To my surprise, what we call zucchini in Lebanon is called Mexican squash in the USA. The even most surprising part was to see how much veggies eating habits Lebanon shares with Mexico. Tomatoes is an obvious thing, but the most amazing for me was the chickpeas in their pods. It is a snack we eat in Lebanon and it is getting rarer now. It is one of my favorite things to munch on in between meals and you can imagine what a nice surprise it was to see them here.
It is funny how often I see something and tell Clint we eat that in Lebanon and he tells me that it is a food imported by the Mexican community or eaten by them. So you can imagine how funny it was to see that the type of zucchini we eat is called Mexican squash.
I think it is amazing that two cultures that are this far apart share this much eating habits. It is kind of cool for me to find some of my favorite things to eat here because of that.
The following recipe can be made with the regular zucchini known in the USA or with the Mexican squash. They both taste the same really in the end result, but I prefer to use Mexican squash because it has more space for stuffing and it is easier to core since it is never curved like zucchini can be. Even the slightest curve can make the vegetable break which makes it besides the point.
Another important thing about this recipe is that it will make it easier on you to feed it to kids. I know a large percentage of kids who keep asking for this to eat. Yeah, you heard me. Clint’s kids even raved about it and they have warned me before trying it that they hated zucchini…
This is a fairly easy recipe, the same stuffing can be used for several other veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and whatever your imagination can come up with I guess.
I had a lot of filling left so I stuffed tomatoes and cooked them along with the squash.
Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini
- 8 zucchinis or small Mexican squash
- 1 tomato
- ½ cup rice uncooked
- 250 g (½ lb) ground meat (93/7 is best)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 Tbsp dried mint
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt, pepper
- Core the zucchinis till none of the seeds are left then wash them clean.
- Combine the rice , the meat, the salt and pepper. Squeeze the tomato juice on them and combine.
- Stuff the zucchini with the mixture, leaving a little space for the rice to cook.
- Set them in the pot standing as upright as you can and cover them with water. Stir in the tomato paste.
- Season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Pound the garlic, incorporate the dried mint and the lemon. When the zucchini are done add the lemon, garlic and mint combo. Boil for 5 min.
- Serve with some sauce and yogurt.