Charlotte of couscous and zucchini

May 17, 2010  •  Category:


A Lebanese-American , Rima Fakih, won the Miss USA 2010 title.

I found tiny zucchini at the Palestinian grocer (resembling the Lebanese ones in looks if not taste) and bought them on an impulse; then I realized I had no desire to do the usual and traditional coring and stuffing!

For the traditional recipes, click here.

This is my version of a gratin that my mother made a couple of  times, which is made up of couscous, eggs, zucchini, onion and spices. Maybe some cheese too, I don’t remember.

If you have a mandoline and a charlotte dish (one of those 6 inches tall metal pans), then you can make something  that looks fancy but really is very simple. I used an 8 inch cake pan and a knife to cut the zucchini.

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 2 pounds of zucchini
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1 cup of couscous
  • 1/2 cup of parsley, chopped fine, or 2 Tablespoons of dried mint, crumbled to a powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed with a pinch of salt
  • 1 small  vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan
  • olive oil or clarified butter, as needed
  • spices: 1 teaspoon of curry powder or a pinch of turmeric, ground cumin, allspice, nutmeg, white pepper, a pinch of paprika or Aleppo pepper


  1. Wash the zucchini and steam them for 10 minutes until tender.
  2. Fry the onion in oil or butter until translucent and golden; add the couscous, spices, water (follow package directions, usually double the volume of couscous), bouillon cube, and a bit of oil or butter. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes (or follow package directions) then fluff it with a fork, tasting for seasoning and adding more butter or oil if it needs it. Set it aside.
  3. Slice the zucchini when it is cool enough to handle and line the pan of your choice with the slices, going all around and in the middle, until the entire pan is covered, filling any gaps with small pieces of zucchini.
  4. Dice the rest of the zucchini as small as possible. Add it to the couscous and mix well. Add the 3 eggs to the mixture, the parsley and the parmesan cheese.
  5. Place in a 350F oven (180C) for about 20 to 30 minutes. Cover the pan with foil. When it is done, a knife inserted in the cake should come out clean.
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature.


73 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Bo says:

    I always forget to visit you…This looks so great. You make it look so easy…mine would probably turn out in five pieces instead of a pretty cake like yours.

  2. Evel@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    No a fan of zucchini….but so prrrrrrrty!

  3. Suman says:

    that looks so pretty and delicious…nice healthy combo!

  4. theUngourmet says:

    I love this! I’ve never had anything like it. I saw that Rima won. She is so beautiful!

  5. A Canadian Foodie says:

    I am in awe of your consistent imagination, Joumana! This is just a joy to look at, though made of the simplest and healthiest of ingredients. My husband would feel SUPER loved if I made him food this gorgeous every day. You are motivating me consistently.

  6. love2cook says:

    Creatively made!!! I simply loved the shots…;)

  7. Claudia says:

    This is absolutely stunning.Combining zucchini and couscous and then putting it in a Charlotte Russe mold – and it sounds scrumptious.

  8. Lydia says:

    Well, I do have a mandoline, so now I’m on the hunt for these beautiful zucchini!

  9. Faith says:

    Your savory veggie cakes are always gorgeous! This one looks really delicious…it’s the perfect recipe for mid-summer when my garden is overflowing with zucchini! 🙂

  10. john@heneedsfood says:

    This vege dish presents so beautifully. I’d love it with char-grilled zucchini

  11. Oui, Chef says:

    Wow….what a fabulous looking dish! I just today planted the zucchini in my garden, so I will be bookmarking this recipe for use when my harvest comes in. I never seem to have enough good zucchini recipes for the huge volumes I pull from my garden. Cheers – S

  12. SYLVIA says:

    Joumana, you are a gracious hostess, this looks decadent, and a very creative dish for intimate gathering. I love zucchini it is loaded with potassium, and also keeps you very full.
    Congratulations to Rima, in the seventies another lovely lady was titled miss universe, she was also from Lebanon.

  13. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    Amazing and beautiful, Joumana. What an impressive dish to entertain with.

  14. ts, eatingclub says:

    I certainly haven’t seen a zucchini Charlotte before! =D Cool.

  15. elra says:

    Joumana, how on earth you manage to make such a perfect dish like this? It looks so beautiful!

  16. The Little Teochew says:

    Joumana, you give simple dishes the glam factor. I’ll remember this dish like I would the Swiss Chard Cake. Unforgettable!

  17. dana says:

    Yummy cake. I have never seen zucchini prepared this way before, so creative! The 70s Miss Universe is Georgina Rizk. She is still very pretty.


  18. Lentil Breakdown says:

    What an original creation! I see a bright future in architecture for you. : )

  19. Azita says:

    what a delightful and creative dish. this would surely impress dinner guests!

  20. citronetvanille says:

    En voilà une superbe idée pour changer des plats traditionnels, c’est marrant je pensais justement faire une terrine de zucchini, on doit avoir les mêmes envies! En plus elle tient super bien ta charlotte, ca doit etre les oeufs…

  21. Angie's Recipes says:

    Joumana, you are so creative! How did you get that idea!!!! Simply awesome!

  22. Rosa says:

    Very original and healthy!



  23. sab says:

    quelle magn ifique presentation…

  24. Heavenly Housewife says:

    Beautiful, this must really impress people when you put this on the table. It looks so pretty (and I’m sure its very tasty too).
    *kisses* HH

  25. Katerina says:

    This looks very unusual. I am sure it tastes great.

  26. Anna says:

    I have never cooked zucchini in this way…thanks for sharing it, I am going to bookmark it 😀

  27. Chiara says:

    Wow, look that… it looks amazing! I love both zucchini and couscous, so I’m guessing that this dish would be perfect for me. I’ll have to try it as soon as possible!

  28. Sushma Mallya says:

    looks amazing, very innovative and delicious

  29. Meeta says:

    jou – i would never have thought of calling this a charlotte – but yeah now that you say so! i used love these while growing up in the mid. east. there were variations with aubergines and fennel too. brilliant!

  30. Rachana Kothari says:

    Another creative and impressive dish, Joumana! I love it 🙂

  31. Cherine says:

    Beautiful creation!!

  32. Sasa says:

    I’m a person that requires a lot of veges and this looks like just the ticket!

  33. grace says:

    a savory charlotte, how terrific! this is one of the most picturesque dishes i’ve ever seen, and it sounds delicious to boot. thanks for sharing!

  34. Sonia says:

    This really awesome dish, love your way of presentation, and it look so healthy and yummy!€

  35. Koek! says:

    Your food is always so beautifully constructed! I am particularly delighted with your latest post, as I almost always have all these ingredients at home…

  36. deana says:

    Gorgeous presentation.. like a green castle!!! It is good for you too… love the spicing.

  37. 12th Man says:

    We get some great local zucchini later in the year … will have to bookmark this one.

  38. TheKitchenWitch says:

    That looks so beautiful! It reminds me of the timpano they made in the movie Big Night!

  39. Cathy at Wives with says:

    What a beautiful way to prepare zucchini and couscous. My family is very fond of both and will really appreciate this presentation.

  40. Mary says:

    This is a wonderfully creative dish. It looks so appetizing and I’m sure it is delicious. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  41. Duchess says:

    Again, a simply stunning recipe. I’m adding you to my blogroll by the way!

  42. Vagabonde says:

    I just found your blog while reading My Carolina Kitchen. This recipe looks very yummy and it includes ingredients I enjoy like couscous and zucchinis. I shall look at your past recipes and am sure I’ll copy many of them. Mon père était Arménien et avait appris à ma mère, une parisienne, à cuisiner beaucoup de plats méditerranéens. Mon cousin germain est marié à une libanaise qui elle aussi cuisine bien. I’ll come back to read more.

  43. rebecca says:

    oh wow this looks amazing to be honest my mum doesn’t cook much these days but my Dad does, its a shame she doesn’t like it I just bugged her to do it LOL

  44. Sophie says:

    Waw,…Joumana!! You always seems to amaze me with your creative & special stylish dishes!

    This dish ROCKS, girl!!!!

  45. peteformation says:

    Heard a lot about Couscous, must try to cook this one day!

  46. PJ says:

    The first click of the dish speaks volumes!!!Lovely….

  47. Cara says:

    What a fun way to serve couscous!

  48. Katie@Cozydelicious says:

    This is so beautiful! What a great dish for summer entertaining. I can’t wait until we have summer zucchini. I love the way your looks but I wonder… do you think you could make it in tiny custard dishes and serve them individually? Would it work?

  49. Sarah says:

    WOW! This is stunning. I have to make it once zucchini comes in…

  50. Médaille gourmande says:

    Wonderful picture and i will do this recipe as soon as possible

  51. Karolina says:

    What a lovely combination! 🙂

  52. Ivy says:

    This looks fantastic and very creative. Congratulations to Miss USA.

  53. FOODESSA says:

    Joumana…you’re really on a roll!
    What a beautiful zucchini charlotte. Can’t help but think I would probably cheat your recipe a little by sneaking in some roasted red peppers ;o)
    Couscous is a very interesting grain, however my hubby doesn’t have the patience with them. I’ve been looking for the Israeli couscous which is apparently bigger. Would anyone of your foodie friends in Montreal know where I could get some?
    Keep up the fantastic meals…love them.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

    • Joumana says:

      I don’t know about the Israeli couscous; i do know the Lebanese couscous, the grains are much bigger and it is made with semolina; I did a couple of recipes. one traditional, the moghrabiyeh, and one salad with chicken in a pineapple with it; it is sold in middle-eastern stores everywhere; it is made with semolina; there is also a Syrian and Jordanian one made with wheat, also bigger.

  54. sweetlife says:

    how beautiful, this is a must try ….great presentation


  55. Jen_from_NJ says:

    What a gorgeous presentation! I love the combination of couscous and zucchini – great idea!

  56. Joanne says:

    This is such a beautifully presented dish! I am so impressed by it. It’s fulled with such delicious ingredients.

  57. kim says:

    That’s a great dinner idea. Carb and veggie all in one package!

  58. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:

    Where do you come up with all these ideas? Looks great. Yes, a great win in the Miss America. By the way, I am getting some of those fiddleheads this week!

  59. Krista says:

    Oh, you are a clever lady, Joumana. 🙂 This is beautiful and so interesting to look at! 🙂

  60. alwayswinner786 says:

    Great dish and a great combo of couscous and zucchini ! I love the gorgeous and elegant presentation, wonderful pics!

  61. Amy @ cookbookmaniac says:

    This is so fantastic! I’d devour this in one breathe! The teaspoon of curry powder would be a lovely surprise and be the perfect sprinkle of magic for the dish. Yum!

  62. Tammy says:

    Beautiful! I love zuchinni and love the presentation. Thank you for this post.

  63. Gloria says:

    I love cous cous and zuchinni! You are really smart and creative! gloria

  64. peter says:

    First off, love the new profile pic, secondly, congrats to Miss America and finally, love the timable of couscous and zucchini…bring on the mint!

  65. Mary says:

    What a lovely creation. You really have outdone yourself with this one. It would also be lovely with beef or lamb. have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  66. domi says:

    Plus je lis ton blog et plus je me sens comme chez moi, voilà le genre de recette qui me ressemble, à déguster sans modération, bises

  67. domi says:

    Excellent et très originale cette recette, un peu comme un gâteau au visuel….

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