Linda Sawaya’s vegetarian alternative to kousa mihshi stuffed with rice, garbanzo beans, parsley, and tomato, is satisfying and wonderfully seasoned. If the light green, very tender, Lebanese summer squash are unavailable, use small yellow crooknecks of dark green zucchini. Mexican squash varieties are very similar to Lebanese and might be found in farmers’ markets. Seeds for Lebanese squash are available through a few seed companies, if you care to grow your own. This tasty summer dish can be made with or without garbanzo beans; mint is also an optional ingredient.
Check out the related video story: Cooking With Love: Alice’s Kitchen Fresh, home cooked meals prepared with love; a Lebanese tradition transferred from mother to daughter. Linda Sawaya shares her love of food, and the generations of culinary knowledge passed down through oral tradition.
- 10 small Lebanese squash (kousa): yellow crookneck, zucchini, or Mexican squash
- 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained or ½ cup dry garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
- 1 cup rice, soaked and rinsed
- 2 bunches parsley, finely chopped
- 1 bunch spearmint
- 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery with tops, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 can whole tomatoes, chopped, with liquid or 1 pound fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- If using dry garbanzo beans, soak overnight in a pot.
- Drain water and add fresh water to cover. Cover pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Cool, drain, and remove skins from beans, by rolling beans gently with a rolling pin on a towel.
- In a bowl, mix together rice, beans, seasonings, chopped greens, and one half of the olive oil.
- Core squash according to directions on page 109 in book, or from demonstration in video (how2 make Summer Squash Stuffed with Rice). Fill with rice mixture to ½” from top and arrange stuffed squash upright in a pot, propped up next to one another.
- Cover with tomatoes with their liquid, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, and one cup water. Cover pot, and bring to boil over high heat on the stovetop, then lower heat and simmer approximately 45 minutes, until rice is done, squash is tender, and sauce (zoum) is thick.
- Split each kousa in half on individual plates and pour on a little sauce. Serve hot with Arabic bread and fresh cut vegetables.
Yield: Serves: 4-6 people
Recipe courtesy Linda Dalal Sawaya, author of Alice’s Kitchen (this recipe found on page 143)