This Turkish zucchini stew is heart, healthy and so easy to make. It's made in one pot and is ready in just 30 minutes.
Vegetables are a big part of Turkish cuisine and they are incorporated into dishes in creative ways. Vegetarian dishes such as red lentil soup and this zucchini stew are very popular. Like many other Mediterranean recipes, this recipe calls for wholesome ingredients and is very easy to make.
Why this recipe works
Zucchini stew, also known as kabak yemegi is a dish loved by many in Turkey and there are good reasons for it:
- Quick: This dish is ready in 30 minutes and most of it is hands-off.
- Vegetarian: If you're following a vegetarian diet, this would be a filling dish for lunch or dinner. If you're interested in vegetarian recipes with zucchini, make sure to check out our zucchini fritters as well.
- Flavors: While this might seem like a simple zucchini recipe, it's full of flavor thanks to spices and vegetables.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini: You can use green or yellow zucchini for this recipe. You don't need to peel the zucchini therefore make sure to wash it thoroughly.
- Tomato paste: Because tomato paste is pretty concentrated, you only need a tablespoon of it for this recipe.
- Rice: Medium grain rice works best here but if it's not available, you can use basmati rice.
- Cut the zucchini into half moons and set aside.
- Saute onion and garlic in some olive oil over medium heat.
- Add in the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes so it releases its color and aroma.
- Add in the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes.
- Rinse the rice and add it to the zucchini. Add in the spices and water. Bring it to a low simmer, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Turkish zucchini stew is usually served with a dollop of plain yogurt (try our homemade yogurt) and some herbs. You can try making yogurt at home using your instant pot. This zucchini stew can also be served as a side dish with grilled zaatar chicken, baked cod or beef shish kabob.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can add ground beef or chunks of chicken breast to this recipe. If doing so, brown the beef or chicken with the onion before adding the tomato paste, then proceed with the recipe.
Yes, you can make this recipe up to a day ahead of time and reheat it before serving.
This dish keeps well in the fridge. Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
You can add chopped tomatoes to this dish with the zucchini. I don't recommend adding any other vegetables because the beauty of this dish is in its simplicity.
Freezing zucchini stew
Store the zucchini stew in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw it in the fridge overnight or place it directly in a pot and heat over medium until it's simmering.
More Turkish recipes
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Turkish Zucchini Stew Recipe
- 2 zucchinis
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup medium grain rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 cups water
- Wash the zucchini and cut it into half moons.
- Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
- Sauté onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add in the zucchini and give it a good stir.
- Rinse the rice under running water a few times.
- Add the rice, salt and pepper. Add the water and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is cooked.
- Top with yogurt and serve.
- You can serve zucchini stew as a main dish with a side of salad or some bread.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- To freeze, place the stew in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight or place it in a pot and heat over medium heat.
- You can add chopped tomato to this dish as well.