Stuffed zucchini (gray squash), is called Kousa Mahshi. 'Kousa' in Arabic - pronounced 'koo-sa'. And the word Mahshi is the Arabic word for 'stuffing' pronounced 'Mahh-she'. This is a classic Lebanese meal.
There are several variations of Kousa Mahshi:
- In tomato base - can be soupy or a thick covering. Made with either beef or lamb mince or vegetables.
- In yoghurt - traditionally made with beef or lamb mince. This variety is called Kousa Bil Laban.
- Depending on your region in the Middle-East the recipe ingredient varies, but the concept is the same.
This Kousa Mahshi recipe is the tomato soup version using a vegetable rice stuffing. This Stuffed Zucchini recipe is ideal for vegans and is great as left overs, so don't be afraid to make a large batch and keep in the fridge for a few days. You could even freeze them and thaw out as per most foods.
Is kousa mahshi healthy? Yes! This recipe uses mostly fresh ingredients (whole foods) and spices. It does contain rice as a main component, so generally 2-3 small-medium sized zucchinis per serving is recommended.
- Lebanese zucchini / gray squash
- Tomato paste
- For the stuffing;
- Long-grain rice
- Pine nuts
- All spice
- Ground black pepper
- Plant based butter
- Olive oil
Wash and dry zucchini as normal. Using a paring knife, slice off the ends (take off as little as possible) do not pierce zucchini skins. Click here to view a quick 30sec video how to core a zucchini .
Preparing the Stuffing
Brown onion in plant based spread and olive oil, set aside. Finely dice onion, tomato, parsely and place in a large mixing bowl. Add rice, pine nuts and all spices (All spice, salt, black pepper) and mix well together.
Using your hands, scoop little amounts of the stuffing and place inside each zucchini. Leave approx 1cm from the opening to allow rice to expand whilst cooking.
Place your stuffed zucchini carefully into a large pot and submerge with water and add the tomato paste and seasoning. Bring to the boil over med/high heat and then simmer over low heat for about 1 hour. Kousa Mahshi should be tender once done.
- Combing a plant based spread with olive oil in a pan stops burning and allows an even browning of the pine nuts
- Pine nuts can be swapped out for almonds
- Keep the zucchini/gray squash flesh for this recipe: Zucchini Flesh Recipe (Lib El Kousa)
- To flesh out each zucchini, I use a tool called a 'Manakra' which is a zucchini corer. It's a unique tool specifically for the task of coring zucchini; it looks like a long spade. If you would like to purchase this tool, click here
- Fleshing out zucchini isn't the fastest task, but it is easy. You can view a quick video here "how to core zucchini"
💡Leftover zucchini stuffing
Use left over rice stuffing to stuff tomatoes. Simply core out the tomato flesh and stuff it with the filling. Cook the tomatoes with the zucchini in the same pot.
Kousa Mahshi aka Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
- 12 Lebanese zucchini (pick ones without a curve - easier to core)
- 140 grams Tomato paste
- 1 tbsp seasoning to taste
Zucchini Stuffing Ingredients
- 1.5 cups Long-grain rice 1.5 cups long-grain rice
- 1 Large finely diced tomato
- 1 Large finely diced onion
- 1/4 cup Finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup Finely chopped mint
- 1/2 cup Pine nuts
- 1.5 heaped tbsp All spice
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp Plant based butter
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- In a small fry pan, heat plant based butter and olive oil and brown pine nuts, set aside.
- Thoroughly combine the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl including pine nuts.
- Clean each zucchini by removing stalks and dried bottom. Be careful with the bottom end - do not remove any flesh.
- Using a kitchen tool called a manakra (it's a corer), begin to hollow out each zucchini. Do this by inserting the manakra straight and not on an angle to avoid piercing the skin and rotating the manakra. Fingers of flesh will begin to be removed. The opening of each zucchini should be adequate enough to fill with stuffing. Reserve flesh for other dishes (which will be shared next). Click on the video down the bottom to see how this zucchini hollowing step is done.
- Stuff each zucchini with the prepped stuffing, leave 1cm from the top to allow filling to expand during cooking. N.B., its' best to stuff the zucchinis over the stuffing bowl to allow for excess to fall back into the bowl. To help stuffing settle to the bottom, gently tap them every now and then.
- If you have any left over stuffing, try stuffing a tomato and cooking it with the dish.
- In a large pot, place your stuffed zucchini (and stuffed left overs) submerge with water and add the tomato paste and seasoning. Bring to the boil over med/high heat and then simmer over low heat for about 1 hour.
- Zucchini's should be tender and rice should be cooked (it should've expanded)
- I just love eating the kousa Mashi (Lebanese stuffed Zucchini's) and the soup, so tasty, hope you enjoy!
- AU Zucchini Corer
- Insta Corer Electric