As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Turn your ordinary zucchini into tasty taco stuffed zucchini boats filled with seasoned meat and rice, and covered in your favorite toppings.
Zucchini season is quickly approaching, which means so is the season for getting it all up into zucchini bread and toddler muffins, making summer pasta salad, and making one of my all time personal favorites, zucchini ravioli.
Once the first zucchini pops, the fun doesn’t stop. Isn’t that how it goes for the gardeners of the world?
There are a handful of things I really miss about working in a building with other people (this is totally an “I quit my job to be a blogger” problem and not a “2020/2021 problem”), and one of them is the constant pick of produce available in the lunch room all summer long.
We are not gardeners, and we rely on the generosity of others who find themselves with more zucchini than they know what to do with to share it with us… In exchange for baked goods, of course. I will always thank you in baked goods.
I always see an uptick in my recipes that include zucchini in the summer time, so I wanted to get ahead of the trend and give this one to you now so you can try it, love it, add it to the dinner rotation, and then tell your fellow zucchini growing friends about it when they’re not quite sure to do with all that squash.
Sound good? Let’s get to it.
HOW TO MAKE TACO ZUCCHINI BOATS
So these taco boats are super simple: we’re using the zucchini as the base (obviously) and those just take a little bit of prep.
Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, then hollow out with a spoon or melon baller.
I went the melon baller route and it was a million times easier than using a regular spoon. A teaspoon measuring spoon would also work nicely.
Place the cut zucchini in a casserole dish or on a large baking sheet, then prep the filling.
The filling is simply ground beef (or ground turkey or really any meat of your choice) seasoned with taco seasoning.
Side bar: I also used this opportunity to spruce up the gluten free taco seasoning recipe that’s been on my blog for many many years.
That homemade taco seasoning is also completely dairy free, oil free, and preservative free. Check it out if you’re interested in having perfect taco seasoning on hand at all times.
You’ll mix your ground beef/whatever meat with some cooked rice, and your filling is all set.
Fill up your zucchini, then pop them in the oven.
You’ll bake these for 15 minutes, then remove them from the oven, top with cheese, and then bake for a few more minutes. Go ahead and give ’em a broil if you’re into bubbly/charred cheese (ME! ME! ME!).
After that, they’re ready to devour! Top with desired toppings and have at it.
We topped with avocado, diced tomatoes, and cilantro.
Matt is gluten and dairy free, so I actually left the cheese completely off of some of them for him, and he went to town with additional toppings like salsa and corn.
There are no rules when it comes to taco toppings. Go wild, friends!
We truly devoured these taco zucchini boats. Like they stood no chance and were gone in 2 days. They served as both lunch and dinner two days in a row, so all 12 zucchini taco boats were gone in 48 hours.
No regrets whatsoever.
Our favorite part about these was the customization and the versatility to use whatever meat we wanted to, and no two taco zucchini boats we ate were the same.
With so many topping options to choose from, I changed it up for all 6 that I personally ate. No such thing as boring leftovers with that going on.
This is a really great way to use up an abundance of zucchini and a wonderful lower carb option if that’s something you’re looking for. Plus they freeze well, if you’re finding you need to use up more zucchini than you thought or want to gift a tray to someone else.
Though I do love me some zucchini bread, there’s more to the zucchini loving life than just a slice of (ridiculously delicious and irresistible) bread. So let’s celebrate taco Tuesday in a whole new light this week.
I can’t wait to hear about your zucchini boats!
Taco Zucchini Boats
- 6 medium to large zucchini
- 1 pound (454g) ground beef or any meat of your choice
- 1 and ½ cups (300g) cooked rice
- 3 Tablespoons (27g) homemade taco seasoning store bought is fine
- ⅓ cup (80mL) water
- 2 cups (227g) shredded cheese
- toppings: salsa, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, corn, diced tomatoes, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, then use a spoon, teaspoon measure, or melon baller to scoop out the seedy centers and discard.
- Place zucchini side by side, cut side up, on a large baking sheet or in a large casserole dish. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the the ground beef. Add the taco seasoning and water, stir until everything is combined, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the beef from heat, then add the rice and stir until everything is combined.
- Spoon the ground beef and rice mixture into the prepared zucchini, then bake for 15 minutes.
- After the 15 minutes, remove the zucchini from the oven, then top with cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted to your liking. Add toppings and serve. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Unbaked zucchini freeze well, up to 3 months. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil to freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator, then continue with baking instructions.