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Stuffed zucchini boats make a tasty meal boasting south-of-the-border flavors in every bite. Fresh zucchini is filled with a garlicky beef mixture and the recipe also features cheese, onion, tomatoes, and more for a wonderful result. Not only are taco stuffed zucchini boats delicious but they also look like little boats which only adds to their appeal. And they make a tasty change from stuffed peppers!

Taco stuffed zucchini boats filled with meat and cheese.

These taco stuffed zucchini boats look and taste delicious. The spiced garlic beef filling sits in the succulent zucchini taco boats for a cute presentation.

If you love this popular type of squash, you might also want to try making zucchini muffins, blueberry zucchini muffins, or one of these other tempting zucchini recipes!

Taco stuffed zucchini boats with meat and cheese on a plate.

Why You’ll Love This

Simple: There’s nothing complicated about taco zucchini boats. In fact the recipe is really easy. Make the beef mixture, scoop out the zucchini boats, then simply stuff and bake!
Tasty: You just can’t go wrong combining classic Tex-Mex flavors with beef and zucchini. The flavor is well-balanced and as spicy (or mild) as you personally prefer.
Kid-friendly: Tone down the spices and this becomes a brand new favorite for the little ones. They will enjoy the boat-like appearance and gobble up their zucchini without complaint!

A plate of taco stuffed zucchini boats on a table.

Zucchini Taco Boats Recipe Ingredients

A complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below

Zucchini: Use 2 big ones or 3 smaller ones. You can even use eggplant or bell pepper instead if you prefer.
Ground beef: A nice meaty option, although ground chicken, lamb or pork would work in its place.
Onion: A staple ingredient because it’s tasty with the beef. Yellow onion is good but red, white or even shallots would work too.
Minced garlic: Not only does this keep the vampires away, it also adds a delicious flavor. Of course, you can omit it if you want.
Fire-roasted diced tomatoes: These add moisture as well as flavor. Plain tomatoes work almost as well as fire-roasted.
Taco seasoning: It’s easiest to add a taco flavor with a package of taco seasoning, but you could also use your own mix.
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese: Cheese finishes off the taco stuffed zucchini boats perfectly, adding a contrasting flavor and texture. Try gouda, Swiss, a Mexican blend or anything else if you want to experiment. You can also just grab a block of cheese and shred your own.
Chopped fresh parsley: This is a garnish and adds color. Feel free to sub cilantro, basil or another fresh herb in its place.

The ingredients for a taco stuffed zucchini boat are laid out on a table.

How to Make Taco Stuffed Zucchini

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card
Prepare the zucchini boats: Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle.
Cook the beef: Sauté the ground beef in olive oil, breaking it up as it cooks.
Add more ingredients: Add the onions and garlic and cook, then add the tomatoes and seasonings and cook some more.
Assemble the zucchini boats: Put the zucchini halves on a greased baking sheet and spoon the beef mixture into it.
Cook the stuffed zucchini boats: Bake in a preheated oven, adding cheese on top for the final 5 minutes of cooking time.
The finishing touches: Garnish with parsley, then serve hot.

A skillet full of taco stuffed zucchini boats with meat and spices.
Taco stuffed zucchini boats on a white plate.

Substitutions and Variations

The veggies: You can use eggplant, bell pepper or even potatoes as the “boat” if you want to get creative.
Meat and meat alternatives: Any kind of ground meat or vegetarian meat alternative works here. Ground turkey, chicken, pork or another kind of minced meat would be good.
Spice it up: Swap the store-bought taco seasoning for your own mix if you want to.
Tweak the tomatoes: You can use any flavor of canned tomatoes or else use fresh tomatoes with either a splash of tomato juice or beef/vegetable bouillon instead.
Cut the cheese: Feel free to reduce the amount of shredded cheese or even omit shredded cheese altogether.
Optional additions: If you want to spice things up, add some hot sauce, red pepper flakes or chili powder to the beef filling.

A plate of taco stuffed zucchini boats on a table.

Serving Suggestions

Appetizer: Shrimp ceviche makes a great starter for your Mexican inspired meal.
Side dish: Unless you’re making this as a low carb dinner recipe, you’ll want something on the side, such as truffle nacho loaded fries. Another appealing option is street corn kale salad which is seriously good!
Condiments: Sour cream, extra shredded cheese or even avocado slices are nice on the side. A bottle of hot sauce on the table is also good for those who want to add extra heat!
Dessert: Continue the south of the border theme with this delicious Mexican rice pudding. Fancy something different? You’re sure to find something tasty in this collection of strawberry desserts.

A plate of zucchini boats stuffed with meat and cheese.

How to Store Zucchini Taco Boats

Store: Although these are best served fresh, if you do have leftovers keep them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Freeze: Freezing the taco zucchini boats means they’ll be soggy when thawed. However, you can freeze the meat mixture without the zucchini for up to 3 months.
Thaw: It’s best to defrost the taco zucchini boats in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Reheat: Microwave the leftovers to warm them back up or pop them in a hot oven until warmed through.

A plate of taco stuffed zucchini boats with meat and cheese.

Top Tips

Fresh is best: The fresher your ingredients, the better the outcome. Take care choosing the best zucchini along with fresh onions, garlic and so on.
Control the spice level: You might be serving this dish to people with different spice level preferences, so it’s best to create the dish mild and offer hot sauce at the table. That way, everyone gets their taco zucchini boats their preferred way. Spice fans can liven theirs up while mild food fans can swerve the hot sauce!
Use a large skillet: If in doubt, size up. You’ll be stirring the filling as it cooks, so use a large skillet or pan so you can stir without spilling anything over the pan sides.

A tray of taco stuffed zucchini boats filled with meat and cheese.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats FAQs

Can you make these zucchini boats ahead?

Yes, you can make the beef filling in advance and keep it refrigerated and then just assemble the zucchini boats when you’re ready to bake them.

Is there a vegetarian or vegan version?

Swap the ground beef for your favorite vegetarian protein or sub something ‘meaty’ like mushrooms or jackfruit for a vegan result. You can also use vegetarian or vegan-friendly ‘cheese’ to top the delicious stuffed zucchini boats.

A plate of taco stuffed zucchini boats on a marble surface.
Taco stuffed zucchini boats filled with meat and cheese.

Tasty Taco Zucchini Boats Recipe

5 from 47 votes

Taco Stuffed Zucchini

By: Bella Bucchiotti
Taco stuffed zucchini boats offer a little of everything – nutrition, meat, veggies, a pop of Mexican seasoning, and of course a tasty meal!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • Zucchini, 2 large or 3 small
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Can diced tomatoes, fire-roasted
  • 1 Package taco seasoning, 1.25-ounce package or homemade
  • ½ Teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish or a rimmed sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Cut each zucchini in half horizontally and scoop out the center of the zucchini. Save the extra zucchini for another recipe.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, breaking up the beef as it cooks. Drain excess fat.
  • Add onions and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Place zucchini in a single layer, skin-side down, onto the prepared baking dish. Add beef mixture to each zucchini.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 482kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1269mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1226IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 262mg | Iron: 4mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Taco zucchini boats are a great idea. They’re easy to make, cute and delicious! The combination of meat, veggies, cheese, and Mexican seasonings ensures this is a dinner everyone is going to love. This is going to become part of your weekly meal rotation, and it’s a great recipe to tweak and experiment with. Swap the Mexican flavors for Italian ones, the zucchini for eggplant or come up with your own interpretation of the dish.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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