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Lebanese Stuffed Squash {Coosa}

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Arabic food is a big favorite at our house. My husband is half Lebanese, and he comes from a family of great cooks. Our kids have grown up on grape leaves, toubouli, hummus, kibbe, lentils, and many other Lebanese favorites, including stuffed squash, or coosa. Stuffed squash is one of my favorites to make, especially when I can get the smaller yellow squash at our CSA or the farmer’s market. It can be a bit time consuming to scoop out the pulp of the squash, but it is definitely worth it!

First, start with the smallest yellow squash (or zucchini) that you can find. I prefer to use yellow squash but you can also make this with zucchini.


yellow squash for Kousa

Then hollow out the insides. I sometimes borrow this tool from my mother in law, which makes it a lot easier to remove the squash pulp. It’s called a zucchini corer, and you can get one on Amazon. It’s probably time I bought my own.

Hollowed out yellow squash for Kousa


I typically mix my meat and rice mixture  to stuff the squash (onion, rice, salt, pepper, allspice, ground meat, water and some tomato juice from the can), in the same pan I cook the onion in, because I don’t want to get another dish dirty. You’re not cooking this mixture though…only the onion is cooked now. The rest of it will cook when you cook the squash.


meat and rice mixture for Kousa


When stuffing the squash, you only want to fill them about 3/4 of the way full. The rice will expand during the cooking.

Once the squash are stuffed, place them in a pot, layered on top of a crushed tomato base, the insides of the squash (if you choose to include them…I usually do), and the extra meat and rice stuffing. I then add water and the rest of the tomato juice from the can.


Kousa on the stove


Bring your stuffed squash to a boil, then simmer until the rice is tender. In typical me fashion, I forgot about mine and overcooked it (it was still very good though), but usually it would be about 40 minutes to an hour. Keep an eye on it, and check it periodically.

yellow squash for Kousa

Kousa Stuffed Squash

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

These delicious Lebanese stuffed squash are great paired with a side salad.


  • 18 small yellow squash
  • 1 28 oz can of plum tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (or butter if you don't have ghee)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/4 cup rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb ground meat (I usually use a mixture of lamb and beef...typically it would be lamb)
  • 4 1/2 cup water


  1. Wash the yellow squash and cut the tops off. Scoop out the insides with a zucchini corer. Try not to break the skin.
  2. For the meat and rice mixture: Saute the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of ghee, or butter, until soft. Combine with the rice, salt, pepper, and allspice. Add the meat, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 cup tomato juice from the can and mix well. Other than the onion, you are not cooking this mixture, as it will cook with the squash in the pot.
  3. Fill each squash about 3/4 of the way full. The rice will expand during cooking, so you don't want to fill them all the way.
  4. On the bottom of the pot, layer the following in this order: chopped or squashed plum tomatoes (I just squash them with my hands as I put them in the pot); squash insides; extra meat and rice stuffing, stuffed squash.
  5. Combine 4 cups of water mixed with any extra tomato juice from the can of tomatoes, pour over the top of squash.
  6. Bring to a boil in covered pot; then reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender, about 40 min to an hour.
How to Make Lebanese Stuffed Squash Coosa


Enjoy! This dish takes a little more time to put together, but it’s easy to make and so good! Take advantage of your local farmer’s market and pick up some yellow squash to try this!

Have you ever had coosa? 



Tuesday 2nd of June 2015

Michelle - These look fabulous. I don't have a zucchini corer and typically do it the lazy way (Cutting the squash in half) but yours are so much prettier. I'm such a fan of Middle Eastern food, especially stuffed everything. Wonder what I can use instead of the great corer you have (which looks like it was handed down, as the best gadgets are)?


Tuesday 2nd of June 2015

These are SO interesting!! I have never seen them before but now have so many recipe ideas running through my head!


Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Ohhh I know this dish!!!! Growing up, mum made a similar style one (but claimed it was she does with everything) and my sister and I despised it- These days, it's one of my favourites!!!

We should cross paths in America and have some koofte and coffee

Michelle Nahom

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

It's one of my favorites too, but I imagine if my mom had served it to me growing up, I probably would have said "ick" and tried to give it to the dog. However, my kids have loved it all along, so I guess you never know. Perhaps we can meet up sometime when you get to NYC. :) And, I think a lot of cultures make this dish, but my husband's family is Lebanese, so for me, it's Lebanese.


Tuesday 28th of April 2015

I love this, right down to your device for hollowing out the squash. What a great treat inside. Can't wait to try!

Michelle Nahom

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

It's definitely a family favorite! I love it once our CSA starts and I can get the small squash again...they're perfect for it!

Barry Carter

Sunday 5th of April 2015

I grew up the same as you husband. My mother used a white zucchini, the skin is a very light color green. The flavor is amazing. The only problem is finding them. You could check your local fresh produce market . I have to grow them my self to get them here, being its a small city in West Virginia. Any ways, loved seeing someone else making this dish.

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