This traditional Middle Eastern recipe called Kusa is a delicious stuffed zucchini dish that’s easy to make.
I’m sharing another childhood favorite today. This is a great way to use your large bounty of zucchini from the garden. If you don’t grow it, and your neighbor isn’t begging you to take some off their hands, you can easily find zucchini in the grocery store. You can make a super simple zucchini gratin side dish but if you want more of a meal try this stuffed Kusa.
Growing up we ate two kinds of stuffed zucchini which we called Kusa. One was similar to the Eastern European stuffed cabbage dish, in that the zucchini was stuffed with raw beef or lamb and uncooked rice. Then they were placed in a large pot, covered with tomato sauce and cooked until tender.
The second method was made by stuffing the “Kusa” with a cooked meat mixture, and served with rice on the side. By the way, the reason my rice is always so golden is that I add turmeric when I cook my rice. This is also a Middle Eastern practice.
Traditionally you would use a tool to scoop out the flesh leaving a nice opening to stuff the zucchini. This takes a lot of time and patience, so instead, I slice the zucchini open lengthwise and scoop out the flesh.
P.S. you can save the flesh and saute it with garlic, or use it to make other dishes like ratatouille.
This only works for the recipe below. If you want to make the one with uncooked beef and rice you need to take the time to remove the flesh from each zucchini leaving them whole.
Recipes handed down by grandmothers and relatives are some of the best, don’t you agree?
I hope you enjoy this one.
Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini
- 6 medium zucchini
- 1 lb ground beef or lamb
- 1/2 c pine nuts
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- 1 - 15 oz can of tomato sauce
- salt and pepper
Wash zucchini and slice off tops and bottoms
Slice in half lengthwise
Scrape out flesh and set aside.
Coat zucchini with olive oil and place under the broiler until they turn soft about 5-10 mins on each side.
In a large frying pan brown ground beef. Add salt and pepper and cinnamon.
Add pine nuts and onions.
Cook until the onions are translucent.
Spoon the meat mixture into the zucchini
Top with tomato sauce
Sprinkle salt and pepper over top.
Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes.
Serve with rice
Serves 4 - 6