I’m so excited to share this zucchini dish with you that I can hardly stand it!
Fair warning, you do need a quite a few pots and a bit of time for this recipe (this is definitely not a one pot wonder), but it is SO worth it. Start with scooping out your zucchini. I used a grapefruit spoon because the serrated edges made scooping really easy, but really any spoon will work. (Note that I placed the zucchini in the baking dish just for show. You’ll see from the rest of the photos that I had to remove them.)
Place half of the meat and rice mixture into the baking dish.
Place the zucchini “boats” on top of the meat and rice mixture and fill those bad boys up.
Top the filled zucchini with some yummy mozzarella cheese. Mmm, cheese.
Oh yeah, oh yeah. Guys, I’m telling you that these are freakin’ awesome. This is not a boring or bland meal, AT ALL. The spices in the sauce permeate throughout the entire dish.
My mom used to make delicious stuffed bell peppers when we were kids. I’m more of a zucchini fan and since we are in full swing with zucchini season (well, sort of at the end of the season really) I thought it would be cool to stuff zucchini instead. I used her dish as my inspiration but I pumped up the spice department, like a lot.
While I loved my mom’s stuffed peppers dish, I always found myself wanting more of the filling. I fixed that with this dish. I made so much more “filling” than was needed to “stuff” them that they are surrounded by it! The meat and rice mixture acts as a great bed for the zucchini. Plus, the extra filling makes for a better ratio with the zucchini.
This is a fantastic make-ahead meal. Simply prepare it before your guests arrive and pop it in the oven whenever you like. Your guests will never know what just happened. Not only will this dish impress your peeps but you don’t have to divide your time with entertaining and cooking. I live for dishes like this one.
What are you waiting for? Zucchini season is almost over (at least here in the U.S.).
Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
(About 4 to 6 servings)
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice (I used brown rice)
- 1/3 cup onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes (I used the Basil, Garlic, Oregano flavor)
- 1 can (8 ounce) tomato sauce (I used the Basil, Garlic, Oregano flavor)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 zucchini
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Cook the rice according to the directions on the package and then set it aside.
- In a skillet, over Medium heat, cook the chopped onion, minced garlic, and ground beef until the beef is browned.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
- Season with parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
- Cut the zucchini lengthwise and carefully cut out the middle. Make sure to cut out just enough so that the zucchini is still stiff (and is strong enough to hold the filling).
- Chop the zucchini “guts” (the part you removed to make them into boats) and cook them in a skillet until browned. Set it aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add the cooked zucchini guts and the meat sauce into the pot of cooked rice and stir everything together.
- In a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, add about half of the meat and rice mixture.
- Place the hollowed out zucchinis on top of the meat and rice mixture.
- Evenly distribute the rest of the meat and rice mixture into each of the hollowed out zucchinis. (Spilling over is okay! After all we have way too much filling on purpose.)
- Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the stuffed zucchini.
- Cook in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the zucchini is tender (when you poke it with a fork) and the cheese has browned. I covered my baking pan with tin foil after about 10 minutes in the oven to keep from over browning the cheese.
Source: Tina’s Chic Corner
Here are some other zazzy zucchini recipes.