Taco stuffed zucchini boats are a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional tacos.
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Baked Taco Stuffed Zucchinis
In this recipe, fresh zucchini is hollowed out and filled with a flavorful mixture of seasoned ground meat (such as beef or turkey), black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and spices.
Topped with melted cheese and baked to perfection, these zucchini boats offer a satisfying and low-carb option that still captures the essence of a classic taco. They are not only visually appealing but also packed with nutrients, making them a perfect choice for a wholesome and flavorful meal.
How to Make Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats
To make this recipe, you'll need the following ingredients:
- Zucchinis: The zucchinis serve as the base for the stuffed boats. They have a mild flavor that becomes tender and slightly sweet when cooked. The zucchinis provide a fresh and nutritious element to the dish.
- Ground Beef: The ground beef adds richness and a savory meaty taste to the filling. It is the primary protein source in the dish and provides a hearty and satisfying component.
- Taco Seasoning: The taco seasoning is a blend of various spices such as chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and paprika. It infuses the ground beef with a robust and flavorful profile, reminiscent of traditional taco seasoning. It adds depth, heat, and an overall Mexican-inspired taste.
- Green Chile Enchilada Sauce: The green chile enchilada sauce brings a tangy and slightly spicy flavor to the dish. It adds moisture and coats the ground beef, enhancing its taste while contributing a zesty and aromatic element.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese: The shredded cheddar cheese melts and becomes gooey, providing a creamy and slightly tangy flavor to the stuffed zucchinis. It adds richness, depth, and a delightful contrast to the other ingredients.
- Sliced Jalapeños: Sliced jalapeños are used as a garnish to add a touch of heat and vibrant flavor to the dish. They contribute a spicy kick that can be adjusted based on personal preference.
Once you've gathered your ingredients, you will use the following process:
- Prep. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise. Using a spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of each zucchini half, creating a boat-like cavity. Reserve the scooped-out zucchini flesh for another use or add it to the filling. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat. Add the taco seasoning and stir to coat the meat evenly. Pour ¼ cup green chile sauce in the bottom of casserole dish to prevent zucchini from sticking to bottom of pan. Stir rest in taco mixture, or spoon on top of ground beef after filling into boats. Fill each zucchini boat with the taco meat mixture, dividing it evenly among the boats. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the top of each zucchini boat, covering the meat mixture.
- Bake. Place the stuffed zucchini boats on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Transfer them to the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted and slightly golden.
- Serve. Once cooked, remove the zucchini boats from the oven. Garnish with sliced jalapeños and any other desired toppings, such as sour cream, diced tomatoes, or chopped cilantro. Serve the Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats hot as a main dish. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Zucchini Boats
Choose the right zucchini: Select zucchini that are firm, evenly shaped, and medium-sized for the best results. Avoid zucchini that are too small or too large, as they may affect the overall texture and cooking time.
Properly hollow out the zucchini: Use a spoon or a melon baller to scoop out the center of the zucchini, creating a hollow space to hold the taco filling. Leave a thin layer of zucchini flesh intact to maintain structure and prevent the boats from becoming too fragile.
Precook the zucchini boats: To ensure that the zucchini boats are cooked to perfection and not overly watery, lightly pre-cook them before stuffing. You can either steam them for a few minutes or bake them for a short time in the oven until they are slightly tender.
Season the filling well: Season the ground meat, such as beef or turkey, with a combination of taco seasoning, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. This will ensure that the filling is flavorful and complements the zucchini boats.
Enhance the flavor with vegetables and beans: Add diced onions, bell peppers, corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes to the meat mixture for added texture and flavor. These ingredients bring freshness and vibrancy to the stuffed zucchini boats.
Don't overstuff: While it's tempting to stuff the zucchini boats generously, be mindful not to overfill them. Overstuffing can lead to uneven cooking and difficulties in handling the boats. Fill them to about ¾ full, allowing room for the filling to expand while baking.
Bake at the right temperature and time: Bake the stuffed zucchini boats at around 375°F (190°C) for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the filling is cooked through. Be cautious not to overbake, as the zucchini boats can become too soft.
Garnish and serve creatively: Once the zucchini boats are out of the oven, garnish them with your favorite toppings like chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, sour cream, or a squeeze of lime juice. These finishing touches add brightness and extra flavor to the dish.
Absolutely! While the recipe often calls for ground beef or turkey, you can use other meats such as ground chicken or pork as alternatives. Adjust the seasoning accordingly to complement the chosen meat.
Yes, you can easily adapt the recipe to be vegetarian or vegan. Replace the meat with plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu or cooked quinoa. Additionally, use vegan cheese or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.
To prevent excess water in the zucchini boats, lightly salt the scooped-out zucchini halves and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. Then pat them dry with paper towels before filling. Precooking the zucchini boats slightly can also help reduce water content.
Yes, you can prepare the filling ahead of time to save time on the day of serving. Simply cook the filling mixture, let it cool, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to use, fill the zucchini boats and bake as directed.
Stuffed zucchini boats can be frozen, although the texture of the zucchini may change slightly upon thawing. It's best to freeze them before baking. Place the filled zucchini boats on a baking sheet in the freezer until solid, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
If you prefer a spicier filling, you can add additional spices or ingredients like diced jalapeños, crushed red pepper flakes, or hot sauce. Adjust the amount according to your desired level of heat.
Absolutely! Toppings are customizable based on personal preference. Feel free to add toppings such as salsa, guacamole, diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, or even a drizzle of hot sauce. Get creative and tailor the toppings to your taste.
Yes, you can experiment with different types of cheese. Popular choices include Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or a Mexican blend. Use your favorite melting cheese or combine different varieties for added flavor.
What to Serve With Taco Stuffed Zucchinis
Pinto Beans: A classic choice, Restaurant Style Instant Pot Pinto Beans provide a rich and savory element that complements the zucchini boats. To kick it up a notch, try our Spicy Garlicky Beans that pack a punch!
Corn Salad: Prepare a refreshing corn salad by combining fresh corn kernels, diced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and chopped cilantro. Toss with lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt for a light and vibrant side dish.
Avocado Salsa: Make a quick and creamy avocado tomatillo salsa by mashing ripe avocados with diced tomatoes, red onions, jalapeños (if desired), tomatillos, lime juice, and salt. It adds a refreshing and tangy element to the meal.
Coleslaw: Serve a crisp and tangy coleslaw on the side. The crunchy cabbage and creamy dressing provide a refreshing contrast to the zucchini boats.
Mexican Street Corn: Grill or roast corn on the cob, brush it with a mixture of mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, and cotija cheese, then serve it alongside the zucchini boats. Mexican street corn offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures.
Tortilla Chips with Salsa or Guacamole: Offer a bowl of tortilla chips with your favorite salsa or green chile guacamole for a tasty and convenient side dish. The chips can be used to scoop up the zucchini boat filling or enjoyed on their own.
Side Salad: Create a simple side salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and a tangy vinaigrette. The fresh and crisp salad adds a light and refreshing component to the meal.
Fresh Fruit: Serve a platter of fresh seasonal fruits, such as watermelon, pineapple, berries, or sliced mango, for a refreshing and naturally sweet side dish.
For more recipes that are delicious with a taco dinner theme, check out our recent favorites below:
Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe
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Cheesy baked zucchini boats stuffed with ground beef tacos and topped with fresh sliced jalapeños!
- 3 zucchinis
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 cup green chile enchilada sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Sliced jalapeños, for garnish
- Optional toppings: sour cream, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise. Using a spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of each zucchini half, creating a boat-like cavity. Reserve the scooped-out zucchini flesh for another use or add it to the filling.
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat. Add the taco seasoning and stir to coat the meat evenly.
- Pour ¼ cup green chile sauce in the bottom of casserole dish to prevent zucchini from sticking to bottom of pan.
- Stir in additional green chile enchilada sauce and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors.
- Fill each zucchini boat with the taco meat mixture, dividing it evenly among the boats.
- Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the top of each zucchini boat, covering the meat mixture.
- Place the stuffed zucchini boats on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Transfer them to the preheated oven.
- Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted and slightly golden.
- Once cooked, remove the zucchini boats from the oven. Garnish with sliced jalapenos and any other desired toppings, such as sour cream, diced tomatoes, or chopped cilantro.
- Serve the Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats hot as a main dish. Enjoy!
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WÜSTHOF Classic 8" Chef's Knife
Bamboo Wood Cutting Board for Kitchen, 1" Thick Butcher Block, Cheese Charcuterie Board, with Side Handles and Juice Grooves, 16x11"
Pyrex Deep 9x13-Inch Glass Baking Dish with Lid, Deep Casserole Dish, Glass Food Container, Oven, Freezer and Microwave Safe, Clear Container
DOWAN Baking Dish, Casserole Dishes for Oven, Lasagna Pan Deep,135 oz Large Ceramic Baking Pan with Handles, 9x13 Baking Dish for Cooking, White
Amount Per Serving Calories 330Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 87mgSodium 526mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 27g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.