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Kalyn's Kitchen

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups use giant zucchini slices hollowed out to make cups and filled with a meat, tomato, and mozzarella mixture; so yummy! And this recipe doesn’t have any rice and I used low-sugar pasta sauce to keep it low in carbs; enjoy! 

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

It’s monster zucchini season, the time of year when people who have gardens are likely to go out and discover a giant zucchini has suddenly sprung up overnight. I have a collection of Ten Low-Carb Recipes to make with Oversize Zucchini on this site, but today I want to remind you of these favorite Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups that I’ve made so many times when I had giant zucchinis that I needed to use.

This recipe uses cups created from slices of overly-large zucchini, and I think this is such a great idea when you don’t want to make zucchini bread and the zucchini you have on hand are too large for your usual favorite zucchini recipes! Despite the rather messy plating job in these photos, I love everything about this 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 those can be hard to find, and these zucchini cups give a similar result. 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 late-summer zucchini? And this recipe for stuffed zucchini doesn’t have any rice or other grains, so it’s perfect for low-carb eaters, FTW!


Stuffed Zucchini Cups process shots collage

How to Make Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Start by cooking onion, green pepper, and garlic for a few minutes in a bit of olive oil.
  2. Then remove the veggies, add a bit more olive oil, and cook the meat until it’s browned. Stir the green pepper, onion, and garlic back into the meat once it’s done.
  3. 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 Rao’s Pasta Sauce (affiliate link) is the lowest-carb commercial sauce. Once the liquid has cooked off, turn off the heat.
  4. Cut a large zucchini into slices 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.
  5. 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!
  6. By now the meat has cooled slightly, so mix in about 1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella or other mild cheese. (Use low-fat or full-fat mozzarella, your choice.)
  7. 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.
  8. 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!) 
  9. Serve hot. This makes quite a bit but extras can be stored in the fridge and reheated during the week!

Stuffed Zucchini Cups thumbnail image

More Zucchini You Might Like:

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Zucchini Recipes from Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Eight Ball Stuffed Zucchini from A Veggie Venture
The Top Ten Most Popular Low-Carb Zucchini Recipes on Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

This recipe uses giant zucchini slices hollowed out to make cups filled with a meat, tomato, and mozzarella mixture.

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long
  • 2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil (or 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
  • 12 oz. ground turkey, turkey Italian sausage, or pork Italian sausage (see notes)
  • 1-2 tsp. Spike seasoning (optional but recommended)
  • 2 C flavorful tomato-basil pasta sauce (with low sugar)
  • 2 cups mozzarella or other mild white cheese (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
  2. Chop onion and green pepper.
  3. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan, then saute onion and pepper for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to soften.
  4. Add minced garlic and saute about 1 minute more, being careful not to brown the garlic.
  5. Remove the onion, pepper, and garlic mixture to a bowl.
  6. Add 2 tsp. more olive oil to the pan.
  7. Crumble in the ground beef and ground turkey (or ground sausage), season with Spike seasoning and cook over medium heat until the meat is well browned.
  8. Tilt pan to see if there is any extra fat, and remove with a spoon if there desired, then stir cooked vegetables and garlic back into the meat.
  9. Add tomato sauce and simmer until the mixture has thickened and liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes, then turn off heat.
  10. While meat cools, cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends.
  11. 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.
  12. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and stand up zucchini cups, open end up.
  13. 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.
  14. Bake zucchini cups for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use remaining cheese to top each one with a generous pinch of cheese.
  15. 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.
  16. Serve hot.

Notes

Use any combination of ground meat you’d like, but use low-fat ground meat for the South Beach Diet and full-fat for low-carb or Keto. I would use Rao's Pasta Sauce (affiliate link) for this recipe. I used a blend of six cheeses called Italian blend. This recipe created by Kalyn when she found some giant zucchini in her garden!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 8.8gUnsaturated Fat: 11.7gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 990mgCarbohydrates: 9.5gFiber: 2gSugar: 5.2gProtein: 33g

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.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
When they’re made with low-fat ground beef, low-fat ground turkey Italian Sausage, =low-fat cheese, and low-sugar pasta sauce, these Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups are a great dish for any phase of the original South Beach Diet. You could also eat this for any other low-carb eating plan, which would recommend higher-fat meat or cheese. No matter what kind of carb-conscious plan you’re following, I’d recommend Rao’s Pasta Sauce (affiliate link) if you don’t have homemade sauce.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Zucchini Recipes or Oven Dinners to 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.

Pinterest image of Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

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    79 Comments on “Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups”

  1. 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.

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

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

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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!

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Just tried this tonight & YUM!!! Loved it! Curious how many calories each cup is worth?

  11. Hayley, I know just what you mean about how those pounds creep back on. Love how you improvised to make this work!

  12. I'm starting phase one again (those 50 pounds I've lost on SBD turned into only 40 in the past few months), and found this gem while rummaging through the site (which has been my favorite site over the past year of south beach-ing). I planned the meal, but neglected to check the time it would take! So…I improvised. I cooked the green pepper mixture a bit longer, microwaved the zucchini cups before putting them in the oven while the meat finished up, and microwaved the stuffed zucchini before adding cheese and putting it in the oven for 10 minutes. I managed to finish it in about 40 minutes from couch to table. Of course, I'm looking forward to trying the actual version, but I was impressed by the taste of my speedy fix. I'm positive my store-bought zucchini were nowhere near as large as the ones you used, so I felt pretty confident in using the guts. In fact, I had extra stuffing leftover and used the zucchini with that for another easy phase one friendly meal! Thanks for your always excellent recipes!

  13. Sue, I hope you get to try the cups; they're fun!

  14. Dinner was absolutely perfect tonight.My spouse and I love Zucchini.I didn't do the "cups",but love the idea.When I can find zucchini big enough,I will definately do the "cups".
    Sue in Nevada

  15. These were big zucchinis with big seeds inside, so I didn't save the insides but you could definitely chop it up and add it to the sauteed vegetables for the filling.

  16. @Kalyn – did you do anything with the inside of the zucchini? I actually super love zucchini so the though of wasting any of it is sad to me, although I'm sure the zucchini insides are pretty well mashed when you get them out. Anyway, I was just wondering, but this recipe looks right in my wheelhouse otherwise!

  17. So glad you liked it. Your improv chili sounds great, perfectly okay for phase one!

  18. I've made this twice and absolutely LOVE it! I wound up cutting my Z's long-ways (hot-dog style) and they were more like little delicious canoes of wonder than cups. But they are fab!

    I had some leftover filling and tossed in some pre-sauteed onions and bell peppers, and some leftover red beans–some chili powder and cumin, topped with a bit of cheese and called it an improv chili. It was a great lunch for phase 1….heavens help me, I hope it really was suitable for P1 with the extra seasoning. Help keep me in line if it wasn't! Thanks, Kalyn. You're awesome as always!

  19. Spike is often sold by health foods. Enter "Spike seasoning" in the search bar and there's a post about it. (typing on phone or I would find for you!)