Stuffed Zucchini – delicious low-carb and easy to prepare zucchini boats stuffed with seasoned ground chicken, topped with cheese, and baked until tender. A wonderful guilt-free meal to kick start the year!
Oh hello hello, 2021! I hope you’re all excited as I am with this new full year ahead. So to welcome this new year (and kinda work on my new health goals), I prepared this hearty yet low-carb stuffed zucchini dish.
It has become a new favorite for me and my hubby. Aside from the fact that it’s low-carb, it tastes amazingly good, too. It’s far from being bland and boring!
What does zucchini do for your body?
Zucchini is an easy-to-grow and prepare and it’s also packed with nutrients like vitamins C and A, manganese, and dietary fiber which keeps you satiated for longer hours and helps you stay in good shape.
It also has folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. Zucchinis make a great low-carb substitute for pasta and noodles, too!
Is zucchini the same thing as a cucumber?
Although they are both members of the Cucurbitaceae or gourd family, zucchinis and cucumbers aren’t the same things. They are close but aren’t the same. And cucumbers won’t work for this recipe.
How do you make stuffed zucchini?
Eating healthy doesn’t require you too many hours in the kitchen. This stuffed zucchini is fairly easy to make which involves 3 parts – hollowing the zucchini, cooking the stuffing, and baking them in the oven.
The first thing you need to do is carefully scoop out the zucchini meat to form a hollow zucchini boat to hold our stuffing.
Next is to bring it to a boil until tender.
After preparing the zucchini, you can now move on to the next step with the ground meat. Simply saute the ground meat and spices and add in the scooped zucchini flesh.
If you want to take on the healthier route, sans the meat, you can simply season and cook the zucchini flesh along with your favorite vegan topping. It’s pretty versatile and forgiving!
Once you’re done with the meat mixture, scoop the meat into the zucchini boats, top them with cheese, if desired, and pop them in the oven. You now have a low-carb and healthy dinner that is a great side dish or entree, too!
Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini
For those who want to make this stuffed zucchini recipe meat-free, yes you may omit the ground meat and replace the stuffing simply with whatever rocks your boat or any of the following:
- lentils or chickpeas (see this Curry Chickpeas Stuffed Sweet Potatoes)
- spinach and quinoa
- black beans (like this Vegan Stuffed Baked Plantains)
- zucchini meat and mushrooms
- mashed potatoes
The possibilities are endless! You just got to have those creative juices flowing. But in the meantime, just dig in this ground meat stuffed zucchini first and make it as a side to your other protein or as a main course.
Raw zucchinis don’t freeze well. So if you want to make this a day before, I suggest you make the meat mixture ahead and freeze it or store it in the fridge, and prepare the zucchinis on the day of serving. Bake it until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Add more chopped veggies if you want to.
Enjoy and hope 2021 will be better for all of us!
How to Make Stuffed Zucchini
Trim stems from zucchini, cut in half – lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh of the zucchini with a teaspoon, leaving some at the bottom. Reserve flesh and set aside. Add water to a medium-sized sauce pan, lightly salt, and bring to a boil. Gently place zucchinis in the pot of boiling water and boil for about 2-3 minutes. Using a tong, remove from water and pat dry.
Heat up a medium saucepan with about 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onions and garlic cook until onions are wilted. Then add ground meat, brown for a couple of minutes until meat is no longer pink. Next add tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, paprika, and salt and pepper. Continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes.
Throw in bell pepper and parsley – cook for about 2 more minutes. Finally add about 1/2 cup of zucchini flesh, if desired. It works well with or without seeds. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.Greased the baking dish with cooking spray and start filling the zucchini with meat mixture, sprinkle with cheese, if desired, place in oven and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 15 -20 minutes. Serve warm.
Watch How To Make It
This blog post was first published in January 2019 and has been updated with a video.
- 2-3 zucchinis
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ medium onion (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ pound ground chicken (or turkey)
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper (As needed)
- 1 small green, yellow, or red pepper
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- cooking spray
- ½ cup grated cheese (Optional)
- Trim stems from zucchini, cut in lengthwise halves.
- Scoop out the flesh of the zucchini with a teaspoon, leaving some at the bottom. Reserve flesh and set aside.
- Add water to a medium-sized sauce pan, lightly salt, and bring to a boil. Gently place zucchinis in the pot of boiling water and boil for about 2-3 minutes. Using a tong, remove from water and pat dry.
- Heat up a medium saucepan with about 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onions and garlic, cook until onions are wilted.
- Then add the ground meat, brown for a couple of minutes until the meat is no longer pink.
- Next – add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes.
- Throw in the bell pepper and parsley – cook for about 2 more minutes.
- Finally, add about 1/2 cup of zucchini flesh, if desired. It works well with or without seeds. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.
- Greased the baking dish with cooking spray. Then start filling the zucchini with meat mixture, sprinkle with cheese, if desired, place in the oven, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 15 -20 minutes. Serve warm.
Tips & Notes:
- To make ahead, cook the meat mixture and place it in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. Prepare the zucchinis on the day of serving and simply stuff them with the thawed meat mixture.
- Add more veggies, if you want to, or replace meat with veggies to go vegan. You may replace it with lentils, chickpeas, black beans, mashed potatoes, and more.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.