7 Delicious Iranian Foods Without Rice: A Guide to Exotic Flavors

Iranian foods without rice

Iranian cuisine is an exotic mix of flavors, textures, and aromas that is sure to delight any food lover. While rice is a staple in Iranian cuisine, there are plenty of delicious dishes that do not include this ingredient. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most popular Iranian foods without rice, including Mirza Ghasemi, Joojeh Kabab, Kuku Sabzi, Akbar Joojeh, Shishlik Kabab, Persian Lamb’s Tongue, and Khoresh Karafs. Whether you’re on a keto diet or simply looking to try something new, these dishes are sure to satisfy your cravings for traditional Iranian cuisine.

Mirza Ghasemi

Mirza Ghasemi is a popular smoked eggplant dip that has been enjoyed by Iranians for centuries. This vegetarian dish has its roots in the Qajar dynasty era and is made with eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, eggs, and butter or oil. Not only is it delicious, but it is also keto-friendly due to its low net carb per serving.

While Mirza Ghasemi can be found in many traditional restaurants throughout Iran, it originates from the Gilan province in the north of the country. If you’re planning a trip to Gilan, be sure to add this dish to your must-try bucket list. The unique blend of smoky eggplant and tangy tomatoes is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more. Give Mirza Ghasemi a try and experience the flavors of traditional Iranian cuisine.

Joojeh Kabab

Joojeh Kabab is a popular Persian dish that consists of marinated chicken pieces that are grilled to perfection. The chicken is marinated with a variety of ingredients, including salt, pepper, lemon, yogurt, onions, and saffron. The saffron not only adds a beautiful color to the dish but also gives it a delicious aroma.

Traditionally, Joojeh Kabab is served alongside grilled tomatoes and fragrant butter rice. However, for those on a keto diet, you can skip the rice and still enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal by simply pairing it with butter and tomatoes.

Whether you’re grilling on charcoal or barbecue, Joojeh Kabab is a must-try for those looking to experience traditional Iranian cuisine. The combination of juicy marinated chicken with fragrant saffron and flavorful spices is sure to please your taste buds.

Iranian foods
Photo by mehdi pezhvak on Unsplash

Kuku Sabzi

Kuku Sabzi is a quick and easy vegetarian dish that is a staple in Iranian cuisine. Kuku is a type of egg-based Persian food that can be made in a variety of ways depending on the ingredients used. Kuku Sabzi, in particular, is made with an abundance of fresh herbs that lend a delightful flavor and aroma to the dish.

Whether served as an appetizer or main dish, Kuku Sabzi is a perfect meal for any occasion. Its ingredients include fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, and chives, as well as walnuts, barberry, and oil. The combination of these ingredients creates a harmonious blend of flavors that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Give Kuku Sabzi a try and experience the delectable flavors of traditional Iranian cuisine.

Akbar Joojeh

Akbar Joojeh is a dish that originated from a restaurant of the same name in the Mazandaran province of Iran. Its unique flavor quickly made it popular throughout the country, leading to the expansion of Akbar Joojeh restaurants everywhere.

The special taste of Akbar Joojeh comes from the chicken that is fried in butter, creating a mouth-watering flavor that is hard to resist. It is typically served with pomegranate sauce, saffron rice, and olives, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

Not only is Akbar Joojeh delicious, but it is also a high-fat, high-protein meal that is perfect for those on a keto diet. While it is traditionally served with rice, the dish can still be enjoyed without it. Give Akbar Joojeh a try and experience the unique and delightful flavors of traditional Iranian cuisine.

Shishlik Kabab

Shishlik Kabab is a delicious and traditional Iranian dish made from succulent lamb rib chops. To make this dish, the lamb chops are marinated overnight with a mixture of salt, pepper, yogurt, onions, saffron, and olive oil to infuse them with flavor.

The lamb chops are then roasted on charcoal until they reach the desired doneness, giving them a perfect char and crispy texture on the outside while still remaining tender and juicy on the inside. Traditionally, Shishlik Kabab is served with saffron rice, grilled tomatoes, and butter.

If you’re looking to try traditional Iranian cuisine, Shishlik Kabab is a must-try dish. Its delicious blend of tender lamb chops, fragrant spices, and savory flavors is sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

Persian Lamb’s Tongue

While it may not be a dish for everyone, Persian Lamb’s Tongue is a traditional Iranian dish that is beloved by many. This dish is a great source of protein, and despite its initial intimidating appearance, it is cooked in a delicious and pleasant way.

The process of cooking lamb’s tongue takes time and requires a pressure cooker to ensure that the tongue is cooked to perfection. Once fully cooked, the tongue is sliced and fried with butter to enhance its flavor. It can then be enjoyed with a variety of Persian side dishes or vegetables, such as mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower puree, and more.

While it may not be a dish that everyone is familiar with, Persian Lamb’s Tongue is a unique and tasty dish that is worth trying for those who are adventurous with their food choices. Give it a try and experience the authentic flavors of traditional Iranian cuisine.

Khoresh Karafs

Khoresh Karafs, also known as Persian Celery Stew, is a unique and flavorful dish that is a staple of Persian cuisine. This stew is made by combining aromatic herbs, tender meat, and fresh celery to create a savory and delicious flavor.

Traditionally served over rice, Khoresh Karafs can also be enjoyed without rice, making it a great option for those on a low-carb or keto diet. The key to the dish’s deliciousness is slow cooking, which allows the flavors to meld together perfectly.

If you’re looking to try a traditional Iranian stew, Khoresh Karafs is a great place to start. Its unique blend of flavors and hearty texture make it a satisfying and delicious meal that’s perfect for any occasion.


Kashk-e-Bademjan is a simple yet delicious eggplant dip that is a staple in Iranian cuisine. The dish is made by mixing eggplant puree with walnuts, onions, garlic, and Kashk, a Persian yogurt derivative that adds a creamy and tangy flavor to the dip.

Despite its simplicity, Kashk-e-Bademjan is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer, a side dish, or even as a main course. It’s a great option for those on a vegetarian or keto diet as it is low in carbs and high in healthy fats and protein.

Kashk-e-Bademjan is a must-try for anyone looking to experience the flavors of Persian cuisine. Its creamy and nutty taste makes it a crowd-pleaser at any gathering, and its ease of preparation makes it a go-to dish for a quick and satisfying meal.

Experience the Iranian Culinary Style

If you are a food enthusiast and planning to travel to Iran to experience the authentic Iranian cuisine, it is highly recommended to go on a customized and tailored tour. With a customized tour, you can explore the best Iranian foods according to your preferences and interests. From the traditional Persian cuisine to modern Iranian fusion dishes, there are so many options to choose from.

ToIranTour is a travel agency that provides professional customized tours and designed to suit your interests and preferences. Our team of experts will work with you to create a personalized itinerary that includes the best of Iranian cuisine along with cultural and historical sites.

In conclusion, if you want to explore the best of Iranian cuisine, a customized Iran tour with ToIranTour is the perfect choice. With our professional tour services and customized plans, you can enjoy the authentic Iranian dishes according to your preferences and interests, while discovering the rich culture and history of Iran.

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