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.
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?
- red bell pepper
- olive oil
- ground beef
- Spike Seasoning, or use another all-purpose seasoning blend
- Minced Garlic or garlic puree (from a jar)
- ground fennel seed
- cooked brown rice (or use cauliflower rice)
- chopped fresh basil
- coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- chicken broth
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.
How to Make Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef:
(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Saute the chopped onion and red bell pepper, adding the garlic, Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), and ground fennel when the vegetables are nearly done.
- Remove vegetables to a mixing bowl, then add ground beef to the pan and cook until it’s nicely browned.
- 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.
- Arrange zucchini in a roasting dish with tall sides. Fill each zucchini with stuffing mixture, packing it in tightly.
- Roast zucchini about 15 minutes, then top with the other 1/4 cup Parmesan and cook 10-15 minutes more.
Make it a 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.
- 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
- Cook rice or take frozen cauliflower rice out of the freezer and let it start to thaw.
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
- 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;
- Then using a pointed teaspoon or melon baller, scoop out and discard most of the zucchini flesh and seeds.
- Leave an even 1/2 inch of flesh attached to the skin.
- 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.
- Microwave zucchini 3-4 minutes on high.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in heavy non-stick frying pan.
- Saute chopped onions and peppers about 3 minutes. ( If you're using frozen cauliflower rice, add to pan and cook it with the vegetables.)
- 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.)
- Remove onions and peppers to large mixing bowl.
- 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.
- Remove cooked ground beef to mixing bowl.
- 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.
- Choose a roasting pan with sides tall, just big enough to hold the zucchini.
- Spray pan with nonstick spray or a light misting of olive oil.
- 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.
- Put zucchini into roasting pan, putting them close together so they hold each other up.
- Roast uncovered 15 minutes, then sprinkle each with a bit of the reserved Parmesan.
- Cook 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is tender-crisp, and filling is hot and slightly browned.
- 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.
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.
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.