Super Easy Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats loaded with cheesy ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and topped with shredded Mexican blend cheeses and all of your favorite taco toppings!
Who is ready to get on the boat with me? When I’m talking about “the boat” I mean the zucchini boat. Zucchinis are so easy to stuff and so good for you. If you’re looking for a new way to switch up the old taco or are interested in the low-carb thing, need more veggies in your life, or all of the above, what are you waiting for?
I have been literally gobbling up these zucchini boats myself because of all three reasons. I needed a way to get more veggies into my diet (and my hubby’s and the kiddo’s), wanted to cut out just a leeetle bit of the carbs, and also just sick of tortillas (I’ll come back around soon, I’m sure).
Zucchinis are in season right now and taste so good. I have been buying them by the dozens, washing, halving, and scooping out the seeds and stuffing all the ingredients I’d normally save for a tortilla or some sort of noodle and putting them instead in a zucchini.
Once you try this, you’ll want them all the time, trust me. I don’t even miss the bread.
HOW DO YOU MAKE EASY TACO STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS?
The first thing I like to do is prep my zucchini. I cut off the stems (though you don’t have to) and then slice them down the middle lengthwise. I use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and throw those away (or compost for your garden). Then, I lay them in a single layer, scooped-side up on top of a baking sheet, pan, or other kind of casserole dish.
I also cook my rice and dice my onion right after I do the zucchinis. You could easily get the rice going while you’re doing the other prep work as well so it’s all done in roughly the same time. I set everything I’ve prepped aside.
Next, I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and brown the ground beef in a skillet. I cook it for about 5-6 minutes, then I add my diced onion, rice, tomatoes, green chilis, and spices and stir for another 3-5 minutes. Once that’s cooked, I scoop the mixture into the hollowed out zucchinis and bake for 15 minutes.
I’ll pull the dish out after 15 minutes and add a little more cheese, then pop it all back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese gets all nice and bubbly and slightly brown.
When they’re all done, I’ll put them on the table and garnish with cilantro and let everyone add their own favorite toppings to their boats.
WHAT TOPPINGS GO BEST WITH TACO STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS?
I’m a topping-aholic. I love to pile on all the things. Some of my favorites for this recipe include:
- Avocados or Guacamole
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Black olives
- Roasted corn
- Hot sauce
- Jalapeno slices
- Pickled or diced red onions
- Green onions
- Tajin spice
ARE ZUCCHINI BOATS KETO-FRIENDLY?
The Keto diet is a popular one these days. It is a diet that is very low in carbs and high in fat (kind of like Atkins and South Beach were about a decade ago). This makes your body burn fat, ironically. Anyway, I don’t need to get into the whole science behind it after all, because I’m a food blogger, and not exactly a doctor.
But what I do know is that these stuffed zucchini boats are okay for the Keto diet. Zucchini is approved on the diet, as is the ground beef, cheese, sour cream, other veggies, and spices.
HOW CAN I CUSTOMIZE THESE TACO ZUCCHINI BOATS?
Customizing taco zucchini boats is easy!
- Substitute ground turkey, chicken, or regular sausage for the ground beef.
- Use yellow squash instead of zucchini if you have that on hand.
- Add chili powder or hot sauce to the mixture to kick up the heat level a notch.
- Sprinkle red pepper flakes to the top of your boats for an even bigger kick.
- Instead of rice, try using cooked quinoa.
- Add black beans to the beef mixture or substitute them all together for a vegetarian zucchini boat.
- Dice up a variety of bell peppers and add them to the mix for added texture, flavor, and nutrition.
Easy Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 3 medium-large zucchini
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 1/2 cups cooked white or brown rice
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper or to taste
- 1 cup cheddar and monterey jack cheeses (or any Mexican blend)
- diced tomatoes, avocados, cilantro, sour cream, shredded lettuce, olives
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise, use a tablespoon to scoop out the seedy centers and discard. Place zucchinis side by side, cut side up, on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish.
- In a large skillet brown the ground beef, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes. Add onions, rice, diced tomatoes and green chiles, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Spoon ground beef and rice mixture into prepared zucchinis. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Top zucchinis with cheeses and return to oven for 5 minutes until melted.
- Garnish with your favorite toppings like cilantro, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, avocados, and serve.