Kousa Bil Laban Recipe – Easy Kitchen Guide

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By Dr. Leah Alexander | Published on December 8, 2023 | Last Updated on December 8, 2023

Kousa Bil Laban, also known as “Zucchini with Yogurt Sauce,” is a delightful Middle Eastern dish that combines the creaminess of yogurt, the richness of beef, and the freshness of zucchini.

This dish originated in Lebanon and has become a popular meal across many other countries in the region. What makes this stand out is its simple yet flavorful ingredients that come together to create a delicious and satisfying dish.

In this article, you will learn how to make Kousa Bil Laban step by step with easy-to-follow instructions and readily available ingredients. Whether you’re new to Middle Eastern cuisine or a seasoned cook looking for a new dish, this is sure to become a household favorite.

Kousa Bil Laban Recipe

What is Kousa Bil Laban? 

Kousa Bil Laban is a traditional Middle Eastern dish. It is made by cooking zucchini, beef, and rice in a creamy yogurt sauce seasoned with unique Lebanese spices.

This dish has a perfect balance of flavors, textures, and aromas. The tanginess of the yogurt pairs well with the earthy flavors of zucchini and beef, while the rice adds a nice chewy texture.

It is also a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or served as a side dish with other Middle Eastern dishes.  

Why You’ll Love This Kousa Bil Laban?

If you’re looking for a dish that is both delicious and nutritious, then Kousa Bil Laban is the perfect choice. The zucchini in this dish provides essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin C, and folate.

The creamy yogurt sauce adds probiotics to the dish, which can improve digestion and boost your immune system. Additionally, the use of lean ground beef makes this dish a good source of protein.

Not only is it healthy, but Kousa Bil Laban also has an irresistible flavor profile that will leave you wanting more. The combination of Middle Eastern spices, garlic, and zucchini creates a unique taste that will satisfy your cravings.

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Ingredients 

  • Ground beef: This adds a savory element to the dish and provides some protein.
  • Plain yogurt: The base of this recipe, gives the dish its creamy texture and tangy flavor.
  • Uncooked Egyptian rice: This type of rice is short-grained and starchy, making it perfect for absorbing all the delicious flavors in this dish.
  • Olive oil: Used in two different parts of the recipe, it adds a rich, slightly fruity flavor.
  • Zucchini: The star of this dish, zucchinis are low in calories and add a nice crunch to the overall texture.
  • Salt: Add some necessary seasoning to bring out all the flavors in the dish.
  • Dried mint: This herb adds a refreshing element to balance out the creaminess of the yogurt and the richness of the beef.
  • Garlic: A staple ingredient in many dishes, garlic adds a depth of flavor to this recipe.
  • Water: A small amount of water is added to help cook the zucchini and rice.
  • Lebanese seven-spice seasoning: This blend of spices adds a unique and delicious flavor profile to the dish.
  • Cornstarch: Used as a thickening agent for the yogurt sauce.
Kousa Bil Laban Copycat Recipe

Step by Step Directions 

Step 1

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Start by preparing all of your ingredients.
  • Wash and slice the zucchini into 1-inch rounds.
  • Peel and crush the garlic cloves, and set aside.

Step 2

Cook the Beef 

  • In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add in the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it apart with a spatula as you go.
  • Once cooked, remove the beef from the pan and set aside.

Step 3

Cook the Zucchini 

  • In the same pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add in the zucchini rounds and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Stir in the crushed garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Step 4

Add Rice and Water 

  • Stir in the rice, salt, and dried mint to the zucchini mixture.
  • Add in water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once boiling, cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.
  • Allow it to simmer for 15 minutes until the rice is fully cooked and all of the water has been absorbed.

Step 5

Make the Yogurt Sauce 

  • In a small bowl, mix together the plain yogurt, Lebanese seven-spice seasoning, and cornstarch until well combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan with the cooked beef and stir until fully incorporated.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

Step 6

Combine and Serve 

  • Once the rice is fully cooked, add in the beef mixture to the pan with the zucchini.
  • Stir everything together until well combined.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes until all the flavors have melded together.
  • Serve hot and enjoy your delicious Kousa Bil Laban!

Tips 

  • Make sure to use plain yogurt without any added flavorings or sugar.
  • For a vegetarian option, you can replace the beef with chickpeas or lentils.
  • Adjust the amount of spices and seasoning according to your preference.
  • Don’t overcook the zucchini, as it will become mushy and lose its texture.
  • You can use a food processor to grind the beef for a finer texture.  
How to Make Kousa Bil Laban Recipe

Nutrition Information 

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How to store Kousa Bil Laban?

If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When reheating, you may need to add a splash of water or yogurt to keep the dish from drying out. For longer storage, you can freeze Kousa Bil Laban for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

You may also need to add some additional yogurt or water when reheating as the rice may absorb more liquid during freezing. Once thawed, do not refreeze the dish as it can negatively affect the texture and flavo

What other substitute can I use in Kousa Bil Laban? 

If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand or want to switch things up, here are some substitutes you can use:

  • Instead of ground beef, you can use ground lamb, chicken, or turkey.
  • If you don’t have Lebanese seven-spice seasoning, you can make your own by combining equal parts of allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek seeds, ginger, and nutmeg.
  • Instead of zucchini, you can use yellow squash or eggplant.
  • To make the dish dairy-free, you can swap out the yogurt for coconut milk or a non-dairy yogurt alternative.
How to Make Kousa Bil Laban Recipe

Kousa Bil Laban Recipe

Kousa Bil Laban, also known as “Zucchini with Yogurt Sauce,” is a delightful Middle Eastern dish that combines the creaminess of yogurt, the richness of beef, and the freshness of zucchini.
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Author: Dr. Leah Alexander
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Lebanese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 407kcal

Equipment

  • large pan
  •  Stirrer

Ingredients

  • ¼ pound Ground beef – “1/4 pound of savory ground beef adding depth of flavor and richness to the dish.”
  • 2 cups Plain yogurt – “2 cups of creamy plain yogurt contributing a luscious and velvety texture.”
  • ½ cup Uncooked Egyptian rice – “1/2 cup of Uncooked Egyptian rice known for its unique and aromatic grains, enhancing the overall fragrance of the dish.”
  • 2 tbsps Olive oil divided – “2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided, for a smooth and balanced distribution of the rich, fruity notes.”
  • 2.5 pounds Zucchini – “2.5 pounds of zucchini providing a mild and refreshing taste while adding a satisfying crunch.”
  • ¾ tsp Salt – “3/4 teaspoon of salt enhancing the flavors and harmonizing the taste profile.”
  • 1 tbsp Dried mint – “1 tablespoon of dried mint imparting a refreshing and herbaceous aroma to the dish.”
  • 1.5 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed – “1.5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed, infusing a robust and aromatic essence.”
  • 2.5 tbsps Water – “2.5 tablespoons of water contributing to a moist and succulent texture in the final preparation.”
  • 1 tbsp Lebanese seven-spice seasoning – “1 tablespoon of Lebanese seven-spice seasoning offering a harmonious blend of aromatic and flavorful spices.”
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch – “1 tablespoon of cornstarch serving to thicken and add a silky smooth consistency to the sauce.”

Instructions

  • To create this tantalizing Kousa Bil Laban, begin by preparing the ingredients. Thoroughly wash and cut the zucchini into 1-inch rounds. Then, peel and crush the garlic cloves and set them aside for later use.
  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is heated, carefully add in the ground beef and cook until it’s beautifully browned, using a spatula to break it into bite-sized pieces as you go. Once done, remove the beef from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
  • In that same pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Next, add in the zucchini rounds and cook them for approximately 5 minutes until they turn a lovely shade of light brown. Then, throw in the crushed garlic and let it sizzle away for an additional minute.
  • Our next step is to add the Egyptian rice, salt, and dried mint to the zucchini mixture while continuing to stir diligently. Then, pour in ⅓ cup of water and bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, carefully lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Allowing this mixture to simmer for approximately 15 minutes will result in perfectly cooked rice that has absorbed all of the water.
  • While waiting for the rice to cook, let’s prepare our creamy and flavorful yogurt sauce. In a small bowl, vigorously mix together the plain yogurt, Lebanese seven-spice seasoning, and cornstarch until all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Once done, pour this delectable mixture into the pan that contains the cooked beef and give it a good stir. Cook everything over medium heat for an additional 5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly and becomes silky smooth.
  • Now it’s time to combine everything together for the final masterpiece. Add the delectable beef mixture into the pan with the cooked zucchini and thoroughly mix everything until well combined. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing all of the flavors to come together beautifully. Once done, serve this scrumptious Kousa Bil Laban dish hot and enjoy every savory bite!

Notes

  • Make sure to use plain yogurt without any added flavorings or sugar.
  • For a vegetarian option, you can replace the beef with chickpeas or lentils.
  • Adjust the amount of spices and seasoning according to your preference.
  • Don’t overcook the zucchini, as it will become mushy and lose its texture.
  • You can use a food processor to grind the beef for a finer texture.  
Keyword: Kousa Bil Laban Recipe

FAQs

Is Kousa Bil Laban gluten-free?

Yes, this dish is naturally gluten-free as it does not contain any wheat or gluten-containing ingredients. However, always double-check your individual ingredient labels to ensure they are certified gluten-free.

How do I serve Kousa Bil Laban?

Traditionally, Kousa Bil Laban is served as a main dish alongside some pita bread or Lebanese flatbread. You can also serve it as a side dish with your favorite protein or salad. Some people also enjoy topping it with some toasted pine nuts for extra texture and flavor.

Can I use frozen zucchini in this?

Yes, you can use frozen zucchini in this recipe if you don’t have fresh zucchini on hand. Simply thaw and drain the excess liquid before using in the recipe.

Conclusion

Now that you know all about Kousa Bil Laban, it’s time to try making this delicious Middle Eastern dish at home. With simple ingredients and easy steps, this recipe is perfect for weeknight meals or a special occasion.

Enjoy the flavors of Lebanon with this hearty and comforting dish.  So, what are you waiting for? Get cooking and enjoy Kousa Bil Laban today!

Please share this article with your family and friends so they can also discover this delicious dish. Thank you for reading this article.

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Author Profile

Dr. Leah Alexander, M.D., is a board-certified Pediatrician in New Jersey and has been working at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000.
She also has a passion for culinary arts that extends beyond the medical realm. After completing culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, she started Global Palate, LLC, a catering firm, in 2007. She ran her own six-year-old catering company and served small group parties as an owner and executive chef.

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