Middle Eastern-Style Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Zucchini Cups
Photography by Brian Wetzstein | Food styling by Donna Coates and Linda Hall

A twist on the Middle Eastern dish mahashee, zucchini “cups” are filled with seasoned meat, rice and onion before being simmered in a garlicky tomato sauce.

SERVING SIZE: 3 zucchini cups (370 grams)
PREP TIME: 25 minutes


  • 3 medium zucchinis, ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅔ cup chopped yellow onion, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can (about 3½ cups) crushed tomatoes, divided
  • 8 ounces 95% lean ground beef
  • ½ cup uncooked medium-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves


  1. Cut zucchinis into 1½-inch rounds. Using a melon baller, hollow out the center of each round to make it look like a cup (leave about ⅛ inch in the bottom) and set aside.
  2. Dice the removed flesh.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini flesh and ⅓ cup onion.
  4. Sauté for 3 minutes, then add garlic and ½ teaspoon salt.
  5. Sauté for 1 minute, then stir in 2½ cups tomatoes. Turn off heat.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, add remaining ⅓ cup onion, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 cup crushed tomatoes, along with ground beef, rice, allspice and cumin. Stir until combined.
  7. Spoon the filling into each zucchini cup to the top.
  8. Place each cup in the tomato sauce, meat side up.
  9. Cover skillet, turn heat to low and simmer for 55 to 60 minutes or until a food thermometer reads 160°F when placed in the center of the
    stuffed zucchinis.
  10. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh mint immediately before serving.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 281 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 28mg cholesterol, 641mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 8g sugar, 17g protein, N/A potassium, N/A phosphorus

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Sarah Pflugradt
Sarah Pflugradt, MS, RDN, is a freelance writer, blogger at Sarah Pflugradt Nutrition . Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.