 tsp Gram Masala. Not to forget Cinnamon, as it’s a secret ingredient that boosts the flavor of this dish to a whole other level.
Season with salt and pepper.

Lubia Polo - add the protein of your choice to the combination of beans and onions add spices (turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper) to the combination

Just before adding boiling water to the mixture, add the tomato paste for more flavor and color.

Lubia Polow - add the tomato paste for more flavor and color

Add boiling water to the mix of meat, onions, and spices. When water is added, combine everything well, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the meat is poached and cooked through. You can use a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to make this step faster.

While green beans and meat mixture is cooking you need to start with the rice.

Green bean rice - add boiling water to the mix of meat, onions, and spices

Rice (Polo) recipe

I will concisely explain how to make rice the Persian way, but you can find our complete Persian rice recipe in detail. These steps are the same for most Persian rice dishes, even for Tahchin – Persian Saffron rice cake.

  • Bring a pot of water with salt to a rapid boil.
  • Pour the washed, soaked rice into boiling water, bring it back to boil, cook for about 8-10 minutes or until rice grains are long, soft on the outside and firm in the center.
  • Drain and rinse well with cool water, as it helps separate the rice grains and bring about more fluffy rice.

Steaming
How to Mix the rice and green beans mixture

Add vegetable oil to a large non-stick pot.
With a large spatula pour about 1/3 of parboiled rice, a little bloomed saffron over the rice and on 1/2 of green beans mixture, build up the layers ( rice, saffron, green bean, and always finishing with rice) into a pyramid shape away from the sides of the pot.

In order to release the steam make 4-5 holes in the rice with the bottom of a spatula.

Saffron Polo - build up the layers into a pyramid shape

Pour a little boiling water on the sides, cover the pot with kitchen towel raped lid and cook for 5 minutes on high heat until the rice starts steaming, lower heat to and steam for another 30-40 minutes.
When the rice is fully cooked gently fluff the rice a bit to have the beans mixture and rice combined.

Rice - lower heat to and steam for another 30-40 minutes

What to serve with Lubia Polo?

Loobia Polo goes well with most Persian side dishes especially with Shirazi salad and plain yogurt.

Loobia Polo | Persian Green beans and Rice dish

An easy quick comfort dish with greens beans, ground beef and rice.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Steaming time40 mins
Total Time5 d 2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: Green beans and rice recipe, vegetarian Loobia polo
Servings: 6 people
Author: zeinab

Ingredients

Green beans Stew

  • 500 g Ground beef It can be replaced with lamb or beef stew chops or chicken
  • 2 Onions Large
  • 500 g Green beans
  • 3 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Rice

  • 2 1/2 cups Long-grain basmati rice
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp bloomed Saffron

Instructions

Green Beans Stew

  • Start with washing and removing both ends of the green beans. Then chop all the beans to 1-inch tall pieces.
  • Then chop all the beans to 1-inch tall pieces.
  • Small dice onions and sautéing them in a pan with vegetable oil on medium heat until it becomes transparent.
  • Then add cut beans on to the onions, fry them both together until the green beans become shiny green and soft.
  • Then add cut beans on to the onions, fry them both together until the green beans become shiny green and soft.
  • Add turmeric, cinnamon or any other spice you like.
  • Add the tomato paste for more flavour and color
  • Add boiling water, combine everything well, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

Rice

  • Bring a pot of water with salt to a rapid boil.
  • Pour the washed, soaked rice into boiling water, bring it back to boil, cook for about 8-10 minutes or until rice grains are long, soft on the outside and firm in the center.
  • Drain and rinse well with cool water, as it helps separate the rice grains and bring about more fluffy rice.

Steaming and mixing the rice and green beans mixture

  • Add vegetable oil to a large non-stick pot.
  • With a large spatula pour about 1/3 of parboiled rice, a little bloomed saffron over the rice and on 1/2 of green beans mixture, build up the layers ( rice, saffron, green bean, and always finishing with rice) into a pyramid shape away from the sides of the pot.
  • In order to release the steam make 4-5 holes in the rice with the bottom of a spatula. 
  • Pour a little boiling water on the sides, cover the pot with kitchen towel raped lid and cook for 5 minutes on high heat until the rice starts steaming, lower heat to and steam for another 30-40 minutes.
  • When the rice is fully cooked gently fluff the rice a bit to have the beans mixture and rice combined.

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