Lebanese Stuffed Summer Vegetables

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The Lebanese have rarely met a vegetable we didn’t try to stuff. And around here, that stuffing is always a combination of meat and rice, fragrant with cinnamon. Any and all of these dishes are elevated with a dollop of labneh and plenty of good, soft, thin pita or flatbread nearby.

Coosa, Stuffed Squash in Tomato Broth
How lucky if you can find the pale green little coosa that are traditional for this dish (I’ve seen them called “Korean” squash.). Green and yellow zucchini are a delightful stand-in. Coring them is key.

Eggplant Bake, Sheik al Mesheh
The classic approach to the eggplant is to make a kind of stuffed boat; we broil slices to a mahogany brown and layer them with cooked, seasoned meat and tomato sauce—then serve it over rice.

Garlicky Stuffed Cabbage
Aunt Rita’s, God rest her soul, still reign as the best cabbage rolls I’ve ever eaten. Here’s the recipe she gave me over an amazing lunch one afternoon, and a great way to blanch the cabbage. If you prefer cabbage rolls cooked in tomato sauce, try this stuffed cabbage rolls recipe instead.

You’re welcome!

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  1. Melani Wilson says:

    So excited to find your blog and follow after seeing your guest blog on Hollye’s site. I’m sharing with my cousin who is a huge fan of Lebanese food after living for a time in Toledo, OH.

    Can’t wait to head north and dig into my freezer for my cherries and try your gallette!


    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Melanie, how great to hear from you–thank you! Enjoy your cherry gallette…it’s going to be SO good!!

  2. Linda says:

    Dear Maureen…
    I discovered your wonderful blog last Christmas when I was feverishly looking for a recipe for fatayed. You saved my annual Lebanese dinner! Your stories, pictures, and general spirit touch my heart and soul. My Lebanese mother, Dolores, and her parents, James and Catherine Trabulse, have been the lights of culture, family and food in my life. Your words and musings evoke strong and pleasant memories for me of my own childhood. I made Koosa with fresh squash from my garden for the first time on Monday and it was like eating dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. It turned out great! Thank you for your beauty and words. Your recipes are true to my memories too. I am a huge fan.
    Linda Wilson-Hill

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      That is just beautiful. Thank you so much.

  3. Marci Duryea says:

    Oh Maureen, coosa is one of my favorites! Back when I was working for Williams-Sonoma we sold those handy coosa-coring tools. I think I bought one for everyone in the family!
    Your post has got me feeling hungry for the dish now; I think I’ll make some tonight!

  4. Melanie Jabara Seal says:

    I’ve been following your blog for several months now and your recipes and pictures bring back wonderful memories of times “up north” in Mancelona, Michigan with my sitte! A pot of koosa simmering on the stove, next to a pot of stuffed grape leaves. Several bags of hubis from Detroit on the counter….leban sitting in the refrigerator…..A bowl of Lebanese salad waiting to be tossed by the sink – the first Lebanese recipe my sitte taught me to make! Cracked wheat soaking ready for kibbee…thank you for the beautiful reminders of times gone by. And for the inspiration to introduce my own children to even more of my childhood favorites. Keep the stories coming!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      What a wonderful scene you describe Melanie, a treasure. I hope you keep sharing with your family our wonderful food and with all of us here your memories! Thank you!

  5. domenicacooks says:

    Maureen, your photos are stunning. It’s always such a pleasure to stop by and read and look at your blog. Picking up on our Facebook thread from yesterday, I’m once again struck by the similarities in the food and cooking of our two cultures. Stuffed zucchini was, and still is, a summer favorite of mine. My mom and aunts would sometimes prepare an entire lunch of stuffed vegetables, some stuffed with bread crumbs, some with meat, etc. So delicious, even at room temperature, which is the best way to enjoy them in summer. I core the zucchini and summer squash the same way that you do. Last week I think I got what you call coosa squash at my farmers’ market. But they call it Mexican squash. I wonder if it’s the same. Light green, long, but slightly rounded on the bottom. At any rate, it was really good. I’m off to get more today. Cheers, D