Stuffed Zucchini – A hearty, filling, and flavorful way to enjoy baked zucchini! Stuffed with a zesty beefy filling made from seasoned ground beef, aromatics, herbs, and spices, then smothered in a spicy tomato sauce and served with fresh feta. This low-carb recipe is the perfect way to level up your everyday vegetables!
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This recipe was made in partnership with the Boise Co-op. The Boise Co-op has been providing fresh, local and organic products since 1973. Learn more about the Boise Co-op here.
Stuffed zucchini is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this bountiful vegetable during the summer months, but truth be told it’s perfectly comforting all year round!
Sometimes called zucchini bites, they’re cut rounds out zucchini and stuffing the groove with a filling made of ground beef, onion, extra zucchini flesh, and loads of herbs and spices. It’s smothered in a spicy tangy tomato sauce and baked until the zucchini is tender but not mushy!
I love serving mine with crumbled feta but you can certainly switch it up to melted cheese or Parmesan. You can make these stuffed zucchini bites your own!
Enjoy them as a low-carb lunch or dinner idea or on the side of rice, potatoes, or your favorite pasta.
- Large Zucchini: You’ll need 3 large zucchini. Medium will work too, especially if you’re using it as a side dish. Just as long as it’s big enough to hold the filling.
- Ground Beef: I use lean ground beef, 80/20 or sometimes even 90/10 so there isn’t a lot of extra grease. You can also swap the ground beef for breakfast sausage, ground pork, ground chicken, or ground turkey if you’d like!
- Onion: An aromatic that gets added to the filling for extra yummy flavor.
- Herbs & Spices: Parsley, dill, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, sea salt.
- Avocado Oil: The oil is blended with spices and herbs to make it easier to combine everything with the filling.
- Feta Cheese: A deliciously briny, creamy, cheesy addition to top it all off!
- For the Sauce: Tomato paste, chili pepper paste (also known as red pepper paste), water, and salt.
How to Make Stuffed Zucchini
Step 1: Use a fork to scrap the sides. This will help create a beautiful look.
Step 2: Cut the zucchini in 1 inch rounds and use a small spoon to scoop out the inside. Do not discard the flesh and seeds! You want to keep about ¼ inch of the walls so they won’t fall apart.
Step 3: In a food processor, blend the onion, scooped-out zucchini flesh, and water.
Step 4: In a large bowl, add the ground beef, chopped herbs, the onion and zucchini mixture, along with cumin, avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.
Step 6: Pour the tomato sauce over the zucchini and then bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.
Serve with feta cheese and garnish with extra dill or parsley and enjoy!
Tips & Substitutions
- Peeling is optional. I do peel mine, especially when I use my garden zucchini as the skin is quite thick and bitter, but if you’re using store-bought zucchini that isn’t quite so large, you don’t need to peel it.
- Use yellow summer squash instead! This recipe can be used for stuffed yellow squash as well. They’re very similar and both are super tasty.
- If you prefer to melt your cheese in the oven, feel free. You can stick with feta, or use something like cheddar, mozzarella, or provolone.
- I love switching up the filling and using up what I’ve got in the fridge already. Fill zucchini with leftover chili or taco meat if you have it. Have some tasty salsa you’ve just made? Use that!
- Make a vegetarian version by swapping the ground meat with crumbled tofu, chopped mushrooms, or black beans.
What to Serve with Stuffed Zucchini
Stuffed zucchini rounds are filling and satisfying all on their own. They come complete with protein, and veggies, and they’re naturally low-carb!
Of course, if you weren’t worried about keeping it low-carb, a side of mashed potatoes is always a good idea!
Can you Freeze Leftover Stuffed Zucchini?
You can keep leftover stuffed zucchini in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge, however, I don’t recommend freezing them.
Thawed zucchini gets pretty mushy!
- 3 large zucchinis washed and lightly peeled
- 1 medium onion cut into big chunks
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 lb ground beef or breakfast sausage
- 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dill finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup Feta cheese crumbled
- Preheat oven to 350F. Scratch zucchini with fork. Cut into 1 inch rings. Carefully carve inside out using a spoon (we will use the carved out zucchini in the next step).
- Into a blender add onion, carved out zucchini and water, Blend until smooth.
- Into a large bowl, add ground beef, blended onion with zucchini, parsley, dill, cumin, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper and avocado oil. Mix everything using your hands (I like to use gloves when mixing meat with my hands).
- Set zucchini rings in baking pan (or oven safe skillet). Fill zucchini with filling. Pour tomato sauce over zucchini.
- Bake for 45 minutes uncovered, or until zucchini and filling is cooked thru. Garnish with feta cheese and dill. Serve with mashed potatoes. Enjoy!
- To make Tomato Sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a big cup, stir until everything is combined.
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