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Kousa Mahshi (Stuffed zucchini)

Lebanese stuffed zucchini cooked in a tomato sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine Lebanese
Keyword Authentic, Healthy, Summer
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 8 people
Author Zaatar and Zaytoun


  • 2 kg of ‘Magda’ light green zucchini

For the stuffing

  • 250 g of minced meat lamb or beef
  • 1 small onion chopped finely
  • 2 tomatoes chopped finely
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon seven spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Small handful of parsley chopped finely
  • 10-15 mint leaves chopped finely
  • ¼ cup regular olive oil
  • 11/2 cup short grain rice

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 carton of passata approx 500g
  • Extra water if necessary
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • ¾ tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon of regular olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint


To prepare the zucchini

  1. Wash the zucchini well. Remove the tops and set aside if you are going to close the zucchini with them

  2. Using a corer, scrape out the insides of the zucchini leaving around a half centimetre margin

  3. With a serrated knife, lightly score the outsides to make grooves on the zucchini skin

To prepare the stuffing

  1. Wash the rice and soak in some water for around half an hour. Then drain the rice and add to a large mixing bowl
  2. Add the mince meat, chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, onion, seven spice, white and black pepper, salt and oil. Mix well and set aside

To make the stuffed zucchini

  1. Prepare a large pot to stack the zucchini in
  2. Take small handful of the stuffing and gently fill the zucchini leaving around an inch near the top for the cooked rice to expand

  3. Stuff the ends either with the original zucchini tops or some grape leaves. Stack the zucchini in the large pot
  4. Once you have finished stuffing all the zucchini, add the carton of passata, salt, regular olive oil, juice of 1 lemon and top up with water.

  5. Cover with a plate that fits inside the pot and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat to a low simmer

  6. After half an hour of cooking, remove the plate and add the garlic, dried mint and juice of another lemon

  7. Simmer for another half an hour and taste the sauce to see if it needs any seasoning, salt or lemon adjustment

  8. Taste one zucchini to ensure it is done and if you are happy turn the heat off
  9. Serve in a shallow bowl with some of the tomato sauce

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If you prefer to pre-cook the meat for the stuffing, lightly sauté the onion until translucent then add the meat and cook for around 10 minutes until most of the juices run dry. Then add the rest of the raw ingredients and stuff the zucchini accordingly.

If you are in tomato season, you can also make the tomato sauce out of fresh tomatoes, just simply blitz them in a food processor.