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Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups are one of the Top Ten Most Popular Low-Carb Zucchini Recipes on Kalyn’s Kitchen, and they use giant zucchini slices hollowed out to make cups and filled with a meat, tomato, and mozzarella mixture; so yummy! And this recipe is low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free and South Beach Diet friendly. Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups found on KalynsKitchen.com

It’s monster zucchini season here and last Friday I spotlighted Monster Zucchini and Basil Strata. This recipe for Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups uses cups created from slices of overly-large zucchini, and this is another of my very favorite things to make when the zucchini gets out of control.

Despite the rather messy plating job, I’m excited about this recipe for Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups, a new way of making stuffed zucchini by slicing an overly-large zucchini into two-inch slices, then hollowing out the slices to make zucchini cups. I’m a fan of round 8-ball squash for Stuffed Zucchini, but this year my 8-Ball squash hardly produced anything. Meanwhile, my regular zucchini plant kept producing zucchinis that were too big, causing me to get creative.

Don’t you think hollowing out a zucchini cup like this and filling it with meat and cheese sounds like a delicious way to use zucchini? Zucchini is definitely on surplus status around here, so there may be some other zucchini recipes coming up this week as well.

Start by sauteeing onion, green pepper, and garlic for a few minutes in a bit of olive oil. Then remove the veggies, add a bit more olive oil, and saute the meat until it’s browned. Stir the green pepper, onion, and garlic back into the meat once it’s done.

Then mix in about 2 cups of flavorful tomato sauce and let it simmer until all the liquid has cooked off. I used some homemade Marinara Sauce I had in the freezer, but any sauce with good flavor will work, even sauce from a jar. Once the liquid has cooked off, turn off the heat.

Cut a large zucchini into sliced about 2 inches thick. Be careful to make flat sides when you cut. This zucchini was not quite three inches across at the widest part.

I decided I didn’t have quite enough zucchini for the amount of sauce, so I also used a yellow squash that had gotten a bit too large. I used a melon baller to hollow out the squash, which worked perfectly. Be careful not to make the bottom too thin, or the liquid will run out like in my top photo above!

By now the meat has cooled slightly, so mix in about 1 1/2 cups of low-fat mozzarella or other mild cheese. I used a low-fat blend of six cheeses called Italian Blend with 7 grams of fat in 1/4 cup.

I like the zucchini to still have a tiny bit of crispness, so I stuffed the zucchini raw. Pack it in, heaping it up a bit over the top. Bake zucchini like this for 20 minutes at 350F/175C.

After the zucchini cups have baked for 20 minutes, use the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese to sprinkle over the top of each, and bake about 25 minutes more. (You’ll get some on the baking sheet, so be sure you’ve sprayed it with non-stick spray!) I forgot to take a photo of the nicely browned tops when they came out of the oven, but these were delicious. Serve hot.

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups
(Makes 6-8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 large zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil (may need more, depending on your pan)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 T finely minced fresh garlic
1 lb. ground beef (10% fat or less)
12 oz. ground turkey (10% fat or less)
(use any combination of ground meat you’d like, but use low-fat ground meat for the South Beach Diet.)
1-2 tsp. Spike seasoning (optional but recommended)
2 C flavorful tomato-basil pasta sauce
2 cups low-fat mozzarella or other mild white cheese (I used low-fat blend of six cheeses called Italian blend.)


Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Chop onion and green pepper. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan, then saute onion and pepper for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to soften. Add minced garlic and saute about 1 minute more, being careful not to brown the garlic. Remove the onion, pepper, and garlic mixture to a bowl.

Add 2 tsp. more olive oil to the pan. Crumble in the ground beef and ground turkey, season with Spike seasoning, and cook over medium heat until the meat is well browned. Tilt pan to see if there is any extra fat, and remove with a spoon if there is, then stir cooked vegetables and garlic back into the meat. Add tomato sauce and simmer until the mixture has thickened and liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes, then turn off heat.

While meat cools, cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak liquid when they cook.

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and stand up zucchini cups, open end up. Stir 1 1/2 cups grated cheese into the cooled meat mixture (it doesn’t need to be completely cool), then spoon the meat-cheese mixture into zucchini cups, pressing down with the spoon and mounding it up a little over the top of the zucchini.

Bake zucchini cups for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use remaining cheese to top each one with a generous pinch of cheese. Put back in oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is slightly soft when pierced with a fork and cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:

Made with low-fat ground beef, low-fat ground turkey, and low-fat cheese, this is a great dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. You could also eat it for most other types of low-carb eating plans, and other plans might recommend higher-fat meat or sausage.

Find More Recipes Like This One:

Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?

If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

More Zucchini You Might Like:
The BEST Slow Cooker Zucchini Recipes from Slow Cooker from Scratch

Eight Ball Stuffed Zucchini from A Veggie Venture

The Top Ten Most Popular Low-Carb Zucchini Recipes on Kalyn’s Kitchen

Stuffed Zucchini from Kayotic Kitchen

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups [KalynsKitchen.com]
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77 comments on “Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups”

  1. Shannon I chose South Beach to manage my weight partly because I didn't want to have to count points, calories, carbs, or fat grams, so I don't have that information.

  2. This is such a fun way to use zucchini, Kalyn. My kids aren't big zucchini fans, but I have a feeling they would change their minds if it was presented like this.

  3. Dara, if you had a veggie on the side, the kids could even just eat the filling, but I think this might surprise them.

  4. I love this idea and am kind of annoyed that I never thought to do something like this before. It seems like such a no brainer – especially when we have all this zucchini lying around!

  5. Thanks Kristen. Such a good use for those big boys that get out of control!

  6. Love stuffing my zuch's and love the idea of doing them in little tubes even more! And I definitely have the zuchinni to do it with!

  7. Heidi, when I hit on this idea, I wondered why I hadn't thought of it sooner!

  8. These are just like my Zucchini Pizza cups that I posted last month!!!

  9. Kristen, isn't it a fun way to use those big zucchini. I first posted this in 2009 and I've been doing this ever since.

  10. Love the presentation on these!!

  11. Thanks Elizabeth! Such a fun way to use those big zucchinis.

  12. I like this idea so much better than the zucchini boats where one uses a smaller, but whole zucchini, as the receptacle for the stuffing. These cups seem to provide a much more reasonably sized portion, Kalyn.


  13. This looks fantastic! Nothing says summer like zucchini, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Thanks for the great idea for using – and enjoying – our huge zucchini harvest!

  14. I went away and left hubby and son to take care of the garden, well to my surprise no one picked anything so I had one zucchini a little over a foot long and on the fat end was 5&1/2 inches around so stuffing it worked great.

  15. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe! My family and I loved it! I posted a feature about this recipe on my blog and put a link back to your blog! Thanks again!


  16. These are great, but they really need the full baking time to allow the zucchini to soften. I tried to rush it this last time and the zukes were just crisp tender (but still good!).

  17. I did a lot of research on how to use a giant zucchini (2 1/2 lbs) that a friend had given me. Of all the recipes and suggestions that came up, this looked the best, so I tried it tonight! It was a huge hit, even with my son who really doesn't like zucchini! I used sausage instead of the beef and turkey (and much less in proportion), added some mushrooms and a ripe tomato I had on hand,and also some cooked farro (any brown rice or grain would be nice). The farro gave the stuffing a nice texture. I also served it on a generous bed of homemade marinara sauce. It was EXCELLENT!! I left the zucchini walls a bit too thick, so it took longer to cook til soft – next time I'll scrape the walls to 1/4" per the recipe, and add the scrapings to the stuffing mixture. YUM!!! Thx so much!

  18. Linnet, so glad you enjoyed it!

  19. Looks delicious. I'd shred the zucchini removed to make the cups and add that to the meat mixture. Will be making this recipe this week!

  20. Mary Ann you can certainly do that, but in the huge zucchini like I used the center of the zucchini has big seeds so I didn't want to use that part.

  21. Thanks for this recipe, it was a hit! I have these enormous zucchini's straight from my garden that I had no idea what to do with 🙂 My husband and daughter had a thumb war over who got the biggest one (she won but he pulled rank!)

  22. Bronwyn, so glad it was a hit!

  23. Wow Kalyn! I just spotted your photo on Pinterest and had to jump right over for the recipe. This looks so delicious, and the zucchini ramekin is such a great idea!

    • Thanks Lisa! This is such an old recipe, but it's been pinned so many times I don't dare replace the messy photos! And these are really delicious; endless options for this idea.

  24. Frankly I don't like mozzarella that much, but just can't wait to try this great recipe. Thanks 🙂

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