BeefMalia Howe

Stuffed Zucchini Enchilada Boats

BeefMalia Howe
Stuffed Zucchini Enchilada Boats

I don't know what your dinner plan is tomorrow night, but you should cancel it and make this instead. I admit I was skeptical. Could zucchini really be an appropriate vessel for enchiladas? I thought not, but with abundant zucchini from the garden I was forced to try. Oh. My. This was one of the best things I've eaten in awhile. Really fantastic. While I did make the recipe as suggested (with beef), they would be fantastic as a vegetarian option with a second can of beans (black perhaps?) or a cup of leftover rice stirred in. Really outstanding flavor in the simple homemade enchilada sauce. Just trust me.

Stuffed Zucchini Enchilada Boats
-slightly adapted from

  • -4 medium zucchini, halved (I cut the tops off first)
  • -1/2 lb ground beef (or a can of black beans or a cup of leftover brown rice)
  • -1 teaspoon salt
  • -1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • -1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • -2 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • -1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • -15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • -1 tablespoon chili powder
  • -2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • -1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • -1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • -1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • -15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • -1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I used monterey jack)
  • -Chopped cilantro for garnish (don't skip this; it's the perfect flavor enhancer)

Scoop out seeds and center of each zucchini half with a spoon so that you end up woth "boats" with about 1/4" shell all the way around. Sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit while you prepare the filling. Brown beef with salt and pepper; drain any grease and transfer to a plate (skip this step, obviously, if you are going meat-free).  In the same skillet, saute onion, garlic, and jalapeno for a few minutes until softened. Stir in tomato sauce and rest of seasonings and simmer for about 5 minutes. Take about 1/3 cup of this sauce and spread it in a 9x13 pan, then stir the meat and beans into the sauce. Fill each zucchini boat with filling (pile it on and use it all) and cover with foil. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then remove foil, top with cheese and bake for 20 minutes more. Sprinkle with cilantro. Dinner is served. This makes good taco filling if you have zucchini-phobic kids as I do.

Stuffed Zucchini Enchilada Boats