Zucchini Mahshi (Zucchini Stuffed With Beef and Rice)

Nina Dahan

2 hours

4 to 6 servings

Zucchini stuffed with meat and rice on red oval plate
Photo by Dave Katz.

When Nina Dahan’s family left Lebanon in 1970 for Geneva and later for London, her mother Vicky was still finding her way in the kitchen. She would consult cookbooks and call home for guidance. “You had to speak very quickly because they [were] charging you crazy amounts of money,” she explains. 

Today, Nina and her parents live in New York where recipes like these stuffed zucchini and onion sleeves are always part of holiday celebrations. They’re particularly fitting for the harvest festival Sukkot, when stuffed vegetables nod to abundance from the land.  

Read more about Nina’s family on the Jewish Food Society.



  • 8 to 10 zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • For the stuffing:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¾ cup arborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the sauce:
  •  ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 1½ tablespoon salt 
  • Water


  1. Shape the zucchini: Remove the stems, and peel the zucchini in a striped pattern. Using an apple corer, core out the center cavity of each zucchini, leaving about ½ an inch of zucchini meat on the edges.
  2. Make the filling: Place the beef, rice, allspice and salt into a bowl. Mix well until combined.
  3. Stuff the cavity of each zucchini with enough meat to fill it up with ¼ of an inch space on each side (the filling will expand as it cooks).
  4. Make the sauce: Combine the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, sugar, and salt into a bowl, mix well.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of oil into a 12-inch wide pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place the stuffed zucchini into the oil and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Once they are browned, stack the zucchinis atop one another if necessary to fit all into the pot.
  6. Pour the sauce over the zucchini. Add enough water to cover them about ¾ up the way. Place a lid on the pot and cook over medium to medium-low heat, simmering for about 40 minutes or until the meat and rice is cooked through and the sauce reduces and thickens.
  7. Serve hot.

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