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Stuffed Zucchini with Meat / Italian Style

Stuffed Zucchini with Meat, Italian style, nothing says Italian Summer Dinner Dish then this. A delicious meatball mixture stuffed inside a hollowed out Zucchini and then pan-fried or baked to perfection. An Easy and Tasty way to use up all that extra zucchini that’s hanging around!

stuffed zucchini with a silver spoon in a black pan

As we head in August and we start to see an over abundance of garden vegetables, such as Tomatoes, Zucchini and Eggplant I have come to the conclusion that I am not ready to move onto cinnamon and maple syrup just yet. So for another couple of  weeks I offer you some of my best Summer  (because technically it still is summer) dishes.

Zucchini Stuffed with Meat, was one of the first recipes I tasted in mother-in-law’s house on my first visit to Italy. Little did I know how this dish would easily become one of my favourite Zucchini Summer Recipes. I really prefer to pan-fry it just the way she did, without any sauce. But you can also oven bake it if that is your preference. It is so amazing, and it is definitely a must try.

To tell the truth I really don’t have much of a memory of ever eating zucchini in my house in Canada, squash yes zucchini no. My mother would make squash with a tasty rice stuffing, but she was not a zucchini lover. Too bad , because we didn’t know what we were missing, and just maybe a taste of this Zucchini Stuffed with Meat and she would have changed her mind!

How to make it

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, (it is easier to hollow them out), hollow out the zucchini, rinse and set aside. In a small bowl soak the bread for about 30 seconds in either water or milk.

removing the pulp from the zucchini on a white board

Remove the crust and squeeze out the excess moisture, crumble and place in a medium bowl, add the ground beef, egg, parmesan cheese, spices and garlic, mix well.

mixing the mixture in a white bowl and mixed in a white bowl

Stuff the meatball mixture into the zucchini. In a medium to large frying pan add 2 tablespoons of oil and place the stuffed zucchini in the pan, sprinkle with a pinch or 2 of salt and extra spices if desired, drizzle with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the water, half -cover. Cook on low to medium heat until the zucchini is tender and water has evaporated. Raise the heat, and uncover and cook till zucchini is slightly browned, turn and brown the other side. Serve immediately.

the zucchini stuffed and read for cooking in a black pan

Do you have to skin Zucchini?

Because zucchini is picked before it fully matures on the vine the skin is still tender, therefore there is no need to peel it, the flowers and seeds are all edible also.

What is the best size to use?

It’s best to use either young small or medium zucchini, just make sure they are thick enough to hollow out. Large zucchini is best used for jarring or even bread or donuts.

Is Zucchini good for you?

Yes it is, it is packed with vitamins C and A, potassium, folate, and fibre. All beneficiary to a healthy heart, which helps to decrease the risk of stroke and also reduces high blood pressure and can reduce cholesterol.

stuffed zucchini in the pan and 2 with leftover meatballs on a white plate with a fork

Is it ok to pick the flowers?

If you are lucky to have your own garden or discover them in your local farmers market then do not hesitate to pick some up. They are delicate and don’t last long, they are also best picked in the early morning. Both the male (has a long stem attached) and female zucchini flowers (are attached to the vegetable) can be picked and consumed, the males are the best to stuff and the female flowers are delicious used in a stir fry, frittata or even a pasta dish. Only female squash blossoms mature into a squash.

How to make Oven Baked Stuffed Zucchini

In order to make it baked in the oven,  I slice the zucchini lengthwise, remove extra pulp and place the stuffing on top, cook it slowly in the pan and then sprinkle with a good amount of Parmesan Cheese and broil it in the oven for a few minutes. Perfect.

stuffed zucchini how to make slicing the zucchini and boiled

A delicious Italian Recipe made with a tasty meatball filling, Baked Zucchini Stuffed with Meat is the perfect fast and easy meal. We love it.

More Related Recipes

Zucchini Patties

Zucchini Cream Cheese Pasta

Creamy Italian Zucchini Risotto

I always let the zucchini brown a bit  and it becomes so tender and delicious. I suggest serving it with a salad, it’s definitely the best choice! Buon Appetito!

stuffed zucchini in the pan and 2 with leftover meatballs on a white plate with a fork

stuffed zucchini with a silver spoon in a black pan

Stuffed Zucchini with Meat / Italian Style

Rosemary Molloy
Stuffed Zucchini with Meat, Italian style, nothing says Italian Summer Dinner Dish then this. A delicious meatball mixture stuffed inside a hollowed out Zucchini and then pan-fried or baked to perfection.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 330 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 5 medium zucchini
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 pinches salt
  • 3/4 cup water

MEAT STUFFING

  • 2 slices bread (I use day old Italian if extra thick use 1 1/2 slices)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 -1 clove garlic minced

Instructions
 

  • If the zucchini is long, cut it in half, then hollow it out, rinse and set aside.
  • In a small bowl soak the bread for about 30 seconds in either water or milk. Remove the crust and squeeze out the excess moisture, crumble and place in a medium bowl, add the ground beef, egg, parmesan cheese, spices and garlic, and mix well.
  • Stuff the meatball mixture into the zucchini. In a medium to large frying pan add 2 tablespoons of oil and place the stuffed zucchini in the pan, sprinkle with a pinch or 2 of salt and extra spices if desired, drizzle with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the water, cover the pan slightly. Cook on low/medium heat until the zucchini is tender and water has evaporated. Raise the heat, and uncover and cook till zucchini is slightly browned, turn and brown the other side. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

It's best to use either young small or medium zucchini, just make sure they are thick enough to hollow out. Large zucchini is best used for jarring or even bread or donuts.
In order to make stuffed zucchini baked in the oven,Β  I slice the zucchini lengthwise, remove extra pulp and place the stuffing on top,Β  in the pan, cook it slowly in a 350F (180C) pre-heated oven for about 25-30 minutes (when the zucchini is fork tender), then sprinkle with a good amount of Parmesan Cheese and broil it in the oven for a few minutes. Perfect.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 634mg | Potassium: 835mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 612IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 3mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

Updated from July 21, 2016.

 

 

 

 

14 Comments

  1. I am very confused. Your recipe clearly says turn and brown the other side, yet you make a reply you don’t turn it. Your recipe makes no mention of putting it in the oven, yet you comment to someone yes, put it in the oven and add your topping.

    1. Hi Laura, I actually mention how to make it in the oven in the post, although I just added it also to the recipe card. I only turn it if I make it on the stove because I hollow out the zucchini and stuff it, but if I make it in the oven, I hollow out the zucchini then slice it lengthwise, and fill it, so I can’t turn it. I hope that makes sense. πŸ™‚

  2. Just a point of grammar…. You’re cutting the zucchini CROSSWISE, not lengthwise. Lengthwise would mean your cut ran along the length of the squash. You are cutting across it, hence “crosswise.”
    Whatever the name, it looks delicious. We’ve always just cut our into boats and filled them, but I like this method. Definitely trying it this weekend.

  3. Hi Rosemary, My late mother-in-law used to make meat stuffed green peppers which were divine. I don’t have a recipe but have tried to make them with no success. Please could you help.
    Thanks, Regards, Molly

    1. Hi Molly, I imagine that she used a meatball recipe for the stuffing, so you could use this recipe and just stuff the peppers instead. My MIL would use this to make stuffed eggplant also.

  4. I am so excited to try this. You list Italian Parsley for the topping but when I zoom in on the photo it looks like fresh basil? Am I confused?

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Rosemary, Thank you it was delicious and I am sure I will make it again. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

      1. Hi Lena, thanks so glad you enjoyed it! Have a great weekend. Let me know what you try.

  5. Hi Rosemary you mention you bake your zucchini now instead of cooking on the stove top but in your directions you say cook on stove top and finish in the oven, is this correct? And when you turn the zucchini to brown the other side I assume the filling wont fall out? Help! I want to make this because it sounds delicious but I don’t want to mess it up and I want to cook through the center of the meat filling. Thanks for any help you can provide.

    1. Hi Heather, sorry for the mix up, no if you are filling them halved then don’t turn them over, just cook in the skillet and then continue with the topping and bake in the oven. Hope that helps. Let me know.

  6. Looks delicious, Rosemary! You poor Canucks don’t have zucchini? It’s fortunate you move to Italy πŸ™‚ I think you can do just about anything with zucchini but one thing we’ve never done is make it with meat. We always have it as a side or an appetizer. You’ve inspired me to make it with our meat mixture. Have a great weekend!!

    1. Hi Marisa, haha yes we do have zucchini, it’s just that my mother was not a big fan. It’s great with meat. Have a great week.

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