Lubia polo is a delicious Persian green bean rice dish made with tomatoes, green beans and chunks of beef stew meat. It can easily be prepared vegetarian style.
Lubia Polo (لوبیا پلو) is one of the staple dishes that I make regularly for my family. I have made it hundreds of times and don’t know why it took me so long to post it here on the blog!
I have shared loobia pollo’s sister recipe, Persian green bean stew with lamb shanks (khoresht loobia sabz). This stew is served with Persian rice (chelo). Loobia polo is basically the green bean stew layered and cooked with the rice instead of being served next to it.
Why you must try this fabulous recipe
I usually prefer my stews and rice served separately, so I can control how much of each I want to eat. Yes, so very scientific! Ha!
But lubia polo is an exception, in my opinion. The green bean and tomato mixture is prepared similarly as its stew counterpart, but with less water. The mixture is then layered with the parboiled rice back into the pot and steamed together.
The result? The flavors from the tomato and green bean mix is baked into the rice which gives you a deeper flavor than the usual stew and rice combination. It is very aromatic and freaking delicious.
When the kids were little, this was a great way to get them to eat their green beans. The string beans are cut into small bite size pieces and are so tasty and kid-friendly. My kids used to pick out and eat the beans separately they loved it so much.
I recently made a large pot of lubia polo for my daughter’s 17th birthday for her and her friends. It was a huge hit. And who says teenagers only eat junk food?
Ingredients you need
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy
- Green beans: You can use fresh or frozen green beans. I like to use Trader Joe’s French green beans which are thinner.
- Onions: Use brown, yellow or white onions.
- Diced tomatoes: I use diced and sometimes petite diced canned tomatoes. You can use diced fresh tomatoes, but you will need to remove the skin first.
- Basmati rice: You want to choose a high quality basmati rice. Many of the varieties you find at the grocery store have less flavor and are processed so they cook faster. You want long grain basmati rice, preferably Indian. Several brands I like are Royal, Pari and Zaffaroni.
- Ground saffron: Just like basmati rice, you want high quality saffron, too. The amount you need depends on the quality. If you find that your rice is not a vibrant yellow, you are probably using a lesser quality saffron. Look for Persian saffron. I mix saffron with some of the cooked rice to sprinkle over the lubia polo. This is an optional step.
- Potato: My family’s favorite kind of tadigh is potato. You can use russet or small white or red potatoes. Peel the russets, but you can leave the skin on the thinner skinned potatoes. You can also use pieces of lavash or tortilla to make your tadigh.
- Beef broth: If you are making this vegetarian, use vegetable broth or water instead.
- Pantry staples: Tomato paste, extra virgin olive oil, flour, ground turmeric, ground cinnamon, salt and pepper.
1. Heat a large pot and sauté onions in hot oil until softened. Add turmeric and continue cooking the onions.
2. Season stew meat with salt, pepper, turmeric and flour and mix to coat evenly.
3. Add more oil to the hot pot and then add meat with the onions. Brown the meat evenly on all sides.
4. Stir in beef broth, water, tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice and cinnamon. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.
5. Heat a large pan over high heat and add oil. Sauté green beans until they just start to soften. Season with salt and turmeric.
6. Transfer green beans to the stew and let it simmer while you prepare the rice.
7. Steep the ground saffron in hot water and set aside.
8. Rinse the rice 3 times and drain. Fill a large nonstick pot with water and add salt. Bring water to boil. When water is boiling, add cleaned rice to pot, boil for 6 minutes and then drain thru a fine mesh strainer.
9. Heat the nonstick pot over medium-high heat and add oil. Layer potato slices in the oil and season with salt.
10. Using a spatula, gently scatter a layer of rice over the potatoes. Using the same spatula, gently add a layer of the tomato-green beans. You want to cover most of the rice but not drown the rice.
Keep alternating layers of rice and green bean into the pot, ending with a green bean layer on top.
11. Gently insert the handle of your spatula or a wooden spoon down the center of your rice pile to create a steam spout for the rice. Cover the lid of the pot with paper towels or a thin kitchen towel and place it on top of pot. This helps catch and absorb the excess moisture.
Lower heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour.
12. To insure the tadigh is crispy, raise heat to medium high for about 5 minutes. While tadigh is crisping, use spatula to scoop out of pot and transfer to platter, mixing the white and red rice together.
Scoop out some of the white rice and mix it with the saffron. Place this saffron rice over the lubia polo. This is an optional step and I don’t always do it myself.
Expert tips and recipe FAQs
If your tadigh is sticking to the bottom of your pot, place the pot in 1-inch of water in the sink. After a minute or two the tadigh will release more easily from the pot.
When I prepare the rice vegetarian, I usually serve it with my dry rub chicken kabobs which are made in the oven. This way your meat eaters can enjoy even more protein.
I usually serve loobia polo with Persian cucumber salad (Shirazi salad), yogurt with cucumbers (mast o khiar), a platter of fresh herbs (sabzi khordan), and/or Persian pickled vegetables (torshi bademjan).
Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. You can reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. Just add a tablespoon of water and simmer on medium-low to steam and reheat.
You can freeze lubia polo, but the texture of the rice is different once thawed. Place leftovers in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3-4 months.
You can prepare the green bean mixture a day or two in advance. Just refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the dish. You will need to reheat the mixture before layering it in with the rice, but it doesn’t have to be boiling hot.
Lubia polo is a Persian rice dish made with green beans and tomatoes. The green beans is sautéed with onions and simmered with diced tomatoes and tomato paste. You can also cook it with ground beef or stew meat. This mixture is then layered with parboiled rice back into the pot and steamed together.
- 2 lbs green beans
- 2 cups diced onions
- 5 TBS olive oil
- 2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon all purpose flour (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups rice
- ¼ teaspoon ground saffron steeped in 1 TBS hot water
- 1 russet potato
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add 2 TBS olive oil. Sauté onions in hot olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon turmeric and continue cooking the onions.
- Season stew meat with ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon turmeric and flour. Mix to coat evenly.
- Stir in another 1 TBS of oil to the onions. Add meat with the onions and brown evenly on all sides.
- Stir in beef broth, water, tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice and cinnamon. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.
- Heat a large pan over high heat and add 1 TBS olive oil. Sauté green beans until they just start to soften. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon turmeric.
- Transfer green beans to the stew and let it simmer uncovered while you prepare the rice.
- Fill a large nonstick pot with 6-8 cups of water with ½ teaspoon salt. Bring water to boil.
- While waiting for the water to boil, rinse rice and drain rice 3 times.
- Once water is boiling, add drained rice to pot, boil for 6 minutes and then pass it thru a fine mesh strainer.
- Heat nonstick pot over high medium-heat and add 1 TBS oil. Layer potato slices in the oil and season with ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Using a spatula, gently scatter a layer of rice over the potatoes. Using the same spatula, gently add a layer of the tomato-green beans. You want to cover most of the rice, but not drown it.
- Keep alternating layers of rice and green bean into the pot, ending with green bean layer on top.
- Gently press the handle of your spatula or a wooden spoon down the center of your rice pile to create a steam spout for the rice.
- Cover lid of pot with paper towels or a thin kitchen towel and place it on top of pot. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour.
- To insure tadigh is crispy, raise heat to medium high for about 5 minutes. While tadigh is crisping, use spatula to scoop out of pot and transfer to platter, mixing the white and red rice together.
- Scoop out a spatula of cooked rice and add saffron water to that, mix til yellow and sprinkle over lubia pollo.
- Place potato tadigh around it or on a separate plate.
You can also make this with 1-pound of ground beef.
It is easy to make this vegetarian too. Skip the meat and use vegetable broth or just water.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 774mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 7gSugar: 10gProtein: 6g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Sign up for my eMail list, too!