This is such a delicious recipe. It’s also a versatile one. Zucchini rice can be a side dish or eaten on its own with or without a few additions. The shredded zucchini adds a pretty color to the rice which has a spicy bite from red peppers and bright flavors from cumin seeds and lemon juice.
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I can’t say enough nice things about the flavors in zucchini rice. The recipe was inspired by one from Manjula’s Kitchen, home of many incredible Indian Vegetarian recipes demonstrated by a charming hostess. I made changes to suit my own palate as well as the ingredients I have on hand.
The technique for making zucchini rice is similar to a pilaf which uses broth to cook the rice. Now that I think about it, there’s no reason you couldn’t substitute broth for water if you like.
The original recipe did not use onions but Rick and I like them and we typically saute zucchini and onions together so I added them.
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ inch piece of cinnamon (or ¼ teaspoon ground)
- 4 dried red chilis (more or less)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 cup finely shredded zucchini (leave the peel on)
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 cups water
- Use a heavy sauce pan or skillet to saute the onion in the butter and oil over medium high heat.
- When the onion has softened add the seasonings and cook briefly.
- Add the rice and stir well to coat the grains with the oil and seasoning. Cook for
- Add the zucchini and combine again.
- Stir in the water and lemon juice then let the whole mixture come to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid.
- Cook until the rice is tender, about 18 - 20 minutes. There may be some liquid left but the dish is done when the rice is cooked.
While I was making this I was sorely tempted to add a jar of chickpeas. That’s a favorite quick meal for me.
If you don’t like to cook rice, or don’t want to make so many servings you can do this: Reduce the ingredients by half. Saute the onions with the seasonings, stir in the zucchini and add a pack or cup of microwave rice.
Other variations include adding chopped herbs (try mint, thyme or parsley) when the rice is finished. Instead of chickpeas try stirring in another protein like leftover chicken.