GF Vegan Kousa Bil Laban (Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini In Yogurt Sauce)

May 14, 2021
Kousa Bil Laban literally translates to zucchini in yogurt. The recipe basally uses hollowed out baby zucchini that are stuffed with flavorful rice and jackfruit (which I decided to use to replace to veganize this traditional dish), poached and drained in garlicky yogurt sauce. Try to get your hands on small to medium Turkish/Lebanese zucchini no longer than 15 cm. You'll also need a vegetable corer or fruit baller for this, but I also tried with a long latte spoon with a small head that fits in the zucchinis.

I recommend using short-grain rice that tend to absorb less liquid resulting in a stickier filling, the most commonly used is the Egyptian rice or Italian Arborio. Make sure to rinse the rice under running cold after to remove excess starches.
vegan stuffed zucchini in yogurt sauce in a white bowl with a spoon

GF Vegan Kousa Bil Laban (Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini In Yogurt Sauce)

Recipe Type: Hearty Entrees
utensils YIELDS 2–3 servings
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 1 kg baby zucchini (Tukish zucchini)
  • 1 cup short-grain rice
  • 250g young jackfruit in brine, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 tsp sevenspice/ allspice
  • a pinch freshly grated white pepper
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 400g plain, unsweetend almond yogurt
  • cored zucchini meat
  • 1 head large garlic, crushed
  • 2 heaping tbsp cornstarch diluted in 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • to taste salt
        graphic for recipe card


1. Wash, scrub and dry the zucchini, cut off the stem tips and gently hollow out the center with the vegetable corer or fruit baller. Try to hollow them just like you are carving a pumpkin, hollow out the center leaving 1/2 cm around the interior walls.

2. In a colander, rinse the rice under running cold water.
In a bowl, mix together the rice with the jackfruit and oil, and season with spice and salt.

3. Stuff each zucchini with the rice and jackfruit filling, leave about ½ cm of space at top, for the expansion of the rice as it cooks. Secure each zucchini with a flesh of the hollowed interior of the zucchini, just to create a barrier, preventing the filling from leaking out.

4. Place the stuffed zucchini to a large pot, and gently add water, almost covering the zucchini. Sprinkle with about 1-2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and leave it about 20 minutes to cook. Drain the zucchini and save the broth.

5. In another large pot, add the yogurt, garlic, 3 cups of zucchini broth and diluted cornstarch and whisk well to combine.  Place over medium-high heat, while continuously whisking in one direction to avoid curdling.

6. Once the mixture boils, gently add the strained zucchini one at a time. Dust with dried mint and adjust salt to your taste preference. Reduce heat to low and keep it simmering uncovered for a few minutes, allowing the zucchini to cook through and flavors develop together.

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Photo: Imola Toth

Imola is a Hatha and Ashtanga yoga teacher, tree planter and writer and editor of Raised by the Wolf, an online magazine for Wild Women, with a passion for exploring and life outdoors. Originally from Hungary but currently planting trees and rewilding the enchanting forests of France. Hop over to RBTW magazine, and blog and follow her on Instagram @yogiraisedbythewolf


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