This Middle Eastern “mahashi” is an enjoyable way to eat squash and eggplant–stuffed with spiced, herby meat and rice, then simmered in tomato sauce.

You can use whatever small squash are available. Here, the traditional koosa squash was used, also known as grey or Mexican squash, gorgeous golden zucchini, and some eggplant for good measure. These beauties make a perfect meal that wraps veggies, meat and rice all up in one juicy package.

Mahashi (Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables)

Mahashi (Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables)

Squash and eggplant stuffed with a savoury and herbaceous meat and rice mixture then simmered in a rich tomato sauce.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Egyptian, Middle Eastern
Calories 401 kcal


  • Zucchini corer


  • assorted veggies, squash and small eggplants
  • kosher salt

For the stuffing (hashwa)

  • 1 lb ground meat beef or lamb
  • 1 small onion minced
  • black and white pepper
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • cardamom small pinch
  • aleppo pepper small pinch
  • 1 cup short grain rice washed
  • 1 cup minced fresh herbs you can use half parsley, half cilantro, dill is a common choice as well
  • olive oil

For the sauce

  • 5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 cups water


  • Cut the tops of the veggies and hollow them out using a zucchini corer.
    Mahashi (Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables) step 1
  • Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and set aside. The salt will draw moisture out of the veggies.
    Mahashi (Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables) step 2
  • In a hot pan with some oil, saute ground meat with spices until only cooked half-way. Add chopped onion and allow to soften then remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, mix the meat with rice and fresh herbs.
    Mahashi (Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables) step 3
  • Shake off the water that was drawn out of your veggies.
  • If using eggplant, sear the skins in the pan you cooked the meat in.
    Mahashi (Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables) step 7
  • Stand veggies upright in a pot that holds them snugly. You can tuck onion quarters, garlic or other aromatics between to fill gaps and add flavour.
  • Using fingers or a small spoon, drop the stuffing in. Don't jam it in too tightly, the rice needs room to expand.
    Mahashi (Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables) step 4

To make sauce

  • Heat up some olive oil in a small sauce pan and saute tomato paste.
  • Add 6 cups of water and plenty of salt and pepper. Taste it. It should be assertively seasoned.
  • Pour sauce over the veggies until they are covered about 3/4 of the way.
  • Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and cook covered for about 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes afterwards.
  • Serve hot with sauce spooned over and yogurt on top.


It is difficult to give an exact number of veggies that you can fill with this amount of stuffing, as this is affected by many variables such as the size of your veggies, the manner in which they are stuffed etc. It is common to have left over veggies or stuffing. Left over stuffing can be cooked separately as you would cook rice, for an herbed meat and rice dish. You could also freeze excess for later use. 
You can also add finely minced tomato to the stuffing. 
Keyword Eggplant, Mahshi, Meat and Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves, Squash