As I am of Middle Eastern descent, the vast majority of my favorite foods are middle eastern in nature. I also have a strong love of lamb.
Alas, many of the dishes use rice. I’ve been working on re-creating these dishes with cauli-rice, but there are encountered technical challenges, as cauliflower rice doesn’t absorb water like regular rice.
Cousa is a light green variety of zucchini. It’s also an informal way to refer to stuffed squash. As a child, we always used cousa and yellow summer squash, which I greatly preferred and would only eat the yellow squash. Now the cousa is ingrained as a childhood memory and is more appreciated.
Normally you combine the meat mixture and rice, stuff the squash and boil to cook. This does NOT work with cauliflower rice. Trust me, I tried. And it was a miserable, soggy failure.
Tonight I was able to closely emulate Mom’s stuffed squash and am excited to share the recipe with you.
PRO SQUASH TIP – when buying your squash, note that you will need to core (remove the insides) of your squash. Therefore, try to get squash that are long, straight-ish, and at least 3″ in diameter and at least 5″ long. This will make coring easier.
- 1 lb hamburger (try to get as fatty as possible)
- 2 6-oz cans of tomato paste
- 1 head of cauliflower, riced
- 8 squash of various variaties – cousa (light green zucchini), dark skinned zucchini, yellow summer squash.
- 1 carrot, minced
- 1 medium sized onion, minced
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil and stir in one of the cans of tomato paste until thoroughly dissolved.
2. While waiting for water to boil, rinse your squash and cut off the ends (base/stem)
3. Now the fun part – gutting your squash using an apple corer/coring tool. Insert your corer at one end of the squash and while pushing gently into the squash, turn the corer. Try to scrape out all the squash seeds. It’s OK if you puncture the side of the squash, all is not lost. Turn squash over and core from the other end to thoroughly remove the squash guts.
4. Place squash into boiling water until they are tender (~10 minutes).
5. While squash is boiling, use this time to rice your cauliflower (see Filling below).
6. Remove squash and set in a bowl to drain (keep the water in the large pot for sauce).
1. Microwave cauli-rice for 8 minutes (stirring after first 4 minutes). The key is to emulate rice that was cooked in boiling water, so we want to get the cauli-rice nice and soft.
2. Pour a cup of the large pot tomato paste water into the cooked cauli-rice bowl, liberally salt, mix, and microwave for another 2 minutes.
3. Heat up sautee pan on medium heat, add olive oil and sautee onion until translucent
4. Add in carrots and hamburger, cook until hamburger is no longer pink
5. If desired, drain some of the fat from the hamburger mixture.
6. Stir in the second can of tomato paste into the hamburger mixture, liberally salt and pepper hamburger mixture.
7. In a large bowl, add the meat mixture to the cauliflower rice. Stir, salt and pepper liberally.
THE TASTY UNION
Prop squash up and shove the mixture into the squash. If you want more ‘sauce’, boil some of the large pot tomato paste water for a few minutes until it thickens up and pour on top of squash. Salt and pepper liberally!
I gorged on the filling and squash and was SO excited because it almost tasted like my Mom’s version!!! And as we all know, THAT is a victory!