Kalyn's Kitchen

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef has red pepper, onion, and basil, and uses just 1/4 cup cooked brown rice per serving. You can switch out the rice for cauliflower rice or use regular long zucchini for this recipe if you prefer.

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Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef close-up photo of finished dish

Back when I had a bigger garden I fell in love with cute round zucchinis, so when I saw these lovely striped Heirloom 8-Ball Zucchinis at the farmers market, I had to get some. And it’s almost August 8, when a neighbor might leave some zucchini on your porch, so I did appreciate the irony of buying zucchini when people are trying to give it away! But the heirloom 8-Balls were perfect for this Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef that has red pepper, onion, and basil with just 1/4 cup of cooked brown rice per serving (and you can switch that out for cauliflower rice if you want a low-carb option).

Whichever way you make them, I think you’ll love this stuffed zucchini with fresh chopped basil and a generous amount of dried fennel seed adding layers of good flavor. And just in case someone does leave zucchini on your post on August 8, take a look at my 50 Amazing Zucchini Recipes for more help with how to use it!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • zucchini
  • onion
  • red bell pepper
  • Olive Oil (affiliate link)
  • ground beef
  • Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), or use another all-purpose seasoning blend
  • Minced Garlic (affiliate link) or garlic puree (from a jar)
  • ground fennel (affiliate link)
  • cooked brown rice (or use cauliflower rice)
  • chopped fresh basil
  • coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • canned chicken broth (affiliate link)

What if you don’t have round zucchini?

If you just have regular long zucchini, just cut the zucchini lengthwise and use this recipe to make zucchini boats instead. And if you end up with some of those huge giant zucchinis, use my trick of making Stuffed Zucchini Cups.

What are Round Zucchini Called?

If you’d like to try growing these cute round zucchinis, one of the most common varieties is called 8-Ball Zucchini. Those are the ones I’d always look for when I had a big garden and was growing several varieties of zucchini. But there are are actually quite a few varieties of round summer squash in a variety of colors and round squash like this is grown all over the world.

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef process shots collage

How to Make Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Cut the stem end off each zucchini, use a melon baller (affiliate link) or sharp spoon to scoop out most of the flesh and seeds of the zucchini.
  2. Microwave zucchini on high for 3-4 minutes. (Cook zucchini in the oven for about 15 minutes before you stuff them if you don’t have a microwave.)
  3. I cooked brown rice in advance is my beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker (affiliate link). You can use leftover cooked rice, or use frozen cauliflower rice if you prefer. (Let the cauliflower rice thaw on the counter for an hour or so, then lightly saute with the vegetables to make sure it will be cooked in the finished dish.)
  4. Saute the chopped onion and red bell pepper, adding the garlic, Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), and ground fennel when the vegetables are nearly done.
  5. Remove vegetables to a mixing bowl, then add ground beef to the pan and cook until it’s nicely browned.
  6. Add the cooked brown rice (or cauliflower rice), ground beef, chopped basil, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese to the vegetable mixture and gently combine.
  7. Arrange zucchini in a roasting dish with tall sides. Fill each zucchini with stuffing mixture, packing it in tightly.
  8. Roast zucchini about 15 minutes, then top with the other 1/4 cup Parmesan and cook 10-15 minutes more.

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef square image of finished dish

Make it a Meal:

Serve with something like Cucumbers Caesar, Balsamic Spinach Salad, or Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad, or Low-Carb Italian Pasta Salad for a carb-conscious meal.

More Zucchini Recipes You Might Like:

50 Amazing Zucchini Recipes ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker and Instant Pot Zucchini Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Low-Carb Grilled Zucchini Recipes ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Ratatouille Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Low-Carb Recipes for Oversize Zucchini ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe will keep well in the fridge and can reheats easily for another dinner, so it’s 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! You might even want to double the recipe and freeze some if you have lots of zucchini.

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef close-up photo of finished dish

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef uses just 1/4 cup cooked brown rice per serving, or switch it out for cauliflower rice if you prefer!


  • 4 large round zucchini (see notes)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or use another all-purpose seasoning blend)
  • 1 tsp. garlic puree (from a jar)
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (see notes for lower-carb option)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock


  1. Cook rice or take frozen cauliflower rice out of the freezer and let it start to thaw.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
  3. For 8-ball zucchini, cut stem end off each zucchini to create a flat surface that’s just slightly smaller than the largest width of the zucchini;
  4. Then using a pointed teaspoon or melon baller, scoop out and discard most of the zucchini flesh and seeds.
  5. Leave an even 1/2 inch of flesh attached to the skin.
  6. For long zucchini, barely trim both ends of the zucchini; then cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh and seeds to leave a shallow boat shape. See this recipe for instructions on preparing zucchini cups from large zucchini.
  7. Microwave zucchini 3-4 minutes on high.
  8. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in heavy non-stick frying pan.
  9. Saute chopped onions and peppers about 3 minutes. ( If you're using frozen cauliflower rice, add to pan and cook it with the vegetables.)
  10. Stir in Spike Seasoning, garlic, and ground fennel, and cook 1-2 minutes more. (Vegetables will cook more in the oven, so they don’t need to be fully cooked at this point.)
  11.  Remove onions and peppers to large mixing bowl.
  12.  Then add 1 teaspoon more oil and ground beef to hot pan and cook until it’s nicely browned, breaking apart with the turner as it cooks.
  13.  Remove cooked ground beef to mixing bowl.
  14.  Add cooked brown rice (if using), chopped basil, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and chicken stock to meat and vegetable mixture, and gently combine.
  15.  Choose a roasting pan with sides tall, just big enough to hold the zucchini.
  16.  Spray pan with nonstick spray or a light misting of olive oil.
  17.  Stuff zucchini with stuffing mixture, packing in as much as you can into each zucchini, and mounding it up as high as you can, until all stuffing is used.
  18.  Put zucchini into roasting pan, putting them close together so they hold each other up.
  19.  Roast uncovered 15 minutes, then sprinkle each with a bit of the reserved Parmesan.
  20.  Cook 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is tender-crisp, and filling is hot and slightly browned.
  21.   Serve hot. This will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave.


If you don't have round zucchini, use 4-6 regular long zucchini or make zucchini cups from a giant zucchini. If you want fewer carbs, use 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice instead of the rice. Let the cauliflower rice thaw on the counter for a bit, and saute it for a few minutes with the veggies to be sure it gets fully cooked.


Use turkey Italian Sausage instead of ground beef.

Use thin tomato sauce instead of the chicken stock.

Add some chopped olives to the stuffing.

Use sauteed mushrooms instead of or in addition to the red pepper.

Use feta cheese instead of the Parmesan.

Recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 504Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 849mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 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.

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:
Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef would make a great main dish or side dish for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet. If you want a low-carb meal, use cauliflower rice instead of the rice, or try my very popular Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Zucchini Recipes to find more recipes like this one.Use the Diet Type Index 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.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2007, when I had 8-Ball Zucchini in my garden. The photos were updated in 2015 and the recipe was updated with more information in 2021.

Pinterest image of Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef

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    40 Comments on “Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef”

  1. Looks Awesome, we love stuffed peppers, but right now we have WAY too much zucchini. Plus we're both a few pounds overweight so I can see using a some zucchini (shredded) in this, would make a healthier filler than white rice, which is what we have.

  2. I veganized these zucchini boats by using Beyond Meat Crumbles instead of ground beef, brazil nut parmesan in place of the dairy, and veggie broth instead of chicken. The result was delicious and VERY popular with my very non-vegan in-laws! I will definitely be making this recipe again, when I have an abudance of zucchini!

  3. Still fascinated by why so many Americans are obsessed with gluten. There's nothing wrong with it, unless you are the less than 1 percent of people who are actually allergic to it.

    That being said, these look amazing. Will definitely try them. And nice photos 🙂

    • Hope you enjoy. And I am surprised to hear you think Americans are "obsessed" with gluten. I certainly haven't noticed anything like that, but I do mention it in my recipe titles because it's important information for anyone who had celiac, and I have several close associates who are in that category. I think some people who avoid wheat for other reasons (the Paleo diet, etc.) also watch for the gluten-free label.

  4. I have to look for these little zucchini at the farmers market, because I never see them in the grocery store. What a fun idea to stuff them!

  5. I was looking for a recipe and I'll try at home ..

  6. I've never heard of spike seasoning. I read your post describing it and now I'm intrigued. I'll have to see if I can find it at our local Fred Meyer. I'll hunt for round zucchini as well. I love stuffed zucchini.

    • Oh my word, you must try it! I've been using it for about 30 years now. So good in so many things!

    • I also first learned of Spike seasoning from Kayla. I'm in Collingswood, NJ & get Spike seasoning at my local health food store.

  7. Joan, so glad you liked it!

  8. That was so good. And so much fun to make. Thank you!

  9. I am the only person in the house who loves courgettes! I love to stir-fry them. I read a recipe on one of cuisine magazines here and they stuff the courgettes with corn kernels and shredded chickens! I’ve tried them and they are delicious!! I’ll bookmark your recipe for next time I do the courgettes. Lovely.

  10. It’s fun hearing that I’m inspiring some of you to try stuffed zucchini. If you can get the little eight-ball zucchini, do try this way of cutting them if you’re not afraid to buck tradition.

  11. I have been wanting to try stuffed zucchini. I think tomorrow is the day!

  12. Congratulations, and a well-deserved mention! You are one of the first places I go for no-nonsense recipes that are healthy and easy to replicate in the home kitchen. Nice to see recognition of such an “accessible” food blog!

  13. These look great Kalyn! Eight ball zucchini don’t seem to have hit the UK yet, though there are a lot more yellow zucchini around than there used to be