Vegetarian Stuffed Marrows – Koussa Mehshi Ati3

Vegetarian Stuffed Marrows- Koussa Mehshi Ati3

IMG 1330 Vegetarian Stuffed Marrows   Koussa Mehshi Ati3

I’ve been in Lebanon for a month and a half now and I am starting to blow fuses because of the ridiculously slow internet connection. Apparently, there are only 3 other countries with worse internet than Lebanon and I was shocked to learn that internet in the Palestinian territories is actually much better.

IMG 0984 Vegetarian Stuffed Marrows   Koussa Mehshi Ati3

Since my arrival to Lebanon, one of the projects I’ve been working on is the photography for a Lebanese cookbook that was first written about 20 years ago and is to be republished by the end of the year. I’ve been doing the cooking, styling, and photography and as you can imagine that has kept me a very busy girl. It has also left me with little time to get on with all my other work and when the internet connection decides to take a break every 15 minutes I get a rude awakening and the fantasies of ever moving back to this country turn into nightmares.

IMG 1023 Vegetarian Stuffed Marrows   Koussa Mehshi Ati3

I DO love Lebanon BUT boy is it difficult to get any work done in this country. The pace at which everyone is running is so lethargic, especially now that it’s summer, and obviously limited resources and political instability never help matters either. I have the utmost respect for those achieving big things in this country against all these odds. The Lebanese really do have a great spirit of endurance…

IMG 1033 1 Vegetarian Stuffed Marrows   Koussa Mehshi Ati3

And, of course good taste in food. Marrows or courgettes, squash, zucchini depending on where you are in this world, come in different varieties. Here in Lebanon, we get these beautiful greenish-yellow ones that are carved and then stuffed with a rice & minced meat mixture or meat is substituted with chickpeas or pine nuts during religious holidays, like lent. I personally prefer the vegetarian option, especially in summer when it can be enjoyed cold. Although, I’m always one to lean towards a balanced combo of meat and veg, when it comes to koussa it just is not the case. Anyone else feel the same way?

And, before my internet connection goes down again I’d like to wish everyone a RAMADAN KAREEM!


Vegetarian Stuffed Marrows with Herb Rice & Pine nuts

Time– 45 minute prep time + 45 minute cooking time

Serves 4

Cast of Characters

2kg of medium sized marrows

For the stuffing

  • 200g or 1 cup of short grain rice (also known as Egyptian rice), rinsed
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of parsley finely chopped or about 1 cup
  • 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of allspice
  • 80g of toasted pine nuts
  • 60ml  olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

For the Pot

  • 1kg tomatoes or about 5
  • 1 onion cut into medium thick ring
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of tomato paste diluted in 1 cup of water
  • water to cover
  • 60 ml or 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Pot- about 15 cm deep. Enough to hold the koussa and the water to cover them

In the End

  • 10 mint leaves
  • 5-8 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1 lemon

The Nitty-Gritty

1) Trim off stem ends and using a vegetable corer carve out the pulp. Try to remove as much of the pulp as you can without breaking the marrow. Sometimes you may accidentally carve too hard and  get “cracks” that’s o.k you can still stuff it but just be gentle with it. DO NOT THROW AWAY the pulp. It is excellent in an omelet. You can also freeze it for later use.

2) Mix rice, tomatoes, onions, herbs, pine nuts, olive oil and seasonings and use this mixture to stuff squash three-quarters full.

3) Drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil and then layer  with the tomato and onion rings and then arrange the stuffed marrows in layers over tomatoes & onions. Add tomato paste mixture, salt to taste and place a plate that fits into the pot so that it keeps the marrows compressed and limits them from wiggling around. Now cover with water. Bring it to a boil on the stove on medium-high flame and then reduce to medium-low flame (it needs to be simmering so adjust accordingly) and cook for about 45mn-1 hr.

4) While the koussa is cooking, pound the garlic and then add the mint and pound further till a thick paste is achieved before mixing in the lemon juice. Add this to the pot at about 45 minutes. Essentially you want it to all simmer together for at least 10 minutes and the flavors to seep in.

5) Once cooked (you can check by piercing the koussa with a fork it should be tender and the rice cooked) let it cool and serve cold atop Greek-style yoghurt. It tastes wonderful, cold from the fridge, the next day.

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18 Responses to “Vegetarian Stuffed Marrows – Koussa Mehshi Ati3”
  1. lamaKD 11 August 2010 at 5:26 am #


  2. Chris Bourne 11 August 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Love this!!! veggie heaven.

  3. Global Patriot 11 August 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    So fresh and delicious, a perfect summertime food! (and best of luck finding a better wireless signal!)

  4. Hala Hamam Bahouth 11 August 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    Well I have just bought some “Lebanese Koussa’ at a special store…
    what a coincidence !

  5. Cherine 11 August 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    My favorite dish, i also love the vegetarian option. I’m in lebanon too & enjoying it!! Have fun!

  6. Sasa 11 August 2010 at 9:45 pm #

    Ah Beth, I love your posts – since I know next to nothing about Lebanese food but every recipe I ever see makes me drool. Sorry about your internet troubles, I know how frustrating that can be T_T

  7. Fatima 11 August 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    Wow! I ate this dish as a child and thought it was from my country. Little did I know then.
    Thank you so much for this recipe- I made it and it was a hit.

  8. Dee 12 August 2010 at 6:47 am #

    As usual u have shared another recipe that is making my mouth water. I CANT WAIT to try this… yum yum yum DKS

  9. Najette 13 August 2010 at 3:18 am #

    My favourite dish!
    Pity we cannot get the Lebanese Koussa in the Caribbean 🙁
    Miss it so much!
    But we substitute Zuchinni and it is good! Yummy….

  10. Krista 13 August 2010 at 4:55 am #

    Oh, this looks SO good, Bethany! I think I would like the vegetarian stuffing too. 🙂 Anything with pine nuts is a definite favorite. 🙂

  11. Food Jihadist 15 August 2010 at 12:35 am #

    Amazing. I am always looking for new ways to stuff veggies. Will try.

  12. Rena 22 August 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    IMPORTANT: This caviar recipe is just the start of another one: THE CAVIAR DE COURGETTES 🙂

    > Take the pulp you’ve collected and heat it gently with some olive oil and chopped oignons (2/3 courgettes and 1/3 of oignons or even more oignons if that’s what you like) until all the water of the pulp comes out and the pulp starts to change colour

    > stir until the pulp and oignons become caramelised and almost creamy. At this point the quatity would have reduced by 3.

    > when you are not able to see the difference between the oignon and the pulp anymore, it’s time to add a couple cloves of garlic (crushed)

    > heat for another 3 minutes while stirring add one lemon juiced and turn off the heat.

    Serve with some olive oil and dry mint (chopped).

  13. Lexi 24 August 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    Where can I purchase the coring tool exactly like the one in the picture? I have found some with plastic handles and some with wooden handles, but none that are all metal. Please, please let me know. Just discovered your website and love it.

    • Bethany 24 August 2010 at 6:28 pm #

      Hi Lexi.

      This one was picked up somewhere in Lebanon at one of the sunday souks. I’m not sure where in the UK/EUROPE/US one could find anything similar. The best advice i can think is to visit local Middle Eastern shops… also you could try,, and

  14. jo 6 August 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Hi there, I can see that there havn’t been any reviews for the recipe for a while so thought i’d rectify that straight away..I have just held out from eating last nights meat chilli (even though I was hungry) as i was given some great looking Marrows yesturday and wanted to make something with them..that didn’t include any mince..Anyway found this recipe and can say with my hand on my heart it is one of the nicest meals I have made in ages.. apart from chopping and washing the mint and the parsley which is a pain !!

  15. Jinan 5 March 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    I love koussa mehshi, though I don’t think my mom has ever made a vegetarian version of it– this looks great. I do love vegetarian warak 3anab though, especially cold in the summer like you said!

  16. @VeganFork 4 April 2013 at 2:06 am #

    Vegetarian Stuffed Lebanese Squash – Koussa Mehshi Ati3 via @sharethis


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