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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. Aibrean — 11/30/10 @ 1:50 pm
  2. Zareen Fidlon — 11/30/10 @ 1:50 pm

    I love to make zucchini bread or muffins. In the summertime though, one of my favorites is grilled zucchini with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.

  3. Lizzie — 11/30/10 @ 1:51 pm

    Mmmm, zucchini!! I like to slice it thinly, lightly roast it with olive oil, Italian herbs and garlic, top with Parmesan, and eat like pasta!

  4. Charles McWittig — 11/30/10 @ 1:53 pm

    Zucchini flax bread. Moist and delicious.

  5. aysegul — 11/30/10 @ 1:53 pm

    Fried Zucchini topped with homemade yogurt & garlic sauce!

  6. One of my favorites is Ina Garten’s zucchini pancakes which I will be making tomorrow night for the first night of Chanukah.

  7. pat zachary — 11/30/10 @ 1:55 pm

    while zuchini bread and cakes are great as well as stuffed zucchini my favorite is just coated with olive oil garlic and seasonings and grilled over an open flame. yum

  8. Jenentonic — 11/30/10 @ 1:55 pm

    Cheezy zucchini shreds…grate it, stir fry in some butter and add some cream cheese and s/p. Delish!!

  9. Liz Cross — 11/30/10 @ 1:55 pm

    Zucchini cut, wrapped in aluminum foil packs with cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, rosemary and a bit of butter or olive oil on the grill! One of my favorite summer side dishes.

    I also love dilled zucchini – fixed in a skillet

    3 medium zucchini, cut like french fries
    butter or margarine, melted
    dill weed (the more the better!)
    Salt and pepper

  10. Sarah — 11/30/10 @ 1:56 pm

    I love zucchini bread with a lot of cinnamon. But in the summertime, zucchini is also fab cooked in a packet on the grill with olive oil, garlic and a bit of sea salt and pepper.

  11. Gary — 11/30/10 @ 1:58 pm

    Roasted, then sliced and tossed with some pasta. Drizzle olive oil and done!

  12. John — 11/30/10 @ 1:58 pm

    I put Zucchini slices drizzled with olive oil on pizza all summer long, but my favorite zucchini dish is the old staple – Ratatouille.

  13. Eric J — 11/30/10 @ 1:58 pm

    My favorite zucchini recipe would probably be zucchini nachos which my wife made last night!

  14. Rebecca — 11/30/10 @ 2:01 pm

    My favorite zucchini dish remains the zucchini patties my Dad made for me when I was a kid!

  15. Rebecca — 11/30/10 @ 2:01 pm

    I tweeted! (my Twitter handle is @foodiewithfam)

  16. Karen — 11/30/10 @ 2:01 pm

    I love giveaways and I love taking pictures and I love zucchini coated in panko and baked in the oven!

  17. Zoe — 11/30/10 @ 2:03 pm

    I’d have to say this amazing Tortilla Soup recipe chock full of zucchini!!


  18. kim bird — 11/30/10 @ 2:05 pm

    How wonderful, an awesome recipe & a free lens!

  19. Liz — 11/30/10 @ 2:05 pm

    My fave zucchini is a casserole — Zucchini Italiano — with layers of zucchini, onions, tomatoes and of course plenty of Italian seasoning, topped with bread crumbs, dots of butter and Parmesan, then baked till browned and bubbly. Recipe to follow when I find it :)

  20. Louisa — 11/30/10 @ 2:06 pm

    Hmm, my favourite zucchini recipe would definitely have to be in cake… it’s the best!! But I think I’m going to be trying these zucchini boats next.

  21. Yazmena — 11/30/10 @ 2:06 pm

    Mmmmm I LOVE zucchini especially pickled, or in a quick bread or cut into thin strips and used as a substitute for pasta. Drool.

  22. Danielle Daniels — 11/30/10 @ 2:08 pm

    I’m not a huge zucchini fan but it is tasty mixed with other veggies in pasta. :-)

  23. kathy pease — 11/30/10 @ 2:09 pm

    i love this recipe for Grilled Zucchini with Fresh Mozzarella


  24. Elisa — 11/30/10 @ 2:09 pm

    I will put the fresh zuccini into the curry soup and add colored bell pepper, green onion – meat is optional. Stop the cooking process while everything still crunchy.

  25. Amy Viny — 11/30/10 @ 2:10 pm

    Love zucchini pancakes. Just shred mix with a little egg and flour to bind and shallow fry in canola oil.

  26. I love zucchini and goat cheese pasta. Yum!

  27. Rebecca Holland — 11/30/10 @ 2:21 pm

    Sauté garlic & sausage with onion. Add zucchini & whole tomatoes. Serve with artisan bread! Our summer favorite!

  28. Paul — 11/30/10 @ 2:25 pm

    I like grilled zucchini with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  29. Valerie Johnson — 11/30/10 @ 2:26 pm

    Pretty much anyway you can make it. Bread for sure and grilled too!

  30. Denisse Hernandez — 11/30/10 @ 2:28 pm

    My favorite zucchini dish is the Zucchini lasagna OMG is so delish. In my house is so hard to feed vegetables, but when I make the zucchini lasagna, cut them very thing my son doesn’t even notice. Of course flavor is great, with homemade tomato sauce and good parmesan cheese and mozzarella. Mummy!!

  31. Jules — 11/30/10 @ 2:30 pm

    My favorite zucchini recipe is a simple one, fried zucchini (my boyfriend’s family calls them space cookies).

    The usual, flour, egg, then some italian breadcrumbs, deep fry, sprinkle with grated parmasean salt and pepper. Yum!

  32. leslie — 11/30/10 @ 2:34 pm

    oooh! my fave way to eat zucchini is stir fried with shitake mushrooms and oyster sauce over chinese crispy noodles!! it’s agreat vegetarian dish and soooooo good !!! (ps: you gotta make a little sauce too to pour over the noodles-YUMMM!)

  33. Jules — 11/30/10 @ 2:35 pm
  34. Emily Davids — 11/30/10 @ 2:36 pm

    I looove grilled zucchini! Slice zuke lengthwise 1/4″-1/2″ thick. Marinate in olive oil (or any oil good for grilling), soy, garlic, salt and pepper…you can really use any spice combo, etc. Grill ‘em up! Yum!

  35. Dragana — 11/30/10 @ 2:37 pm

    I’m taking a photography course starting in January and this would be a luverly addition to my equipment!!!
    My favorite way to eat zucchini is stuffed the way my mom makes it. Hollow out the pulp, mix it with ground meat, onion, spices and stuff. Cook in a thick tomato based broth – excellent!

  36. Tessa — 11/30/10 @ 2:38 pm

    My fiance’s late mother made a scrumptious zucchini bread. It was so moist and delicious. I use a 35mm to take my food pix right now, but would love a more versatile lens. I could use it to take a picture of my own try at zucchini bread!

  37. Food Lover Kathy — 11/30/10 @ 2:42 pm

    Here’s the URL to my RT of the contest: http://twitter.com/foodloverkathy/statuses/9663473201979392

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  38. Kendra — 11/30/10 @ 2:42 pm

    My favorite recipe is zucchini cake actually! the lens would be so great to have :)

  39. Heather — 11/30/10 @ 1:44 pm

    my favorite zucchini dish recently is this: http://mamaheada.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-cookin-mama-zucchini-beef-pasta.html

    or just plain sauteeing it up in olive oil, kosher salt, garlic and pepper

  40. Someguy — 11/30/10 @ 2:49 pm

    I like my zucchini simple… Just grilled with salt and pepper

  41. Ashley Rebecca — 11/30/10 @ 2:50 pm

    My favorite Zucchini dish is Mediterranean Zucchini Spread.. try it out – you can eat it alone or with Zucchini Bread!

    Mediterranean Zucchini Spread
    3 Zucchini, cut in half
    1 onion
    3 cloves garlic
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub zucchini and onion with olive oil and place on baking sheet. Bake about 25-30 minutes, until both have softened, turning once. About 15 minutes into the cooking time, add garlic to sheet.
    Remove from oven, and cool just enough to be able to handle. Place zucchini into a food processor. Cut onion into chunks and add to processor with garlic. Process until desired consistency. Add oil, vinegar, lemon juice, parmesan, salt and pepper. Pulse until well mixed. Add cilantro and briefly pulse. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve warm or cold.

  42. Lisa D. — 11/30/10 @ 3:09 pm

    I love these Turkish Zucchini Fritters with garlic yogurt sauce.


    Thank you for the giveaway!

  43. Lisa D. — 11/30/10 @ 3:13 pm
  44. Tom — 11/30/10 @ 3:14 pm

    Grilled Zucchini

    Thinly slice fresh zucchini. Sprinkle with olive oil, add minced garlic and shallots. Sprinkle Borsari original over all ingredients. Transfer to grill pan and lightly sautee over hot coals.

  45. Cecilia — 11/30/10 @ 3:16 pm

    I love chocolate zucchini bread, but also love stuffed zucchinis!

  46. Elis — 11/30/10 @ 3:16 pm

    I like my zucchini plain & simple, roasted with garlic.