A really easy deconstructed variation of a classic Lebanese squash dish (koosa with meat, or baby marrow), no stuffing required! Takes minutes of effort and is such a hearty meal that feeds a crowd.
What’s so good about this Lebanese squash?
This dish takes inspiration from a classic Lebanese stuffed zucchini (something like this), and breaks it up into a simple dish with no stuffing required, just sauteed meat and zucchini in a tomato sauce.
It’s really really simple to make, perfect for a busy weeknight and comes together in a flash. It has all the flavor of stuffed zucchini with so much less effort. I like it even more than stuffed zucchini because it’s so much saucier!
This Lebanese squash is really healthy, packed full of veggies, and in spite of that really popular with my kids!
The squash or koosa slowly simmers in the tomato sauce and softens, and has such good flavor, especially with the ground beef that starts off the stew.
What ingredients do you need to make Lebanese squash?
For the meat: Very similar ingredients and process to the lamb mince, but I prefer using beef with this. I tend to always buy lean ground meat. This is the perfect recipe to use any leftover cooked meat in! It’s a really good away to use up any meat you’ve cooked and frozen.
Olive oil : to saute the onion in
Diced onion and minced garlic: to flavor the meat
Seven spices: A very commonly used Middle Eastern spice blend. You can make your own, or find this in any Middle Eastern supply store. You can also substitute all spice, or any mixed spices of choice.
Ground cinnamon, salt and pepper to enhance the meat
For the squash and the stew:
Summer squash: also known as kousa, koosa, or baby marrow. You need a good amount of this, cut into half circles or wedges.
Water: 2-2.5 cups water, enough to cover the squash in the pan.
Tomato Paste: This is what will serve as the tomato paste for our stew.
How to make Middle Eastern squash stew:
- Brown the meat: Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil, then add the ground beef. Keep sauteeing until browned and cooked through, then if desired drain any excess fat. Add the spices and stir.
- Add the sliced up summer squash to the pan, as well as enough water to cover and the tomato paste. Stir.
- Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the squash is cooked through to your liking. Taste for seasoning, and enjoy!
Watch the video in the recipe card below!
What to serve this squash dish with:
This is beautiful with vermicelli rice. You could also serve it with Egyptian rice, or any rice of choice. Be creative, and serve this alongside any grain you like. Freekah, bulgur, quinoa, it all works. You can also eat this right out the bowl like a thick stew, or with some crusty bread on the side.
If you have time, a quick chopped green salad really compliments this well.
Leftover Lebanese squash with beef will last 3-4 days tightly covered in the fridge.
Sure! Feel free to omit the ground beef and make this a veggie stew. You can also add more vegetables in, like mushrooms, eggplant, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
Yes. You can also do a 50/50 mix of beef and lamb.
While I haven’t tried this myself, some recipes online saute the meat in the instant pot, then add the rest of the ingredients including the zucchini and pressure cook for 1 minute, then immediately release the pressure.
If you liked this recipe, you might like:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground beef 0.5 kg
- 1 heaped tsp seven spices, all spice, or mixed spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 lbs summer squash (koosa or baby marrow), or zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch pieces. I like doing half circles or 1/4 circles 1 kg
- 2-2.5 cups water
- 5 oz tomato paste 135 g
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the diced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring continuously.
- Add the crushed garlic, and cook for a further minute or so, then add the ground beef.
- Cook for a minute, breaking apart any clumps of meat with a wooden spoon, stirring a good 6-8 minutes until meat is all cooked through and brown with no pink bits remaining.
- If desired, drain any extra fat. Add all the spices (seven spice or all spice, cinnamon, salt and black pepper) and stir to combine. Taste the mince and adjust for seasoning.
- Add all the summer squash and stir to combine. Add enough water to cover the mixture, then the tomato paste. Stir.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until the squash is completely cooked through. Taste for seasoning, and adjust accordingly.
- Enjoy plain or served over vermicelli rice (recipe for rice linked in notes)