Stuffed zucchini (Mehshi koussa ablama)

August 1, 2012  •  Category:


Lebanese zucchini is tiny and almost sweet; this dish is considered comfort food here and the zucchinis are sold in supermarkets already cored to save people time. I had found a small battery-operated zucchini (and eggplant) corer at an Iranian bazaar in Beirut, but when I showed it around, most people said “no thank you, I can core faster than this machine”. 

Here is an idea: steam the zucchinis a couple of minutes till tender, cut them in half lengthwise and core them with a small spoon. Keep the zucchini flesh for another recipe (two possibilites, here and there). 

These are stuffed with either meat and spices, meat and rice, or rice and herbs for a vegan version. All delicious. The sauce can be either onion and tomatoes stewed, or pomegranate molasses and water. 

Mo3allem Philippe picking zucchinis.


  • 1  pound of zucchinis (the smallest you can find)
  • 1/3 pound of ground beef (fatty is better)
  • spices: 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of allspice, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 tsp of paprika
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes or 3 or 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • OR 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses diluted in 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  1. Wash the zucchinis and remove the small cap from one end; core with a veggie corer or split in half and core with a spoon. Set the flesh aside to use later for treedeh or fritters.
  2. Mix the meat and spices; chop the onion. Heat the olive oil and fry the onion till golden; add the meat and brown. Drain and stuff the zucchini with the meat. Gently fry the zucchini in a film of grease left on the skillet till golden; add the tomatoes and about enough water to come half-way up the zucchinis or the pomegranate juice. Cover the skillet and simmer gently 25 minutes or so. (You can also bake in a 325F oven for that same amount of time). Serve warm with pita bread or some rice.
NOTE: It is a good idea to place a small plate (inverted) on the zucchinis to keep them submerged in bouillon; my friend Asma adds on top of the plate a nice polished rock she found by the beach shore. 


21 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A deliciously summery dish! I cook a lot with zucchinis at the moment….



  2. Tom Tall Clover Farm says:

    Joumana, perfect timing. I’m going out to harvest my koussa zukes. They are a lovely small size like those in your photo. I love your recipe. My grandmother used to add rice, but I like this recipe as version that cooks quicker which means I can eat sooner. 😉

  3. heguiberto says:

    Hello from the Bay 🙂
    Our community garden has been prolific at producing squashes from the 3 plants we have growing there. I’ve prepared them in many different ways but completely forgotten this type. I can replace the meat with TVP, I think it would taste great too. What do you think?

  4. Angie@Angiesrecipes says:

    Just had some zucchini stir-fry for the dinner. Your ground beef stuffed zucchinis look mouthwatering.

  5. Devaki says:

    Best meal ever!! LOVE that zook corer – I am a bit intimidated trying to do this by hand. So I think I’ll just halve them lengthwise and proceed. You’ve got me hooked on pom molasses so I am making these next week 🙂

    chow:) Devaki@ weavethousandflavors

  6. Lyndsey@TheTinySkill says:

    This looks so good. I love finding new things to do with zucchini. I haven’t seen them stuffed like this before!

  7. Kathy says:

    These are a family favorite in my house! Yours look perfect..I don’t fry mine, I place them in a pot with tomato liquid and cook on the top of the stove. Love the method you use!

  8. Diane says:

    This sounds delicious. I have just brought 3 large marrows in from the garden. I plan on stuffing them, I see no reason why I cannot use your recipe for that as well. Diane

  9. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Simple and brilliant! I don’t think mine would look so good.

  10. Anna says:

    Love the stuffed zukes! I need to get some pom molasses.

  11. Ed Habib says:

    Thanks for the tip on steaming before coring. I have quite a few in my garden right now and make stuffed kousa often. I also make something my grandmother made with the cored out flesh. I think she called it (trying to spell phonetically) Umfuddiky. She sauted some onion added in some ground lamb salt.pepper/five spice and then dropped in some eggs and parsley. This was my absolute favorite thing when growing up

  12. Tim Vidra says:

    This looks so amazingly rustic! A must try!

  13. deana@lostpast says:

    I love that way of doing zucchini. I always split them but this would make for a much moister filling… great recipe.

  14. Mercotte says:

    trop drôle, j’ai justement acheté au marché ce matin les mêmes petites courgettes , je te pique la recette ! vendue !

  15. Aslı says:

    They’re looking delicious! My mom cooks the same usually and they’re so good with yougrt.

    Greetings from İstanbul 🙂

  16. Janmarie Haggar says:

    It’s in the stove cooking as I Am writing. I give it 5 star ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Without even tasting it becausealk if your recipes ate spectacular. !!!!!! Thank you Joumana!!!!

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