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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini

There are a gazillion things to do with zucchini, but making stuffed zucchini boats are has got to be the most fun way to eat, and that’s by unanimous vote from all members of the family.

This recipe, ripped out from Family Circle magazine, has been tacked on my refrigerator for a few weeks and I finally got around to giving it a whirl. For our family of 4, we served these as the main course and threw in a salad to round out the meal. The raisins, cinnamon and pine nuts are what gives it a Middle Eastern slant. Substitute ground turkey or lean ground pork for the chicken (but pssst…the ground chicken is really good!)

How to Make Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

First things first, you’ve got to make the boat. Slice each zucchini in half, lengthwise. Use a teaspoon and start at the big end of the zucchini. Carefully dig your spoon in without piercing the skin.

Now turn your wrist as if you were using a melon baller and scoop out just one section.

It should look like this.

Continue doing one scoop at a time – be gentle and don’t worry about scooping every single bit out – just a good chunk of flesh. Don’t worry about it being even either, we’ll take care of that later.

scooping out

Make sure you leave about 1/4″ of space all around. Careful not to go through the skin, otherwise your zucchini boat will sink (well not really, but….)

leave 1/4 inch

I’ve scooped 4 times. Now it’s time to make the zucchini boat even.

Hold the zucchini boat and turn the spoon over and gently scrape to even out the hollow. Scrape out all the seeds.

It should look like this.

The key to this dish is to first microwave the zucchini with some water until it’s almost cooked through. I used a glass Pyrex dish – microwave and oven safe so that i don’t have to transfer dishes.

Cover with plastic wrap, leave an opening and microwave.

In the meantime, saute the bell peppers, onion, garlic, ground chicken. Add the cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Don’t forget the raisins.

And of course the cheese. The cheese helps the mixture stick together as well as give it a great flavor.

Mix it all around and now the stuffing is done.

Fill the cooked zucchini with the stuffing.

Oh yum. Can you smell that?

Top with pine nuts and bake for 10 minutes.

Please promise me you’ll make this recipe!?? You’ll love it. It’s fun to eat (my kids just picked up the entire boat and ate by hand), savory from the cheese and chicken, sweet from the raisins and nutty from the pine nuts.


Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

Servings: Serves 4 as main dish, 8 as side dish Prep Time: 10 Cook Time: 30

Recipe adapted from Family Circle, August 2010 Issue


4 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium-size onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts


1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, carefully scoop out flesh and seeds, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell around edges. Discard flesh and seeds.

2. Place half of the zucchini, cut-side down, in an 11 x 7 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Add 1/2 cup water and cover with plastic wrap, venting one corner. Microwave 4 minutes. Place cooked zucchini in a large baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crumble in chicken. Stir in raisins, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in cheese.

4. Fill each zucchini half with about 1/3 cup stuffing, then sprinkle the pine nuts over tops. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked through.

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Tamron.

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This is a great travel and food lens – because you can take a panoramic shot of the beach as well as closeup shots like the zucchini (take a look at the 2nd shot of finished dish).

The Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Lens also has built-in vibration compensation – no tripod was used for the final shot, though I did use a tripod in the kitchen (I only have 2 hands!)

There’s a lens for Canon as well as Nikon and retails for $629, but there’s currently a $150 rebate so you can grab this baby for $479. More info on the lens at Tamron’s site.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED — Congrats to Taylor of Taylor Made!

1,214 Responses to “Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini”

  1. Priscilla — 12/1/10 @ 1:58 am

    I tweeted! @vegan79



  2. R Hicks — 12/1/10 @ 2:08 am

    My favorite is cheesy zucchini dish

    ardy22 at earthlink dot net

  3. R Hicks — 12/1/10 @ 2:10 am



    ardy22 at earthlink dot net

  4. Lindsay — 12/1/10 @ 2:12 am

    I love Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Yum. This is a super yummy recipe: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/08/chocolate-zucchini-bread.html

  5. Chrysa — 12/1/10 @ 2:12 am

    I simply like to sautée it in olive oil with garlic, thinly sliced onions and red peppers. YUM!

  6. Carrie M — 12/1/10 @ 3:02 am

    My husband is not a big zucchini fan so I do not make it as much as I would like to. I really like fried zucchini strips dipped in a cucumber ranch dressing. They are so good and so easy to make, slice, batter and fry YUM!!!!

  7. Geoff K — 12/1/10 @ 3:10 am

    I’ve always loved zucchini bread, and one of my favorite recipes for it actually came from a vegan friend of mine – I was shocked how fluffy and delicious it turned out even without eggs!

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons flax seeds
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
    1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9×5 inch loaf pans. Whisk together the flour, flax seeds, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and arrowroot in a bowl until evenly blended; set aside.
    2. Whisk together the applesauce, white sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture and shredded zucchini until moistened. Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans.
    3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.


  8. heather c — 12/1/10 @ 3:22 am

    There’s a restaurant in a place I used to live that sold fried zucchini with a ranch-type dipping sauce. I actually craved it when I was pregnant. Well, I still crave it. haha!

  9. Veronica Garrett — 12/1/10 @ 3:54 am

    Baked Zucchini with Parmesan Cheese is my favorite recipe.

  10. KBold1110 — 12/1/10 @ 4:28 am

    Zucchini fresh out the garden off the vines, so sweet and tender. Cut it up and eat fresh.

    Also, in a gratin or sliced and saute with EVOO, salt & fresh cracked pepper.

    I don’t like to complicate the natural flavor of the zuke :)

  11. Cru — 12/1/10 @ 5:01 am

    Fried zucchini with garlic-dill yogurt sause. Just cut the zucchini into rounds, dip them into flour and fry. Serve them warm with some yogurt mixed with mashed garlic, chopped dill and salt.
    Also zucchini fritters with feta cheese served with the same sause.

  12. vivian — 12/1/10 @ 7:08 am

    zucchin bread ty.