Stuffed Zucchini (Kousa Mahshi)

  • Preparation 45 MIN
    Cooking 30 MIN
  • Servings 4
Stuffed zucchini or squash—otherwise known as kousa in Arabic—dates way back to the Ottoman Empire and is still common in many Mediterranean countries like Lebanon, Egypt, Cyprus, Syria and Libya. We made our Lebanese-inspired version with cousa squash (also called white squash), which are sweeter and softer, making them easier to stuff with rice, ground meat and spices. The best way to hollow out a zucchini or squash is with a manakra, a special tool that resembles a long apple corer found in Middle Eastern stores. Tunnelling tip: There’s a lot less chance your squash will break or split if you bring them to room temperature before you dig in.



  1. Core the zucchini with an apple or zucchini corer. Keep the cores for another use. Drizzle the insides of the zucchini with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a bowl, combine the beef, rice, half of the mint, half of the garlic, the salt and allspice. Season with pepper. Stuff each zucchini with the meat mixture.
  3. In a large skillet, combine the broth, strained tomatoes and the remaining garlic. Arrange the stuffed zucchini in the skillet. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes, turning the zucchini halfway through cooking. Add more broth or water to thin the sauce, if needed.
  4. Garnish with the remaining mint and serve with yogurt, if desired.


Cousa or white squash are pale green, shorter and more oval than standard zucchini. Find them at farmers’ markets in the summer or at certain Middle Eastern grocery stores year-round.

Healthy Pick

Recipes with the \"Healthy Pick\" stamp have been evaluated by a registered dietitian member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec.