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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

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. Diana S. — 11/30/10 @ 3:23 pm

    I love roasted and grilled zucchinis and chocolate chip zucchini bread!

  2. Amie Siemens — 11/30/10 @ 3:24 pm

    I LOOOOOOOOVE fried Zucchini! Even better dipped in ranch dressing. So not good for you thought. I also love to julien zucchini & add it to spaghetti. YUM

  3. Michael — 11/30/10 @ 3:31 pm

    My Mom’s generations-old zucchini bread recipe is guarded more tightly than KFC’s secret spices.

  4. Jill Myrick — 11/30/10 @ 3:47 pm

    My favorite zucchini dish is Zucchini bread.
    But I also have a recipe for Zucchini Soup that is delicious.


  5. Shelley — 11/30/10 @ 3:51 pm

    I love zuchini in soup!

  6. G — 11/30/10 @ 4:10 pm

    I love zucchini lighty salted with some pepper and olive oil on the grill… I’m getting hungry thinking about it!

  7. ravenouscouple — 11/30/10 @ 4:11 pm

    we love a zesty citrus zucchinic crudo, perfect detox for this time of year.

  8. Nena Hinojosa — 11/30/10 @ 4:14 pm

    Love zucchini walnut bread…SO GOOD!!

  9. Jennifer — 11/30/10 @ 4:16 pm

    I’m a purist…I like my zucchini roasted, a little olive oil and salt.

  10. Jeff — 11/30/10 @ 4:17 pm

    Zucchini bread is my favorite!

  11. Shannon — 11/30/10 @ 4:23 pm

    I love Parmesan zucchini!!!

  12. Laurie P. — 11/30/10 @ 4:25 pm

    My fave zucchini dish is zucchini caserole. Yummy :-)

  13. Jaden,
    Great post, and as always, great photos. I’m a lover of zucchini – raw. I just cut it into strips, usually with yellow squash, and just munch on it much the way people do with carrots. A friend of mine loves to put balsamic vinegar and some fresh herbs and grill it, but I can never make it as well as he does.

    I’ll try to make these, and then, tell you what wine I pair :)

  14. Nicole — 11/30/10 @ 5:06 pm

    I love zucchini cake!!! So easy and sooo good!

  15. Rosemary Bliss — 11/30/10 @ 5:36 pm

    I make a summer salad with couscous, chopped zucchini, tomatoes, onions, olives, and capers. Lemon tarragon vinaigrette gives it a light fresh flavor. I also sometimes add a little feta cheese or grilled chicken breast.
    You can substitute rice or orzo pasta for the couscous, add other fresh vegetables such as peppers, cucumbers, etc., and use your favorite vinaigrette.

  16. Erica — 11/30/10 @ 5:40 pm

    Zucchini bread– for breakfast and for dessert. De-licious.

  17. figandfennel — 11/30/10 @ 5:44 pm

    a)lovely lovely blog! glad to have found you!
    b)I love zucchini used in a frittata instead of potatoes!
    c) I will definitely try your stuffed zucc recipe!
    Thanks for the generous giveaway!

  18. figandfennel — 11/30/10 @ 5:45 pm

    Alison Leontaridis
    check out this amazing camera lens giveaway!!! http://ow.ly/3hCXd!

    I tweeted!

  19. Vanessa — 11/30/10 @ 5:50 pm

    found you via the lens give away round up!
    love a good zuc recipe, especially when you get a bumper crop going. my personal favorite way to use up those zucs has to be this one that I posted about over the summer, um hello chocolate goodness!

    Thanks for sharing and fingers crossed!
    omofthenoodle AT yahoo DOT com

  20. Amanda — 11/30/10 @ 5:54 pm

    I’m loving this recipe! It can be quite difficult to sell zucchini to the wretchedly fussy teens in our house. The son has been known to leave the table with it in his pockets to avoid eating it.
    My personal favourite way to eat zucchini is to slice it very thin with a potato peeler and just toss it with some lemon juice, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil – South Australian, of course!!

  21. Siri — 11/30/10 @ 6:11 pm

    Lovely pics Jaden. Baked Zucchini with some yogurt dip is my all-time fav snack.


  22. Siri — 11/30/10 @ 6:13 pm

    Here – I just now tweeted too.



  23. Megan — 11/30/10 @ 6:49 pm

    This lens could only help my photography skills…right?

  24. Sherri M — 11/30/10 @ 7:05 pm

    There’s nothing like zuchini tempura!

  25. Aleksandra — 11/30/10 @ 7:20 pm

    I like to saute zucchini and use it in tacos. Thanks!

  26. carol y — 11/30/10 @ 7:25 pm

    2 T olive oil
    4 small zucchini
    5 large tomatoes
    1 onion
    1 T Italian seasoning
    2 cloves garlic

    cook in a pot till soft
    pour in casserole and top with lots of Parm cheese and cook till melted and bubbly

  27. Shelly Orban — 11/30/10 @ 7:53 pm

    zucchini with tomatoes over bow tie pasta….
    saute 3 small zucchini in olive oil and garlic until crisp tender, add 1 sliced onion and two cans of diced tomatoes, simmer for about 7 minutes, cover with grated parmesan cheese and pop under the broiler until golden brown, serve over bow ties with a salad and glass of red wine!

  28. I love zucchini fritters with a yogurt sauce!

  29. Sharlene McNeish — 11/30/10 @ 8:03 pm

    What a versatile vegetable as appetizer, main, side dish or dessert!

    I think of my Mom-Mom Mary when I have zucchini fritters! I love grilled slices of zucchini brushed with olive oil. Zucchini bread is the most nutritious dessert I know ( after chocolate)….must try your recipe for dinner one night, thank you!

  30. Loc Vu — 11/30/10 @ 8:41 pm

    I’m a fan of fried breaded zucchini as an appetizer. It’s so good.

  31. Kim L — 11/30/10 @ 8:47 pm

    I love zucchini bread – but these look great. Always looking for new dinner ideas. Beautiful shots with that lens.

  32. Patty Barger — 11/30/10 @ 8:54 pm

    My favorite is zucchini bread.

  33. loni — 11/30/10 @ 9:13 pm

    The only way I will eat zucchini is in warm zucchini bread with butter!

  34. Kowanda — 11/30/10 @ 9:14 pm

    I love zucchini bread.
    kowandamcbride at yahoo dot com

  35. Kowanda — 11/30/10 @ 9:16 pm

    tweeted using the button at the bottom of your post.
    kowandamcbride at yahoo dot com

  36. Jordan B — 11/30/10 @ 9:17 pm

    I love Zucchini in a roast vegetable medley with tomatoes and herbs with a side of rice! Just delicious!!


  37. Lynn Daws — 11/30/10 @ 9:56 pm

    I would love to win this lens. I Love Zucchini Bread, YUMMMM

  38. Cassie Jebber — 11/30/10 @ 10:00 pm

    I am an extremely simple zucchini lady. I love sauteed zucchini with caramelized onion and garlic with just a tad bit of salt and pepper…Topped off with parmesan cheese.

  39. L — 11/30/10 @ 10:45 pm

    I like shrimp & feta stuffed zucchini!

  40. Gina S — 11/30/10 @ 11:20 pm

    Fried, along side a yummy tuna melt or grilled with salt and olive oil, along side some homemade Korean BBQ. YUM!

  41. Wilson — 12/1/10 @ 12:23 am

    my fav. zucchini dish is sliced zucchini stirfry with tomato and red onions. A little hoisin sauce and salt/pepper!


  42. Vicki — 12/1/10 @ 12:36 am

    I like baked zuccini stuffed with 3 cheeses. Great giveaway– thanks!!!

  43. PJ — 12/1/10 @ 12:59 am

    I’m quite fond of baked zucchini sliced in half, covered in Parmesan cheese, black pepper, a pinch of salt, and just a drizzle of olive oil.

  44. Christi Pobst — 12/1/10 @ 1:36 am

    I would love to add this to my camera bag. SO FUN!

    • Christi Pobst — 12/1/10 @ 1:37 am

      Oh and I don’t have a favorite recipe. I love to just steam it!

  45. Jacob LaFountaine — 12/1/10 @ 1:40 am

    Zuccini Bread

  46. mel — 12/1/10 @ 1:53 am

    i like Zucchini muffins.

  47. Priscilla — 12/1/10 @ 1:55 am

    Our favorite zucchini dish is baked zucchini with tomatoes, onions, and olive oil. Yummy!