I’ve had stuffed zucchini dishes before, but not this version. This is the Lebanese method of stuffing zucchini with meat. For full disclosure, this dish is from a cookbook I’ve had for years, Lebanese Delights by Raymonda khoury Naaman. It has become one of my go-too volumes when I want to impress friends and neighbors by serving a Middle Eastern meal.

The recipe is simple enough, sautéed zucchini with meat cooked with various spices. The recipe ingredients says use “lean ground meat.” We deciphered that to be beef, lamb or pork, your choice. You can  even make it with ground chicken or turkey. As an accompaniment we served it with another recipe from Ms. Naaman’s cookbook, Cooked Rice. This dish uses vermicelli noodles as an ingredient, thus it reminds me of Syrian rice, which is prepared the same way.

Enjoy this meal from a culture and cuisine thousands of years in the making.

(Koussa Ablama)
Serves 6


2.2 pound small zucchini, about 5-6 zucchini
1 pound ground meat
4 tablespoons pine nuts
2 medium chopped white or red onions
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (Note: we substituted olive oil)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water
Salt, pepper and cinnamon as desired


Wash the zucchini, cut off the stems and hollow them using a zucchini cutter or potato peeler. (Note: you can also use an ice cream cone scooper. In fact, we found this easier when scooping out the zucchini flesh).

Melt the butter in a frying pan; add 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the zucchinis.

Fry the pine nuts in 2 tablespoons of oil; add the chopped onions and fry until golden in color. Add the meat, salt, pepper and cinnamon and keep frying until the meat is cooked.

Fill the zucchinis with the meat mixture and place them in a pot. Add the tomato paste (dissolved in 2 cup of water) and cook on high heat until done (about 20 minutes).

Serve hot with rice on the side.
(Recipe given bellow)

(Riz Mfalfal)
Serves 6


½ cup vermicelli
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water
1 cup rice
Salt as desired


Heat the butter and oil in a cooking pot. Add the vermicelli  and fry until golden in color. Add 2 cups of water, salt, and bring to a boil.

Rinse the rice with water, drain it, then add it to the boiling water. Cover the pot and let it boil for another minute, Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is done.

Turn off the heat and let it stand for 2 minutes,