Lunch and Dinner, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern Recipes

Healthy Kousa Mahshi (Healthy Stuffed Zucchini)

Five zucchinis filled with rice, spices, and lean meat are place horizontally in a big pot containing tomato sauce.

It all came once into me in a conjuring moment. I have always enjoyed hearty meals like Kousa Mahshi. However, I have lately been interested in transforming such delectable Middle Eastern plates into something more healthful. And the amazing product now is this enhanced version of stuffed zucchini. Let’s all welcome the Healthy Kousa Mahshi recipe!

For me, crafting my own culinary creations holds a kind of enchantment. Rediscovering traditional dishes from the Levant is a source of contentment. In this recipe specifically, nothing beats choosing some plump and fresh zucchinis, selecting the most delicate Calrose rice, and fusing the rich and tangy tomato sauce into the other ingredients. All of this is offered within a health-conscious frame.


On a table, a white plate contains 2 small stuffed zucchinis bathing in red tomato sauce. They form the famous Kousa Mahshi plate.
Let’s mix Calrose rice, lean beef, and tomato sauce into a healthy masterpiece.


Healthy Kousa Mahshi: An Extra Nourishing Version

A nutrient-packed delight, this recipe offers you a wholesome but guilt-free experience. It is a plant-based revolution that caters to your well-being.

It is also high in protein and fiber and low in carbohydrates and calories. These nourishing assets are available in the ordinary stuffed zucchini recipe, Kousa Mahshi (Stuffed Grey Squash).

However, this enriched version is even healthier. Lean meat provides a good source of high-quality protein without excessive saturated fats. Calrose rice is a whole grain option that contains dietary fiber.

The use of aromatic spices like turmeric, 7 spice, and mint not only enhances the flavor profile of the dish but also brings potential health benefits.


Variations of Healthy Kousa Mahshi

Healthy kousa mahshi or stuffed zucchini is not restricted to this recipe. In fact, I have tried a number of customizable recipes, and they all proved to be a must-try.

Now, let’s dive into a world of flavorful options that range from hearty to light and everything in between.


Baked Zucchini Boats: Big on Flavor, Light on Guilt

These are zucchinis that can be turned into adorable “boats” that you can stuff to your own content.

Cut them in half lengthwise, scoop out a bit to make a pocket, and then stuff them with a mix of lean protein (ground turkey or plant-based goodies), whole grains, veggies of your choice, and a sprinkle of herbs and spices. Pop those boats in the oven.

As they bake, the zucchinis turn into tender perfection. Meanwhile, the filling becomes this party of flavors that is both comforting and nourishing.


Grilled Stuffed Zucchini: Charred Goodness and Yumminess

Get ready to introduce your stuffed zucchinis to the grill for a smoky twist. Once your stuffing is ready, place the zucchinis on the grill grates.

Wait until they get smoky and charred on the outside. This way, they stay juicy on the inside. The result is a combo of tender zucchini and stuffing that is packed with flavors.


Air-Fried Zucchini: Crispy, Crunchy, and Magical

Let’s get modern with an air fryer spin that is all about the crunch. First, fill up the zucchinis, put them in the air fryer, and then watch them come out all crispy and golden.

This method is like a healthier version of your favorite fried foods – a total win!


On a rug, a metal bowl contains 5 small stuffed zucchinis bathing in red tomato sauce. They form the famousKousa Mahshi plate.
Assemble your own stuffed zucchini feast.

Useful Tips and Tricks

Select firm and fresh zucchinis that are of similar size for even cooking. Look for zucchinis with smooth skin and vibrant color.

When hollowing out the zucchinis, use a small spoon or a zucchini corer to carefully remove the flesh without damaging the outer shell. You can learn more about how to do so in this blog: Kousa Mahshi (Stuffed Grey Squash).

Place the stuffed zucchinis in a relatively large pot so that they have enough room to simmer perfectly. Also, make sure they are placed close together. This prevents them from toppling over during cooking.

Serve the stuffed zucchini with a side dish of Greek yogurt or a simple salad such as Fattoush or Cucumber Yogurt Salad | Khiyar Bi Laban.


A Tangy, Hearty Combination

A large pot of kousa mahshi is placed near a small bowl of yogurt in a basket with a rug nearby.
Impress your guests with this showstopper recipe.

FAQs About Healthy Kousa Mahshi

Can I use a different type of rice for the stuffed zucchini?

While Calrose rice is recommended for its texture and ability to absorb flavors, you can substitute it with other short-grain rice varieties. Just make sure that the rice you choose has a similar cooking time and texture to achieve the desired result.

Can I make this recipe vegetarian?

Absolutely! You can make the stuffing without the lean meat and still keep the same taste and texture.

Can I prepare this dish in advance and reheat it later?

Yes, you can prepare stuffed zucchini in advance and reheat them. Store the cooked zucchini in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


A rice and meat stuffing fills some cored zucchinis or kousa mahshi. The zucchinis are in a white plate while one is cut.
From prep to plate, we craft nutritious Kousa Mahshi for your table.

Ingredients

Rice: You can use sushi rice (Calrose) or any other short-grain rice. Just make sure it is washed and soaked for 30 minutes.

Lean ground beef: Lean ground beef has a lower fat content, making it a healthier protein source. The 96/4 ratio indicates that it contains 96% lean meat and 4% fat.

Zucchini: or squash, also known as Mexican squash, is a versatile and nutritious vegetable. Using small zucchini ensures that they are tender and cooked evenly.

Tomato sauce: Choose tomato sauce without added sugars for a healthier option.

Water: It is necessary to create the tomato sauce base and allow the zucchini to simmer and cook through.

Fresh veggies: Garlic, parsley, green onion greens, and Roma tomatoes are the best additions.

Zucchini cores: You can use them after squeezing the water out.

Seasonings: You need garlic powder, onion powder, 7 spice, salt, turmeric, dried mint (divided between stuffing and sauce), coriander powder, black pepper, and bullion powder as well.


Steps to Prep

To start, wash the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, about 3 times. Then, soak it in room temp water for 30 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside.

After that, cut the ends of the zucchini and core them until thin, but not pierced. Save the cores and transfer them into paper towels or cheese cloth, and squeeze out all the liquid.

Then, to a food processor, add the garlic, tomatoes, green onions, and parsley. Process until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and add 1½ cups of the zucchini cores, along with all the seasonings, only adding one tablespoon of the dried mint.

Next, add the drained rice and the ground beef, and mix well. Stuff the zucchinis equally, and layer them in your pot. Add the hot water, and let it boil for 10 minutes, before simmering it on low heat for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the tomato sauce and remaining dried mint. Adjust for salt, and let them simmer for another 10 minutes or so before serving.


A Delectable Taste of Comfort

Five zucchinis filled with rice, spices, and lean meat are place horizontally in a big pot containing tomato sauce.
Unleash your inner chef with this easy-to-prepare recipe.

Must-Try Recipes:

Top Ramadan Soups and Salads

Mediterranean Style Chicken Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing

Vegetarian Makloubeh

Burghul Mujadara

Halal Cart Chicken and Rice

Beef Ouzi Pockets

Ouzi Rice With Ground Beef

Freekeh Soup

Authentic Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma


If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


A plate of kousa mahshi is served with yogurt with another samaller plate of the same dish.

Healthy Kousa Mahshi

Fatimah
Prepared with fresh squash, lean meat, and aromatic veggies and herbs sinking in tomato sauce, this healthy Kousa Mahshi recipe is a highlight of a heartwarming plate. Its fans are both the young and the old, making it the ideal fir for anytime of the year.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup sushi rice (Calrose)
  • 10 ounces 96/4 lean ground beef
  • 14 small zucchini squash/Mexican squash
  • cans tomato sauce 15-ounce cans
  • 4 cups water
  • teaspoons garlic powder
  • teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon 7 spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • tablespoons dried mint divided
  • ½ tablespoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bullion powder
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ¼ of green onion greens
  • 2 small Roma tomatoes
  • cups zucchini cores after squeezing the water out

Instructions
 

  • Wash the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, about 3 times.
  • Soak it in room temp water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Cut the ends of the zucchini and core them until thin, but not pierced. Save the core.
  • Transfer the cores to paper towels or a cheese cloth and squeeze out all the liquid.
  • To a food processor, add the garlic, tomatoes, green onions and parsley. Process until finely chopped.
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and add 1.5 cups of the zucchini cores along with all the seasonings, only adding 1 tablespoon of the dried mint.
  • Add the drained rice and the ground beef and mix well.
  • Stuff the zucchinis equally, and layer them in your pot.
  • Add the hot water, and let it boil for 10 minutes before simmering on low heat for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes are done, add the tomato sauce and remaining dried mint.
  • Adjust for salt, and let them simmer for another 10 minutes or so before serving.

Notes

  • Select firm and fresh zucchinis that are of similar size for even cooking. Look for zucchinis with smooth skin and vibrant color.
  • When hollowing out the zucchinis, use a small spoon or a zucchini corer to carefully remove the flesh without damaging the outer shell.
  • Place the stuffed zucchinis in a relatively large pot so that they have enough room to simmer perfectly. Also, make sure they are placed close together. This prevents them from toppling over during cooking.
Keyword Meal, Mediterranean Main Dish, Palestinian traditional recipes
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