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5 from 12 votes

Maqlouba (Vegetable Makloubeh • Upside Down Rice)

This Maqlouba (vegetable Makloubeh) is an extravagant presentation of hearty rice and vegetables which have been turned upside down. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Palestinian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Janelle Hama


  • Flat Baking Tray


  • 1 Large Potato sliced 1cm thick
  • 1 Med Eggplant sliced 1cm thick
  • 1 Med Onion sliced 1cm thick
  • 1 Med Capsicum (Bell pepper) sliced 1cm thick
  • 1 head Garlic peeled and cloves left whole
  • cups Long grain rice or basmati rice
  • ½ tablespoon Ground turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon Ground all spice
  • ½ tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoon Olive oil divided into 4. 1 tablespoon for vegetables, 1 tablespoon for rice, 1 tablespoon for brushing pot and 1 tablespoon browning nuts
  • cups Vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup Pine nuts
  • ¼ cup Slivered almonds
  • 1 pinch Salt to taste (optional)


Preparing Vegetables

  • Coat eggplant, potato and capsicum in 1 tablespoon oil and place on a baking tray. Roast in the oven at 200C (392F) for approx. 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. 

Preparing Rice

  • In a mixing bowl, combine rice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, all spices really well. Set aside.

Preparing Nuts

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and brown pine nuts and slivered almonds (do this whilst maqlouba is cooking) set aside.

Maqlouba Assembly

  • Brush pot with olive oil and start layering vegetables. Place eggplant first, then potato, capsicum (bell pepper) in between by filling gaps. Then place a layer of onion and scatter garlic on top. 
  • Cover vegetables with an even layer of slightly compacted rice, ensuring the vegetables are fully covered. Carefully and slowly pour vegetable stock onto contents. Cover with lid.
  • Bring to a slight boil over medium heat for 5 minutes, then turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, do not open lid, allow Maqluba to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Open pot and place a large serving plate or platter on top. Flip everything upside down and allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then slowly lift the pot to reveal the maqlouba. Garnish with brown nuts and parsley. Serve warm.



💡What to serve with maqluba?
Maqlouba is best served with a side of fresh salad, try fattoush or tabouli or a simple garden salad, along with some pickles.
💭Pro Tips
  • Gas stove, cooking times may differ slightly with electric.
  • Chopping vegetables - be uniform with cutting your vegetables into 1cm (approx. ½ inch) thicknesses. Depending on how you’d like to present your vegetables either cut lengthways or across. You can also add extra vegetables if you like.
  • Onions and garlic - I like to use these raw, I find the flavours to be boosted this way - the onion is delightfully sweet. If you desire though, you can also roast or fry these off. Though, keep those garlic cloves intact.
  • Potatoes - if opting to add extra potatoes, as this is a starch, it will soak up a lot of the flavour. Be mindful of this, you may need to add more salt.
  • Roasting vegetables result in them being cooked through before adding them to the pot.
  • Rice - following the instructions of the rice producer i.e., wash the rice as instructed (if needed). Do not use pre-cooked rice pouches.
  • Mixing the oil, spices through the rice prior to cooking ensures even distribution of flavour, basically every grain of rice will be covered in wonderful spices. As this is a reduced fat version of the meat maqlouba (fat is normally from the meat), it is important that the oil is evenly distributed through the rice.
  • Layering - you can get creative here and layer the vegetables how you desire, creating patterns. Remember - whatever you layer first will end up presented as the top layer when it is flipped. I love to always add my batinjan “eggplant” first, as it’s generally the biggest and malleable, it can be curved against the pot.
  • Only compact the rice slightly, do not overdo it as this may result in the rice not cooking or cooking unevenly. You want to slightly compact the rice to ensure it sits securely onto the contents of the pot. You can use your hands or the back of a spoon to do this. See video.
  • Vegetable stock - should cover the rice approx. 1 ½ cm (½”). A slight boost of salt may be needed to this recipe, depending on the stock used. Do a taste test of the vegetable stock, it should taste saltier than usual, this will diffuse whilst cooking. Or add more salt at the end. I tend to try and under salt, giving individuals the ability to adjust this as they require. I always use a good quality vegetable stock such as Massel.
  • Pouring vegetable stock - when pouring the stock in, do it gently. The rice layer shouldn’t be disturbed and should remain even. Start by pouring the outer rim in a slow circular motion. See video.
  • As tempting as it is, try to not open the pot during cooking, trust the process. The contents will cook perfectly. (if you do, the world won’t end - haha, but don’t leave the pot open for too long - have a quick peek)
  • Do not bring this dish to a hard boil, it will disrupt the contents which can result in uneven cooking and the maqlouba to not conform to shape when flipped over, it’ll just fall apart. About the 5 minutes mark of cooking, the outer perimeter of the maqlouba will start bubbling, this is the point to reduce the heat to low. If unsure if it is boiling, listen for it or take a quick peek (until you get used to cooking this dish).
  • Serving plate or tray - this should bigger than the pot with at least a 10cm perimeter to catch any parts the may fall during serving. The rim of the plate/tray should be a little upright to also assist with spillage. If using a pot where the handles are flush with the top of the pot, you will need to factors these handles in when selecting your serving plate/tray.
*Shop for your healthy organic groceries at Thrive Market*
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 530mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 884IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg