Lemon Dill Zucchini & Chickpea Rice
5 from 10 votes

This lemon dill zucchini & chickpea rice is a wholesome, Mediterranean-inspired meal that’s both easy and flavorful.

An overhead image of a plate covered in zucchini chickpea rice, which is garnished with fresh dill.

This lemony, herbaceous chickpea rice is one of my favorite, fast dinners.

I first made this meal during my clinical internship year, when time was short and the need for good nutrition was high. It utilizes some of my favorite simple, humble, hard-working plant-based ingredients: greens, grains, and beans.

No matter how simple the formula for this meal is, it tastes more vibrant than you might expect it to. Lemon, shallot, and herbs all contribute to this effect.

While I love to use the very ingredients that I chose for the dish, this is also an adaptable recipe. It’s more of a formula than a recipe, really. You could swap the chickpeas for another bean or trade the rice for bulgur, quinoa, farro, or barley.

The chickpea rice is also a good contender for meal prep, so that you can portion and store it for quick lunches and dinners. You’ll find more information on prep and storage below!

A foolproof meal planning formula

When you need a nutritious dinner and you’re low on creative inspiration, I have three words for you: greens, grains, and beans.

“A green, a grain, and a bean” is what I fall back on when I’m not sure what else to make. I’m assured good, plant-based nutrition and satisfaction in one place.

The other nice thing about this formula is that it’ll give you so much room for variety. Within each category, there are so many options to choose from. Here’s what I mean.


  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bulgur
  • Barley
  • Farro
  • Wheat berries
  • Spelt berries
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain bread
  • etc.

Greens (and green vegetables)

  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli rabe
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Zucchini
  • Green cabbage
  • etc.


  • Chickpeas
  • White beans
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black eyed peas
  • Lentils
  • etc.

These lists definitely aren’t comprehensive, hence the “etc.” There are more legumes, greens, and grains to work with, and you should feel free to experiment with your favorites.

How to make chickpea rice

Roast your zucchini

You’ll start by roasting the zucchini for the rice.

Roasting, rather than sautéeing, makes the zucchini extra sweet and flavorful. I keep the seasoning very simple: avocado oil, salt, and pepper.

Cook your rice

While the zucchini roasts, you’ll also need to cook your rice. This can be short or medium grain rice. I prefer brown rice for this recipe—the nutty flavor, the toothsome texture—but white rice is fine if that’s your preference.

Full disclosure: I have an unabashed reliance on frozen rice these days. I get bags of it at Whole Foods (it’s the 365 brand) and am always so grateful when I remember that it’s sitting in my freezer.

It’s no big deal to cook rice, I know. But sometimes even simple procedures can be a barrier to cooking. Whenever I have the opportunity to take an impactful shortcut, I do.

Sauté shallot and garlic

These alliums will give the simple zucchini chickpea rice plenty of savoriness and some depth of flavor. They cook quickly, too.

Mix and warm

When the shallots and garlic are cooked, you can add the cooked rice, chickpeas, and zucchini to the skillet. Next, you’ll season with lemon juice and add fresh herbs. I love dill and parsley in this recipe, but you can choose different herbs if you prefer.

Is the chickpea rice gluten-free?

Yes, it sure is.

If rice isn’t your favorite gluten-free grain, you could use another gluten-free grain, such as quinoa, millet, or sorghum, in its place.

A white, round plate serves a zucchini, rice, and chickpea dish. It rests on a white surface.

Meal prep & storage

The single easiest way to make this recipe even easier than it is is to cook your rice ahead of time. The rice can be cooked a couple days before you prepare the whole recipe.

You can also roast the zucchini ahead of time. It will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Once those components are prepared, the chickpea rice itself takes fifteen minutes or less to make.

Leftovers of the chickpea zucchini rice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. They can be frozen for up to six weeks.

More green, grain, and bean suppers

If this simple meal is up your alley, then I have a few others that you might enjoy, too.

A serving bowl holds colorful plant-based ingredients, dressed in a golden, creamy sauce.

4.67 from 18 votes

An overhead image of a plate covered in zucchini chickpea rice, which is garnished with fresh dill.
5 from 10 votes

Lemon Dill Zucchini Chickpea Rice

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 lb zucchini, trimmed and diced (about 2 medium zucchini)
  • 1 tablespoon refined avocado oil
  • 1 cup short or medium grain brown rice (or 3 cups cooked brown rice)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 14.5-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley or chives
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Toss the zucchini with the vegetable oil and transfer to the sheet. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and browning.
  • Cook rice according to package instructions while zucchini roasts.
  • Heat the olive oil or broth in a roomy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallot is clear and soft. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Stir in the cooked rice, chickpeas, and roasted zucchini. Add the lemon juice, dill, and parsley; stir well. When everything is warmed through, taste and add salt and pepper to your preference. Serve.
A white, rimmed plate is covered with a dish of whole grains, vegetables, and beans. It's garnished with herbs and rests on a white surface.

I hope you might turn to it on a busy night, like I did, and find that it’s as filling and flavorful as you need it to be.


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Recipe Rating

  1. Hi, Gena,

    I loved this recipe. Full of protein and melt-in-your-mouth zucchini and some of my favorite flavors, like dill and lemon. Thanks for the plant-based goodness!

  2. Oh, I wish we had frozen rice here! What a time-saver. I love how simple and clean this recipe is, Gena. Thank you. Perfect for quick mid-week meals.

  3. 5 stars
    Tried this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. I found the zucchini really cooked down, so next time I’d use 3 instead of 2 (mostly because I love zucchini!). I also had a few mushrooms that needed to be used up, so I roasted those and threw them in. Highly recommend!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and I really enjoyed it! I sauteed the zucchini instead of roasting it because it’s so hot here and I didn’t want to turn on the oven. A great simple meal, thanks for the suggestion to try the frozen rice, I will probably keep a pack in the freezer.

    • 5 stars
      I made this last night and currently having left overs! It was quick, easy, and flavorful- the lemon, dill, and parsley were a great combo and made an otherwise simple dish really tasty. Thank for sharing this recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Though I was tempted to throw all kinds of extra stuff into this dish to bulk it up, I’m so glad I followed the recipe as written. So simple and delicious! The fresh dill and parsley combine so well with everything. Still, I may experiment with adding more veggies in future versions, and I look forward to making this easy dish again. Thank you!

  6. Brown rice will be done within 5 minutes if you soak if for a few hours or overnight. So it can be done just as fast as quinoa and millet.

  7. I totally agree with you on the merits of frozen rice. I always have Trader Joe’s organic brown rice in the freezer, and it’s so handy for bowls, wraps, burritos, and fried rice. I never make rice from scratch anymore. It’s such a time saver.

  8. My favorite type of recipe! It’s great to have a few of these meal ideas on hand…. quick, inexpensive, healthy!