Taco Zucchini Boats
These tasty Taco Zucchini Boats are made from long pieces of zucchini hollowed out and stuffed with taco-flavored beef, salsa, and cheese. And if you’re careful to use low-sugar salsa these are deliciously low in carbs!
I recently shared my updated collection of 50 Amazing Zucchini Recipes on the Kalyn’s Kitchen Facebook Page, and from the response it was obvious that there are lots of people looking for zucchini recipes! Stuffed zucchini is a classic way to use those zucchinis that get too big, and my recipe for Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups is a hugely popular idea that shows how to hollow out giant zucchini and make cups to fill with a cheesy mixture of sausage and cheese.
But when you have large-but-not-giant size zucchini, these Taco Zucchini Boats are a delicious stuffed zucchini option with taco flavors. And this recipe makes a lot, but stuffed zucchini like this reheats well, and when you have a counter full of zucchini staring you in the face, you don’t want to cook something that only uses a little zucchini. But if you don’t have lots of zucchini or don’t want to make so much, just cut the recipe in half!
Either way, I am recommending this for my Friday Favorites pick this week, and I hope you’ll try it if you’ve got zucchini that needs to be made into something tasty!
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- ground beef
- olive oil
- Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning, or any taco seasoning of your choice
- ground cumin (affiliate link)
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link)
- grated Mexican Cheese Blend
- canned black olives
What are Zucchini Boats?
Zucchini Boats refers to largish zucchini that is cut in half lengthwise and hollowed out to make a “boat” and then stuffed with a tasty mixture.
What adds taco flavors to the Taco Zucchini Boats?
For this recipe the ground beef is seasoned with Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning and ground cumin, for lots of Mexican flavor. And the salsa and grated Mexican blend cheese adds more taco flavors to the zucchini boats.
What Low-Carb Salsa do I use for Taco Zucchini Boats?
I use Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link) for this recipe. I love this brand, which doesn’t have added sugar and only has 16 carbs in a cup. I’ve used this salsa for years and like it so much I have a collection of Low-Carb Recipes with Pace Picante Sauce.
More options for stuffed zucchini:
- Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups are a option for zucchini that’s really!
- Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef uses just 1/4 cup cooked brown rice per serving, or switch the rice for cauliflower rice.
- Tasty Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini has brown rice but again you could use cauliflower rice instead of the rice.
How to Make Taco Zucchini Boats:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- I used Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link) for this recipe because it doesn’t have added sugar and I love this salsa.
- We used zucchini that were about 10 inches long and cut them in half lengthwise; then we hollowed out the inside with a melon baller (affiliate link) to make a boat; you can also use a sharp spoon.
- You can microwave them for a few minutes if you want the zucchini to be softer in the finished dish; we skipped that step.
- Brown the ground beef; then push it to the side and add the onion to cook it partly through.
- Then add Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning or your favorite taco seasoning, ground cumin (affiliate link), salt, pepper, and salsa and cook over low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- While the meat simmers, slice olives and measure out the cheese. When the meat mixture is mostly dry, turn off heat and let it cool for a minute or two.
- Then stir the olives and most of the cheese into the meat.
- Lay zucchini boats out on a baking sheet that you’ve sprayed with nonstick spray and use a large spoon to fill them with the meat mixture, packing it in.
- Bake about 25 minutes; then sprinkle them with the remaining cheese and bake about 15 minutes more, or until the zucchini is cooked through.
- Serve hot, with some sour cream and salsa on the side to add at the table if desired.
More Tasty Ideas with Zucchini:
- 50 Amazing Zucchini Recipes ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Slow Cooker Zucchini Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
- Grilled Zucchini Lasagna ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Instant Pot Zucchini Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
- Easy Grilled Greek Zucchini ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
- 4 large zucchinis (see notes)
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped small
- 1 T Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning or any taco seasoning of your choice
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups Pace Picante Sauce (see notes)
- 2 1/2 cups grated Mexican Cheese Blend (divided)
- one 6 oz. can black olives
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
- Wash zucchini and cut off the stem and flower ends. Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise to make 8 pieces. Use a melon baller (affiliate link) or sharp spoon to scrape out most of the fleshy inside part of the zucchini, creating a “boat” with about 1/2 inch of flesh attached to the zucchini skin.
- If you prefer your zucchini fairly well done, you can microwave the boats for a couple of minutes before you stuff them; if you do that blot dry with a paper towel before putting the stuffing in. (We didn’t microwave them and ours were just tender crisp when they were done.)
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan; add the ground beef and cook over medium-high heat until the beef is nicely browned, breaking the meat apart with the turner or a potato masher (affiliate link) as it cooks.
- When the beef is browned, push it to one side and add the chopped onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is starting to soften.
- Stir the onion and beef together and add the taco seasoning, cumin, salt, pepper, and Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link) or salsa of your choice.
- Stir together, then reduce heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- While the mixture simmers, drain the olives and slice and measure out the cheese.
- Put the zucchini boats on a large baking sheet that you’ve sprayed with nonstick spray.
- When the meat mixture looks dry if you draw a spoon across the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and let it cool for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in the olives and 1 1/2 cups cheese.
- Use a large spoon to stuff the mixture into the zucchini boats, packing it tightly so you use it all.
- Bake the stuffed zucchini 25 minutes, or until the zucchini is starting to feel soft when you stick a fork into it.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle the top of each stuffed zucchini with additional cheese. Bake about 15 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and zucchini is done to your liking.
- Serve hot, with sour cream and additional salsa to add at the table if desired.
To make the full recipe you need zucchini that are each about 10-12 inches long. If you don't have Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link) choose a salsa with the lowest amount of sugar you can find.
Recipe created by Kalyn and Kara.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 505Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 1081mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 40g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This recipe for Taco Zucchini Boats is low-carb and Keto friendly, and everything used in the recipe is perfect for all phases of the original South Beach Diet. The highest carb ingredient here is the salsa; look for a salsa with the lowest amount of sugar you can find. The recipe is also gluten-free.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Zucchini Recipes or Oven Dinners to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe for taco-flavored zucchini boats was first posted in 2016. It was last updated with more information in 2023.