Seedy Mexican Zucchini Rice

Vegan rice recipe inspired by ingredients widely available in Mexico

Mexican Seedy Zucchini Rice

Fried rice with zucchini, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, was one of the first dishes I made after we arrived in Mexico.

Seedy Zucchini Rice is Mexican inspired, i.e. we were able to easily find all the ingredients in the Mexican grocery stores we first went to.

Make it a meal by serving with Refried Black Beans or Refried Pinto Beans or by adding whole beans with the rice. Garbanzo beans are also nice in a dish like this.

Total Prep & Cook Time: 30 Min

4 Servings

Nutrition Data Per Serving (140g): 294 cal, 43g carb, 10g fat, 304mg sodium, 3g fiber, 8g protein, low Cholesterol, good source Vit A, Vit C and Manganese. Estimated glycemic load 29


  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds (directions below) (56g)
  • 1 cup brown or white rice (185g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (6g)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion (60g)
  • 2 cups cubed zucchini (2 small or 1 medium zucchini) (250g)
  • Optional: 1/2 sweet red pepper, 1/2 inch dice (60g)
  • Optional: 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp cooking oil (14g)
  • 1 - 2 tsp cumin (2g)
  • Small pinch cayenne or chipotle powder
  • Optional: tsp salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (30g)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (16g)


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  1. Rinse rice and put on to cook with 1/2 tsp salt
  2. Roast sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds 10 - 15 minutes at 325 degrees F until lightly browned. Set aside.
  3. Wash and chop zucchini and optional red pepper. Set aside
  4. Chop garlic and optional onion
  5. Heat oil on low in a large fry pan or saute pan
  6. Add garlic and onion. Saute on low until onion is soft.
  7. Add zucchini and optional red and/or hot pepper. Increase heat to medium and saute until softened.
  8. Add cumin and optional cayenne or chipotle powder. Sauté with veggies until heated through.
  9. Add cooked rice and fry until heated through and mixed with veggies
  10. Mix in lime juice, chopped cilantro, roasted seeds, salt & pepper to taste
  11. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 5 - 10 more minutes

Recipe Tips:

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Although white rice is faster cooking and lighter, brown rice adds taste, texture and nutritional substance.

We used small pale green zucchinis which are common in this part of Mexico, but which I mostly see at farmer's markets in my Iowa home town. If you can find them, they work well in this dish because they are firmer than the typical dark green zucchinis sold in the U.S.

We're not that fond of hot spicy food, that's why I made hot peppers optional. But if you like hot, make this dish hot to your taste by adding more cayenne or chipotle powder, or sprinkling it with hot sauce at the table.

*'Sauté' means fry on medium or medium-high heat, stirring constantly. It's different from stir fry, which uses high heat, and is the end step in cooking.

Usually after sautéing, the contents are subjected to another step, like steaming or adding to a soup or stew.

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