I've mentioned these zucchini boats in my weekly meal plans a few weeks ago, and they are always a hit in our house. I based the recipe off of another family favorite: Sloppy Joe Pizza. In fact, any extra filling would be amazing baked onto a pizza. Or you can top nachos with it. Or tossed into pasta for a southwestern-style cheeseburger macaroni. Double the filling recipe and use leftovers as a base for homemade chili, and the possibilities go on...
I start this recipe with my own Tex Mex Spice Blend, which is a great seasoning blend for these zucchini boats, or tacos and fajitas. Hollow out halved zucchini, removing the seeds, to make plenty of room for the meaty filling. Top these generously with your favorite shredded cheese, and bake for 12 minutes for the zucchini to soften and the cheese to get bubbly and golden on top.
My kids, who won't eat zucchini raw, steamed, or sautéed, eat these boats right up! Maybe it's that the juices from the meat get into the zucchini, or maybe its the fact that they are covered in cheese. In the summertime when our garden is bursting with zucchini, they actually request that I make this dish.
Tex Mex Zucchini Boats
Makes 4 servings (see printable recipe)
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 yellow onion, small dice
- 1 red bell pepper, small dice
- 1 green bell pepper, small dice
- 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
- 2 Tbsp Tex Mex Spice Blend
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 c shredded cheese (optional)
- Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Sauté onions and peppers in 2 Tbsp oil until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes) and push to side of pan.
- Break up ground meat and brown in the same pan.
- Once browned, add seasoning, tomato paste, and water. Stir together and turn heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat.
- While meat is simmering, prepare the zucchini. Cut of the ends of the zucchini, then halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, hollow out the seeds and flesh to make a boat. Try not to create a hole in the bottom of the zucchini. Lay out on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Fill each boat generously with cooked meat mixture. Top with cheese (if using).
- Bake for about 12 minutes, until zucchini are softened and cheese is melted and starting to brown.
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