Meat and Rice Stuffed Squash, also known as Kussa is a Middle Eastern favorite of mine that brings so many childhood memories. My mom is a pro at making the best kussa. She still makes this delicate and special dish when we go visit to make us feel welcomed and loved.
Kussa is stuffed with seasoned minced beef, white rice, onions, and tomatoes then simmered in seasoned tomato sauce. It is such a wholesome dish and is usually paired with grape leaves.
Squash Stuffed with Meat and Rice!
Which Type of Squash Can You Use?
Type of squash: Tatuma squash, which is also knows as Mexican squash. If you cannot find this squash in your local grocery you can use the yellow squash.
They are usually bigger and longer than the Tatuma squash pictured below but they are just as tasty if you ask me! I found this website where they sell this squash that you may want to check out here.
You can also use Zucchini which is also called summer squash. They are summer squash similar to Tatuma squash but they have a lighter color.
Another type of squash you can use is Chayote squash, also known as mirliton squash or Mexican pear squash.
If you can not find any of the above types, you can look for Calabacita or calabaza squash. It is so close to zucchini but it has a mild sweet taste. You made add some more salt when you stuff it to balance the sweetness.
A Wholesome Dish for your Family!
Do You End Up with Cracked Squash? Here Is my Secret Hack!
No body likes empty squash with rice in the broth! To avoid having cracked squash, I usually core the squash and set them in a bowl.
I cover them with water. Then, I add some salt and citric acid. I leave them there around 15 minutes before I stuff them.
Sometimes, I do not have time to core and stuff squash on the same day. So, I usually core the zucchini a day or two ahead. I set them in the salt and citric acid for 15 minutes, then I move them to the fridge.
This step will keep them fresh looking. It will also prevent them from cracking while in the instant pot.
What To Serve Next to Stuffed Squash
A warm delicious stuffed squash fills your mouth with flavors and makes your taste buds ask for more. If you like to add more to your table, you can set a plate of cucumber, radish, and some green onions.
A more refreshing choice is a bowl of Cucumber-Yogurt Mint Garlic Salad. It perfectly pairs with stuffed zucchini or Tatuma squash. It is so refreshing. You will keep alternating a bite of squash and a spoon of this delish salad. Yummy!
Top Tips for Top Chefs
The rice I used is long-grain white rice by Royal Basmati. You can choose to use any white long-grain rice you want like Jasmine or American rice.
Some people, especially in Levantine area, use short or medium grain rice. So, it is up to you!
A big YES for Instant Pot. You can make these deliciously wholesome stuffed squash in the pressure cooker. I have tried it and they turn out so good and finish in 6 minutes of high!
The only difference is that the broth will not thicken as it should since it is not simmered but it is still very tasty if you want a quick Kussa meal.
Let’s Get Ready and Prepare Some Stuffed Summer Squash!
First, wash your squash. Cut the stems off and toss them out.
Cut the round brown layer on the bottom of the squash.
Using a long squash corer or an apple corer, gently carve into the squash.
Remove all the inside flesh of the Tatuma Squash.
Put the flesh aside and let’s prepare the stuffing.
In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, rice, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, seven spices, salt, tomato paste, and citric acid (optional).
Begin to fill the squash using your fingertips.
Pushing the mixture with your pinky finger until the Tatuma squash has all filled up to the top.
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the most famous Levantine dinners is the core of squash or zucchini fried with eggs and seasoned with salt and pepper. Try it!
Yes in deed! Try to use the stuffing made for Vegetarian Grape Leaves (Instant Pot). It is also perfect to stuff squash!
If you are left with some stuffing, add some water to top the rice. Bring it to boil, then leave it on low heat for 15-20 minutes. You will get cooked rice that is amazingly delicious.
Rice and Meat Stuffed Squash
The List of Ingredients
- Tatuma Squash
- ground beef
- Short grain white rice
- olive oil
- white onion
- seven spice or all spice
- citric acid, optional
- tomato paste
- salt or to taste
- seven spices
- bouillon cubes
Steps to Prepare Meat and Rice Stuffed Squash
Prepare the Stuffing
In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, rice, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, seven spices, salt, tomato paste, and citric acid (optional). Place in the fridge or set aside.
Prepare the Squash
Wash your squash. Cut the stems off and toss them out. Cut the round brown layer on the bottom of the squash.
Using a long squash corer or an apple corer, gently carve into the squash to remove all the inside flesh.
Stuff and Cook
Begin to fill the squash using your hands and pushing the mixture with your pinky finger until it has all filled up to the top.
Place the squash in a large deep pot, stacking them on top of each other. Stack them horizontally or slightly facing up, as long as they are not facing down.
In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of warm water with the ingredients for the broth mix. Pour on top of the squash. Then add in the remaining 9-10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then leave the heat on medium-high for about 45 minutes.
Once they are fully cooked, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before you gently remove them from the pot.
Other recipes you might enjoy
- Instant Pot Vegetarian Grape Leaves
- Creamy Dreamy Hummus
- Hearty Kafta and Potato Stew
- Easy Rice Kabsa with Hearty Beef
- Instant Pot vs. Rice Cooker ?
- Cucumber-Yogurt Mint Garlic Salad
- Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof
- Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Easy Stuffed Cabbage (Malfoof)
- Rotini Crab Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
Meat and Rice Stuffed Squash
- 12 Tatuma Squash known as Mexican squash
- ½ lbs ground beef
- 1 ½ cups Short grain white rice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium tomato finely chopped
- 1 medium white onion finely chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons seven spices
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon citric acid optional
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup tomato paste or 2 (8oz) cans tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon seven spices
- ¼ teaspoon citric acid optional
- 3 bouillon cubes
- 2 ½ quarts water 10 cups water
- In a medium bowl mix the ground beef, rice, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, seven spices, salt, tomato paste and citric acid (optional). Place in the fridge or set aside.
- Wash your squash. Cut the stems off and toss out. cut the round brown layer on the bottom of the squash. Using a long squash corer or an apple corer, gently carve into the squash to remove all the inside flesh.
- Begin to fill the squash using your hands and pushing the mixture with your pinky finger until it has all filled up to the top. Place the squash in a large deep pot, stacking them on top of each other. Horizontally or slightly facing up, as long as they are not facing down.
- To the pot filled with squash add the tomato paste, salt, seven spices, citric acid, and bouillon cubes. Then pour 2 ½ quarts of water (10 cups).
- Bring to a boil then cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar. Place the heat on medium and allow to cook for 60 minutes. The broth should be thickened once they are cooked.
- Once they are fully cooked, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before you gently remove them from the pot. Pour the tomato brother over your kuusa (squash) and enjoy.
This Meat and Rice Stuffed Squash recipe was delicious! The quantities were perfect. As a first-timer making this dish, I made the mistake of stuffing them too much. After cooking, some of them exploded 😅😅😅. I would recommend any first-timers NOT TO stuff the filling too much! Thanks a lot for sharing!
Hi Rasha! That can definitely happen to the best of us 🙂 Happy you found this recipe helpful!!
I highly recommend you try this recipe!! It’s soooo delish.
Followed the recipe as explained. Clear winner with my family. I plan to make this again!
Amazing! Thank you for leaving your feedback and happy to hear your family enjoyed it 🙂