This recipe for stuffed zucchini with ground beef and rice is filled with a mixture of savory ground beef combined with fresh herbs, tomatoes, and rice. It's a delicious and versatile meal that everyone will love!
If you like stuffing vegetables for dinner, be sure to try this stuffed acorn squash recipe which has all of the flavors of fall.
Why you will love this recipe
- It's made with simple and fresh ingredients!
- It's a great recipe for meal prepping or making ahead of time.
Here is what you will need
This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this recipe; scroll down for a printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.
- Ground beef
- Medium zucchini
- Olive oil
- Cooked brown rice
- Diced tomatoes
- Fresh herbs such as oregano and basil or Italian seasoning
- Mozzarella cheese
How to make this stuffed zucchini recipe
Prepare the ingredients: Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Chop the garlic, herbs, onions and tomatoes if you are using fresh. Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees F.
Step 1. Slice the zucchini
Cut zucchini in half length-wise. Then use a sharp knife to score around the zucchini edges.
Step 2. Scoop out the pulp
Use a spoon to scoop out the zucchini flesh. Chop the flesh and set it aside with the two zucchini shells.
Step 3. Cook the ground beef
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it is hot add the ground beef, garlic, and chopped onion. Reduce to medium heat and cook until beef is almost cooked through.
Step 4. Add the vegetables
Add the tomatoes and zucchini pulp, reduce to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the zucchini is soft.
Step 5. Stir in the rice and herbs
Stir in the cooked rice and fresh herbs.
Step 6. Fill the zucchini shells
Fill each of the zucchini halves with the beef mixture. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
Step 7. Bake
Remove the cover, sprinkle on the cheese and bake for 5 minutes longer until the cheese has melted.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
The complete list of ingredients to make this zucchini boat recipe is above. Below are notes about some of the ingredients along with ideas for substitutes.
Lean ground beef. I like to use ground sirloin. It has less fat and more flavor. If that is not an option for you, look for 90/20 ground beef.
Zucchini - The best size of zucchini to use in this recipe is small or medium zucchini. Large zucchini does not have as much flavor, and the seeds are large.
Garlic & Onion - I like to use fresh whenever I can, but both of these ingredients can be substituted with ½ teaspoon of garlic powder or onion powder.
Tomatoes - When they are available and in season, I use fresh. Fresh tomatoes can be substituted with low-sodium canned diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.
Mozarella cheese - Since the flavor profile in this recipe leans toward Italian, I like to use mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese. It can be substituted with your favorite cheese. Swills, feta or cheddar cheese are good options.
One of the many great things about recipes like this is that you can change them up and make them your own. Here are some suggestions.
- Add more vegetables - add chopped mushrooms, red bell pepper, or diced eggplant to the stuffing mixture.
- Spicy stuffed zucchini - add ½ to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to taste.
- Vegetarian stuffed zucchini- leave the meat out and add a half block of crumbled tofu or 8 to 10 ounces of diced mushrooms.
- Change up the ground meat- Instead of beef, use ground chicken, ground turkey or ground pork.
- Mexican stuffed zucchini boats - Add ½ to a teaspoon of chili powder or taco seasoning to taste to the meat and rice mixture along with a ¼ cup of black beans, and fresh cilantro. Top with cheddar, jack, or cotija cheese.
- Low carb stuffed zucchini boats - replace the rice with cauliflower rice.
- Deconstructed stuffed zucchini boat - instead of stuffing zucchini, cut up each of the ingredients and cook them all in a skillet. Start with the beef, and add the vegetables once the beef has cooked.
Check out our deconstructed stuffed peppers recipe here!
Make ahead instructions
This is a great recipe for meal prepping. Here's how; prepare the zucchini and the filling. Store each separately in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
When it's time to serve, stuff the zucchini halves with the filling and bake as per recipe instructions.
How to store leftover stuffed zucchini
Store leftover stuffed zucchini in an airtight container for up to three days. Reheat it in the oven or in the microwave.
Freezing is not recommended, we haven't tried it.
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- Shred your own cheese! Shredded cheese can be convenient, but contains unnecessary ingredients.
- Use a melon baller or a small cookie scoop to easily scoop out the zucchini pulp.
Yes, this recipe for stuffed zucchini is healthy. It's made with fresh zucchini, herbs, and tomatoes all full of vitamins, fiber and nutrients. Lean ground beef adds a healthy dose of protein.
Yes, you can use any type of squash that you like to stuff. A few suggestions are yellow summer squash, spaghetti squash or acorn squash.
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Click on serving size to scale this recipe
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup minced onion ½ small onion
- 1 cup diced tomato about 1 large fresh
- ½ cup cooked brown rice
- 2 to 3 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1 medium zucchini or 2 small
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
- Cut a zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a sharp knife to score around the edges leaving about ¼ inch around the sides. Use a spoon to scoop out the pulp.
- Chop the pulp and set it aside.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onions and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the beef is almost cooked through.
- Stir in the tomatoes and zucchini pulp. Reduce the heat to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked rice and fresh herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the beef and rice mixture to the zucchini shells and sprinkle with cheese.
- Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cover and bake for 5 minutes longer.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used
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