Rating: 4.73 stars
11 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0

Zucchini is not very exciting, interesting, or fun to eat, which is basically the opposite of a taco. But what we're going to do here is use the same filling used to make tacos to stuff zucchini and turn something that's generally unremarkable into something that is incredibly remarkable. This isn't some kind of low-carb substitute gimmick--these really were amazing. Serve topped with diced tomato, green onions, sour cream, and cilantro, or any toppings you prefer.

Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
40 mins
additional:
15 mins
total:
1 hr 25 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 zucchini boats
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Taco Meat Stuffing:
For the Rest:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Combine olive oil, onion, and ground beef in a skillet over high heat. Cook, stirring, until onion turns translucent and the beef is browned and broken up into very small pieces, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, cumin, dried oregano, cornmeal, and black pepper. Cook for 1 minute more.

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  • Stir in tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens to your desired texture, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

  • Use a teaspoon or melon baller to scoop out about half the center of each zucchini to create a "boat." Sprinkle generously with remaining kosher salt and let sit, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner.

  • Use a paper towel to blot any moisture that the salt draws out of the zucchini. Place boats on the prepared baking sheet and fill each one with as much taco meat mixture as will fit. Top evenly with pepper Jack cheese.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is browned and the zucchini is just barely tender, about 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a sharp knife. Serve immediately.

Chef's Notes:

You can substitute any kind of pepper you like for the jalapeno or cook this with no pepper. Feel free to add corn, beans, or both to the taco meat mixture.

If you are concerned with salt content, you can rinse the zucchini under cold water before drying, but I don't, since the squash is bland and needs to be well seasoned.

You can cook these for less time if you prefer a firmer zucchini texture.

Nutrition Facts

263 calories; protein 17.7g; carbohydrates 11.1g; fat 17.1g; cholesterol 62mg; sodium 731.4mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (5)

11 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
10/28/2020
Excellent ! Loved how easy they were to make and my husband loved eating it. Will definitely make them again. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
09/13/2020
Another hit from Chef John. Made this exactly as written and everyone loved it. I was careful to check the zucchini for doneness several times with a knife point as I loathe mushy vegetables. Pretty on the plate, too. Served with a salad on the side. Will definitely make again. Thanks Chef! Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
09/18/2020
Will make it again. Kids liked it and were surprised (expecting the worst usually helps). Didn't sub anything. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/11/2020
I made this last night but had to substitute 93% Lean Ground Turkey for the Ground Beef. It still turned out delicious and we couldn't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
09/19/2020
Will be making this again and again. Hubby loved it! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
05/05/2021
These were great! Excellent combination of the zuchinni with the taco filling. Will definitely make again!! Thanks Chef John! Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
10/11/2020
Delicious Read More
Rating: 5 stars
09/25/2020
I don't agree with Chef John that zucchini is not very exciting or fun to eat. I think it is one of the great veggies of summer. I'm also a big fan of tacos. Therefore I fully expected to like this recpice. And I did. I make stuffed zucchinis a few times a year but usually with Mediterranean inspired stuffing using rice or potatoes, feta or fresh mozarella and pine nuts. Zucchini and ground beef (or pork) is always a great combo and this one is no exception. The taco seasoning and slight heat works great with this versatile veggie. My only swap was the cheese. I used a mild cheddar because Pepper Jack does not exist where I live. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2020
I didn’t have any jalapeños so I added a little extra chili powder but otherwise made it exactly as noted. Very tasty and a great way to add a vegetable. Absolutely will make again! Read More