This traditional Lebanese recipe called Kousa is a delicious stuffed zucchini dish that's healthy, low carb, and easy to make.
I'm sharing another childhood favorite today. This is a great way to use your large bounty of zucchini during the late summer 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 making these zucchini boats called stuffed Kousa.
The term "Kousa" is actually the Arabic word for a light green kind of squash or type of zucchini.
Types of Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini
Growing up in a Lebanese family we enjoyed many middle eastern dishes. There were actually two kinds of stuffed zucchini which we called Kousa. One is similar to the Eastern European stuffed cabbage dish sometimes called kousa mahshi.
The zucchini is stuffed with raw beef or lamb and uncooked long-grain rice. This is the same rice mixture used to make stuffed grape leaves. Then they are placed in a large pot, covered with tomato sauce, and cooked until tender.
The second method is a meat version made by stuffing the "Kousa" with a cooked spiced meat mixture. Long grain rice is then served on the side.
By the way, do you know why my rice is so golden? It's because we always add a pinch of turmeric when making rice. Some use saffron but it's very expensive.
Traditionally you would use a zucchini corer to scoop out the zucchini flesh similar to an apple corer leaving a nice opening to stuff the zucchini.
This takes a lot of time and patience. Instead, I slice the zucchini open lengthwise and scoop out the flesh.
P.S. You can save the flesh of the squash and saute it with garlic on low heat, or use it to make other dishes like ratatouille.
This only works for the recipe below. To make the one with uncooked beef and rice you need to take the time to hollow the insides 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.
More Lebanese Recipes
Kousa - Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini
- 6 medium zucchini
- 1 pound ground meat (beef or lamb)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 - 15 oz can of tomato sauce
- salt and balck pepper
- Wash zucchini and slice off tops and bottoms
- Slice in half lengthwise
- Scrape out the flesh into a bowl 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 skillet brown ground beef on medium heat. Add salt and pepper and cinnamon.
- Add pine nuts and onions.
- Simmer 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
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts have been made to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
I have never seen somebody stuff the whole zucchini like that! I also love the idea of adding turmeric to your rice as it cooks. How cool!