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Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

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Mediterranean Zucchini Boats take summer zucchini and stuff them with a mixture of ground beef and lamb, rice, tomato sauce, cumin, cinnamon and are topped with cheese and fresh parsley. If you have an abundance of garden zucchini this is the perfect way to use them up!

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Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

I have a winner to share with you guys. Mediterranean Zucchini Boats have quickly reached the top of my “must make again soon” list.

The kids and I spent the past week and a half hanging out with my parents in Eastern Tennessee.

It is always fun to spend time with them and let the kids enjoy their grandparents.

I especially love coming to stay with my mom because we get to cook up delicious recipes together.

One of the recipes we made together is these Mediterranean Zucchini Boats.

I have been so excited to share the recipe with you guys.

I made stuffed zucchini a few times, but honestly I do not make them enough.

I just loved this recipe and the flavors that are stuffed in those beautiful summer zucchinis.

I am a sucker for cumin and cinnamon together with meat–it reminds me of the flavors in kibbeh.

We went to my mom’s farmers market and bought four beautiful, large zucchinis and we knew we had to make stuffed zucchini.

For these Mediterranean Zucchini Boats we used a mixture of ground beef and ground lamb but you can use a combination of meat options including:

  • 1 lb. ground beef

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef & 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage

  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey & 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage

  • 1 lb. ground lamb

  • 1 lb. ground turkey

The meat is cooked and mixed together with rice and tomato sauce along with some of my favorite spices; cumin, cinnamon, paprika, basil and oregano.

The flavor in this mixture is warm and rich.

The rice and meat mixture is then stuffed into hallowed out zucchinis, baked and topped with freshly shredded cheese.

The cheese is melted and topped with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

If you haven’t tried stuffed zucchini, once it is baked the zucchini becomes tender and you can easily cut it into small pieces as you eat your zucchini boat.

This recipe can be a bit more time consuming then some, but I promise it is totally worth it.

When you take a bite into one of these Mediterranean Zucchini Boats I think you will agree.

One tip when making these is to make sure you scoop out a good amount of the flesh from each zucchini half.

Also, I suggest that you use large zucchinis so you can stuff enough of the mixture in the zucchini.

You can use a variety of tools to scoop the flesh out, from a basic metal teaspoon to a grapefruit spoon {this is my favorite} to a cookie dough or ice cream scoop.

We like to bake our zucchinis in the oven for 15 minutes before stuffing them.

Just go ahead and place them with the inside down on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F.

I have seen many ways of making stuffed zucchini but baking the zucchini a little bit before stuffing them helps to create a very tender zucchini.

While they bake and your rice cooks you can go ahead and cook the meat mixture so its ready to be stuffed into the zucchini.

Are you wondering what to do with the zucchini flesh? Save it!

My grandpa took that flesh and cooked it over medium high heat with cumin and cinnamon. It is also nice to add a little tomato sauce in for extra flavor.

I am all about zero waste!








  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup rice {white or brown}

  • 4 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, flesh scooped out

  • 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded {or cheese of your choice}

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked {I used 80/20}

  • 1/2 lb. ground lamb

  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper {optional}

  • Dash of pepper

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce

  • Garnish with parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley


  1. Bring water and white rice to boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to low until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes {if using brown rice, cooked according to package}.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Scoop out the flesh from the zucchini halves using a melon baller or a cookie dough scoop, starting about 1/2 inch from the end creating a boat. Reserve the zucchini flesh. Place the boats face down on the greased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake boats in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. While the boats are baking heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook beef, lamb, onions and garlic and spices until the meat is done and no longer pink. Drain and discard the grease.
  5. Mix with meat mixture, rice and tomato sauce together and stir until combined.
  6. After 15 minutes remove the zucchini from the oven. Flip over the zucchini halves using tongs. Scoop the rice and meat mixture into the zucchini boats and bake for 25 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender to the touch of a fork.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Return to oven for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
  8. Remove from the oven and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.


For this recipe feel free to use a variety of meat options including these combinations:

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground beef & 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage

1/2 lb. ground turkey & 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage

1 lb. Italian sausage

1 lb. ground lamb

1 lb. ground turkey

Try a variety of cheeses including feta cheese or cheddar.

You can cook the reserved zucchini flesh in a saucepan with cinnamon and cumin over medium heat. Once heated it makes a nice little side dish or even drizzle a little tomato sauce over and enjoy alongside your zucchini boats.

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