I fill my vegetarian stuffed zucchini with…zucchini! Along with black beans, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, and plenty of cheese for a simplified stuffed vegetable recipe everyone will love. While this recipe is especially fun with round, globe varieties, zucchini boats are excellent as well!
How is summer treating you? Melted yet? 😉
This is the time of year I’m so happy I have central air but I also NEED to enjoy all that fresh produce! Which makes me very happy to share today’s recipe.
I know it’s hot, but bear with me because I have a baked stuffed zucchini recipe for you today. You can use yellow or green, round globe or the standard long, cylindrical squashes, but you will have to turn on the oven.
I promise you it’s worth it though! This stuffed squash is the perfect mid-summer recipe, using some of that summer bounty along with ripe tomatoes, green onions, black beans, cilantro, and just enough cheese to keep things interesting.
How to Make this
To make vegetarian stuffed zucchini, scoop out the inside of a zucchini then bake until tender. Make a filling using the scooped out squash, black beans, tomatoes, spices, and cheese. Fill the vegetables and bake until the cheese is melted.
This recipe is not difficult, but it does have a few steps so I’ll walk you through them here.
1. Scoop out the squash
If you are using a (standard) oblong zucchini, cut it in half down the middle to make two boats. If you are using a globe variety, cut off a ‘hat’ and make sure it’s large enough for you to get in there and scoop.
Then scoop it out, with a spoon, melon baller, or cookie scoop (I LOVE my #40 Cookie Scoop – it makes the process so easy!), leaving about 1/4 inch on the walls. Put all the scooped out flesh in a bowl since you will using that as part of the filling!
Tip: Use your fingers to estimate how thick the walls are by holding the zucchini wall between them. I find it helps me find any thick spots.
2. Bake the zucchini
Once you are all prepped, rub them with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with salt. Then pop them in the oven (upside-down so moisture from the squash doesn’t pool in the bottoms) and bake them until they are fairly soft and tender. They can be a little firm, but they won’t cook much more when you stuff them so you want them basically soft enough to eat right now.
3. Cook it down
You are going to have a fair amount of scooped out squash, but most of that is water! Chop it up and then start simmering it in a skillet. All that water is going to cook out and evaporate, leaving a much smaller amount of squash which is much more flavorful since it has been concentrated down.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to let it brown a little! You want as much water as possible cooked out or your filling be watery.
4. Make the vegetarian filling
Add your garlic, your chipotle and adobo sauce, and your black beans to the skillet. Get it all warmed through so it has a head start in the oven. Then mix in the scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, and shredded cheese.
Fill each zucchini and top with a little more cheese and then back in the oven they go. Bake until the cheese is melty and then eat!
Tip: Globe squash are great when you are having this as main course since each one is fairly filling. (along with a salad or soup) Oblong zucchinis can work as a main – 2 boats per person – or as a side – one boat per person.
What to serve along side?
If you want to keep the vegetarian theme going, great choices would be to have either a cold soup or a summer salad. Either would match well and need little or no cooking.
- Tomato and Burrata Caprese Salad
- Raspberry Salad with Mixed Greens and Oranges
- Peach and Blueberry Spinach Salad
If you try my recipe for Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Vegetarian Mexican Stuffed Zucchini
- 4 medium zucchini, or summer squash
- olive oil and kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
- 1 tbsp adobo sauce
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 6 oz cheddar cheese, shredded: 4 oz for the filling and 2 oz to top the squash
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley
- 2 scallions, sliced
- Heat oven to 400F.
- If using globe squash, cut off a good sized lid from the top (large enough to get your hand/scoop inside). If using standard shaped squash, cut each in half to make two boats.
- Take your squash and scoop out the flesh until the sides are about 1/4 inch thick all around. Reserve the scooped out flesh in a bowl. Continue until you have prepared all 4 zucchini.
- Rub each zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with some kosher salt.
- Place them cut side down in a baking dish and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until they are rather soft and wrinkled.
- While you are baking, prepare the filling.
- Chop up the reserved scooped out flesh into small pieces.
- In a nonstick skillet, combine the chopped zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let it cook down until the water is evaporated and everything is just starting to brown.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the black beans, minced chipotle pepper, and adobe sauce. Cook together until the beans are warmed through, 3-4 minutes.
- Take the skillet off the heat and add the tomatoes, 4 oz of cheddar cheese, cilantro, and scallions. Mix together.
- Fill the baked squash with the black bean filling, portioning it out evenly. Top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Zucchini: If you find globe (or round) summer squash, pick them up and use them in the recipe. (Because they are fun and nicely shaped for stuffing!) However, standard shaped squashes are much easier to find and work well as stuffed boats.
- Cookie Scoop: A #40 disher (aka cookie scoop) makes scooping out the flesh easy and quick.
- Cooking the Squash: Make sure you cook the diced squash you scooped out until as much of the liquid has evaporated as possible. It should be at the point where it is beginning to brown.
- Extra Stuffing: If you have extra stuffing, you can put it in a small baking dish or ramekin and bake it alongside the squash.
- Chipotle: Feel free to add more or less of the chipotle and adobo depending on how spicy you like your food. I've aimed for some spice but for it to be more of a supporting flavor than the main flavor.
- Servings: This recipe serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side (if using zucchini boats).
- Make Ahead: You can bake the squash and make the filling through step 10 a day ahead. Warm the squash in the oven for a few minutes and bring the filling back to a simmer before finishing and baking.