Mehshee Koosa Awteh – Stuffed Zucchini (vegetarian)

By Petronella Fakhry


  • 20 Lebanese zucchini (light green) approximately 11 cm in length
  • ½ cup rice ( white, brown or basmati – use your favourite)
  • 1 large brown onion – finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup pre-cooked chick peas (or 400g tin of chickpeas washed and drained)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • ¾ cup chopped mint
  • 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • A sprinkle of chilli powder
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste – for a thicker tomato sauce you can add more tomato paste.
  • 2 ripe tomatoes for base of saucepan.


  1. Wash the zucchinis and cut off the stem top. Core the zucchinis using a special coring tool leaving only a thin layer of pulp around it. Place the pulp aside for later use. Rinse out the zucchinis under tap water.
  2. Prepare a large saucepan. Grease the base with oil. Slice ripe tomatoes to cover the base along with a handful of the thicker pieces of zucchini pulp.
  3. Preparing the stuffing by placing the washed and drained rice in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and other spices on top and mix well. Add the chopped onion, tomatoes, parsley, mint, chick peas, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Mix well.
  4. Hold the zucchini with one hand with the other grab some of the stuffing and push into the zucchini with your fingers. Leave 1 ½ cm at top of zucchini unfilled to allow the stuffing to expand.
  5. Once all zucchini have been filled pack them neatly in the prepared saucepan, making 2 or more layers. In a bowl place the tomato paste and 2 cups of hot water with a teaspoon of salt and mix well. Pour over the saucepan. Add more water until the water is level with the top layer of zucchinis. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. Once it begins to boil, cover the saucepan and turn down the heat to simmer for about 40 minutes.
  6. Do the taste test. Allow it to simmer a little longer if more cooking is required. Turn off the heat. Allow to rest in saucepan for 15 minutes before serving.


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