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How to Cook Extra Large Zucchini: Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

Watching her mom as a kid, Vicki came by cooking easily. Kids Cook Monday offers simple recipes kids can help with.

Gizmo asks: Really? Is this your idea of a treat?

Gizmo asks: Really? Is this your idea of a treat?

And I thought my cat was big!

And I thought my cat was big!

Are Large Zucchini Still Good?

I was stopping by my local Rachel's Garden recently and came across this giant zucchini. Rachel is a young girl (probably ten years old?) who sets up a local stand every summer to sell her wares: tomatoes, squash, and zucchini, mostly, with some flower bouquets thrown in. I find stopping at this local corner a pleasant experience, as it often keeps me from having to fight the crowds at the Farmer's Market and allows my dog and I (yes, he goes with me) to spend some time in the company of a charming young entrepreneur. Sometimes her dad hangs out with her, too.

Often times, especially when Gizmo and I arrive late in the morning, Rachel isn't there. But her table is, as are the boxes of different types of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness, along with various squash and zucchini. The neat thing about this vegetable stand is that it is self-service when Rachel can't be out there. You put your selections on the scale to weigh them (price per pound is posted), put your money in the can, and you're set! It's the good ole boy honor system.

This summer, on one of my visits there, I was struck by the size of a huge zucchini. I asked Rachel's father, who is often out there helping Rachel, if such a large zucchini tasted good. Could it be tender at all? He told me that i could make a wonderful recipe by scooping out the insides of the zucchini and making a filling and then baking it in the oven until tender. Hmmmm . . . . I had to try it.

So, I took home this extremely large zucchini (that kind of freaked out my pets) and did what Rachel and her father said I should do. I tried the results and said, "Yummy." I took half of a half (yes, this thing was huge!) over to my boyfriend's house, and he said, "Wow!" He loves zucchini and loved this recipe. I have made this recipe again since that first time.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

45 min

1 hour 5 min

up to 16 slices, depending on size of zucchini

Ingredients for Baked Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkled
  • 1 egg, optional
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs, optional

If you like the recipe, give it some stars!


  1. Rinse zucchini. Cut in half (short way). Then cut the halves in half into long "boats." Scoop out seeds and soft flesh to form a zucchini "boat."
  2. Melt butter and spread onto top and bottom of zucchinis.
  3. In the meantime, put ground beef into pan and cook with chopped onions. Cook until beef is browned. Drain and return to pan.
  4. Add drained can of diced tomatoes and chilies, along with cheese.Mix well.
  5. Add egg and bread crumbs if you want added texture to mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes before checking. Check zucchini for tenderness. Cook up to 15 minutes longer if necessary.
Possible ingredients: cheese, bread crumbs, diced tomatoes with green chilies

Possible ingredients: cheese, bread crumbs, diced tomatoes with green chilies

Optional Fillings for Zucchini Boats

The second time I made zucchini boats, I left out the egg and bread crumbs and was just as satisfied. I also added a can of corn, and it was great. Also good in the mix is chopped bell peppers.

Instead of diced tomatoes and green chilies, you might prefer a can of tomato sauce or simply chopped fresh tomatoes. Try green onions instead of yellow or white. Be creative.

Make a vegetarian filing with your choice of vegetables and cheese!

You may want to chop up your serving and mix it all together. That's what we did to make the boats easier to eat.

Don't worry about messing these up! As long as the zucchini gets tender, and you like the ingredients you put in the filling, the boats will turn out great.

A slice from the zucchini boat

A slice from the zucchini boat

Scroll to Continue


Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 04, 2015:

I do, too, NJ! Love zucchini and love that Aldi store!

NJ on August 03, 2015:

So happy to see you are shopping at Aldi for other zucchini and Aldi store

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 30, 2012:

Hyphenbird--I think Gizmo was a bit overwhelmed, unsure about the thing. I had never seen a zucchini that big!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 29, 2012:

Thanks, Brett! Well, in some areas, maybe the stand wouldn't be there. LOL. I would be pretty devastated if anybody took this little girl's stand. Thanks for the comments and shares!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 29, 2012:

mvillecat--Looks like you have lots of great ideas for zucchini, too! Thanks for the input!

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on July 28, 2012:

Poor Gizmo. He looks overwhelmed. It is amazing how large zucchini will grow. Thanks for the recipe ideas and the sweet photos.

Brett C from Asia on July 28, 2012:

LOL, I love the way that you describe the stand at the start, life is like that over this way too, but in the UK ... well ... the table probably wouldn't be there anymore. As for the recipe, look delicious!

Shared, up and awesome.

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on July 27, 2012:

We have veggie and fruit stand like that in Georgia. The honor system still works I believe. I have been using my zucchini in soups, breads and brownies this summer. I froze a few too. Great hub.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 27, 2012:

vespawoollf--That vegetable stand is delightful. Thanks for the comments, especially about dear Gizmo!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 27, 2012:

teaches--I've made it a couple of times now and two different way. Both times were great, and it does seem pretty healthy!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 27, 2012:

Thanks, donmanual! I sure think they are!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 27, 2012:

Thanks, random! I thought it was a cool idea, so I had to try it!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on July 27, 2012:

Wow, I'd love to shop at your vegetable stand! We had dinner recently with a French couple and they'd purchased tiny, round zucchinis and baked them with a filling similar to yours. They were delicious, so I'm glad to have your recipe. I love the photos of adorable Gizmo. Voted up!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 27, 2012:

msviolets--Thanks! the pic with my dog is my favorite part of the hub. LOL!

Dianna Mendez on July 26, 2012:

I have never thought of doing this, but it is certainly one that I am going to try. Your recipe is really good and so healthy.

donmanual from Playa del Carmen, Mexico on July 26, 2012:

Yes, your pets are very very cute!!! :)

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 26, 2012:

What a great unique idea for zucchini!

msviolets on July 26, 2012:

It sounds good...and I just had to comment because I love the pic of your dog with the zuke! Adorable! Thanks for sharing!!!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 26, 2012:

carol--I'm loving the cats as a measuring too. LOL. Thanks for your comment!

carol stanley from Arizona on July 26, 2012:

Though I think the recipe is delightful, I love the beautiful photos. Since I have two cats I am very partial. As josh3418 says we can now use our cats instead of a yardstick. Great recipe and VOTED UP

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 25, 2012:

Josh, I loved her comment about the cat! LOL. Well, I switched the photos around to purposely put a pet pic first rather than the food item itself. I thought the pets would get more attention. :-) Sure, I'll go with both the recipe and the cat measuring instrument being great ideas! haha

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on July 25, 2012:


I am laughing out loud at Lucky Cat's message about cat measuring instruments! LOL Great idea though, your hub, not the cat thing. Or maybe both? :)

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 25, 2012:

Mhatter--So funny. Yeah, Lucky Cats mentioned something about using cats as measuring instruments. I may be on to something here! LOL!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on July 25, 2012:

Sorry, I honestly could not focus on this report. You may have struck on a "best seller" idea! Imagine, a cookbook with cute pet pictures.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 25, 2012:

brewskitimeguy--If you like zucchini, I think you'll love this! Thanks for stopping by!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 25, 2012:

Lucky Cats--Wish I lived near you so you could share with me! Yes, this is a neat recipe

LOL about the cat measuring devices! I may have to do that more often. Most people know how big a "standard" size cat is. Haha! thanks for stopping by!

brewskitimeguy from Maine on July 25, 2012:

i love zucchini have to try it out thanks

Kathy from Independence, Kansas on July 25, 2012:

Hi there Victoria! what a great hub you've given us backyard gardners! And, just in time, I have a little vegie garden w/zucchini, 3 types of tomatoes and cucumbers...and we ALL know how those zukes tend to grow in abundance and without a break...I find myself making zucchini bread in the middle of the hottest summer days; and cream of zucchini soup and so many other things...and giving away arm fulls of this tasty treat. Love the nutritional "411" and pictures....thank you!!!!!! UP Useful Interesting and TASTY!!!

PS....why have I never thought of using my cats as measuring devices? You've started a whole new means of measurement!

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