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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini

There are a gazillion things to do with zucchini, but making stuffed zucchini boats are has got to be the most fun way to eat, and that’s by unanimous vote from all members of the family.

This recipe, ripped out from Family Circle magazine, has been tacked on my refrigerator for a few weeks and I finally got around to giving it a whirl. For our family of 4, we served these as the main course and threw in a salad to round out the meal. The raisins, cinnamon and pine nuts are what gives it a Middle Eastern slant. Substitute ground turkey or lean ground pork for the chicken (but pssst…the ground chicken is really good!)

How to Make Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

First things first, you’ve got to make the boat. Slice each zucchini in half, lengthwise. Use a teaspoon and start at the big end of the zucchini. Carefully dig your spoon in without piercing the skin.

Now turn your wrist as if you were using a melon baller and scoop out just one section.

It should look like this.

Continue doing one scoop at a time – be gentle and don’t worry about scooping every single bit out – just a good chunk of flesh. Don’t worry about it being even either, we’ll take care of that later.

scooping out

Make sure you leave about 1/4″ of space all around. Careful not to go through the skin, otherwise your zucchini boat will sink (well not really, but….)

leave 1/4 inch

I’ve scooped 4 times. Now it’s time to make the zucchini boat even.

Hold the zucchini boat and turn the spoon over and gently scrape to even out the hollow. Scrape out all the seeds.

It should look like this.

The key to this dish is to first microwave the zucchini with some water until it’s almost cooked through. I used a glass Pyrex dish – microwave and oven safe so that i don’t have to transfer dishes.

Cover with plastic wrap, leave an opening and microwave.

In the meantime, saute the bell peppers, onion, garlic, ground chicken. Add the cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Don’t forget the raisins.

And of course the cheese. The cheese helps the mixture stick together as well as give it a great flavor.

Mix it all around and now the stuffing is done.

Fill the cooked zucchini with the stuffing.

Oh yum. Can you smell that?

Top with pine nuts and bake for 10 minutes.

Please promise me you’ll make this recipe!?? You’ll love it. It’s fun to eat (my kids just picked up the entire boat and ate by hand), savory from the cheese and chicken, sweet from the raisins and nutty from the pine nuts.


Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

Servings: Serves 4 as main dish, 8 as side dish Prep Time: 10 Cook Time: 30

Recipe adapted from Family Circle, August 2010 Issue


4 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium-size onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts


1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, carefully scoop out flesh and seeds, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell around edges. Discard flesh and seeds.

2. Place half of the zucchini, cut-side down, in an 11 x 7 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Add 1/2 cup water and cover with plastic wrap, venting one corner. Microwave 4 minutes. Place cooked zucchini in a large baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crumble in chicken. Stir in raisins, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in cheese.

4. Fill each zucchini half with about 1/3 cup stuffing, then sprinkle the pine nuts over tops. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked through.

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Tamron.

Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Lens Giveaway

Alright, my lens-lovin friends! What I love about this lens is that it’s got the world’s largest zoom ratio of 15X zoom, which means the lens covers an angel of view equivalent to that of a 28mm wideangle to a 419mm ultra telephoto with just one lens.

This is a great travel and food lens – because you can take a panoramic shot of the beach as well as closeup shots like the zucchini (take a look at the 2nd shot of finished dish).

The Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Lens also has built-in vibration compensation – no tripod was used for the final shot, though I did use a tripod in the kitchen (I only have 2 hands!)

There’s a lens for Canon as well as Nikon and retails for $629, but there’s currently a $150 rebate so you can grab this baby for $479. More info on the lens at Tamron’s site.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED — Congrats to Taylor of Taylor Made!

1,214 Responses to “Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini”

  1. Claire Chapman — 11/27/10 @ 9:30 pm

    Zucchini lens… er, I mean, zucchini bread, and yeah, would love the lens too!

  2. Terri L — 11/27/10 @ 9:43 pm

    No recipe needed. I like my zucchini simple…just grilled with some salt and pepper.

  3. Kelley — 11/27/10 @ 9:48 pm

    The best zucchini bread recipe, really it’s worth writing down:
    2 c. grated zucchini – add even more, the kids will never know it’s good for them!
    3 t. vanilla – again the more the better
    2 c. sugar
    1 c. oil – never said it was gonna be healthy
    3 t. cinnamon – I just dump a bunch in
    3 eggs slightly beaten
    1/2 c. sour cream – some swear this is the secret ingredient
    1 t. baking soda
    1 t. baking powder
    1 t. salt
    grease your pans – bake at 350 degrees
    1 hour for 2 loaves and about 18 minutes for 24 cupcakes.
    freezes great!

  4. Melissa — 11/28/10 @ 12:31 am

    I like steamed zucchini and melted cheese, as simple as that.

  5. linda s — 11/28/10 @ 12:40 am

    I like shredded zuschini and red onion rings tossed with a little olove oil, fresh cracked pepper and salt.

  6. Susan F — 11/28/10 @ 1:06 am

    Loved the photos demonstrating the zucchini recipe!
    My favorite use of zucchini in a meal is to use it for zucchini pasta — cut the zucchini using a spiral slicer and top it with the sauce of your choice — delicious and very low fat!!

  7. Kristin Leff — 11/28/10 @ 3:54 am

    My favorite zucchini prep: slicing them into long strips, rubbing them with olive oil, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and then onto a hot grill. When they are done, I like to drizzle them with a balsamic reduction and freshly grated parmesan.

  8. Heide M. — 11/28/10 @ 4:00 am

    I’ll have to try this.

  9. hankela — 11/28/10 @ 12:24 pm

    zucchini and mushroom grilled is my fave

  10. Lindsay W — 11/28/10 @ 12:31 pm

    I love to roast my zucchini in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s my fave!

  11. Laura K. — 11/28/10 @ 12:37 pm

    I love grating zucchini and mixing it with marinara sauce. You can sneak in a lot of vegetables that way, and picky kids never know!

  12. ann — 11/28/10 @ 12:50 pm

    I love it grilled with olive oil, kosher salt, and a little balsamic vinegar.

  13. Janetta — 11/28/10 @ 12:50 pm

    My favorite is grilled zucchini.

  14. Kelly — 11/28/10 @ 1:19 pm

    I LOVE shaving paper thins strips of raw zucchini and tossing it in a light lemony vinegarette and marinating for a bit to take away just a bit of the raw “bite” and serving…YUM!

  15. Terri — 11/28/10 @ 2:03 pm

    Grilled with olive oil,sea salt and balsamic vinegar! Or roasted! Both very tasty.

  16. Denise B. — 11/28/10 @ 2:08 pm

    Sorry, but I don’t like zucchini! :D

  17. Ashley — 11/28/10 @ 2:20 pm

    My current favorite zucchini recipe is Balsamic Zucchini – it’s easy and elegant, and even got my vegetable-hating mom to like zucchini!

  18. julieh — 11/28/10 @ 3:11 pm

    My favorite zucchini dish is simple–drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and grilled.

  19. Darryl T — 11/28/10 @ 3:37 pm

    i like pasta salad with lots of zucchini

  20. Emily B — 11/28/10 @ 4:20 pm

    mmm. zucchini bread! (Or tossed in pasta with tomatoes and olive oil and garlic and parm. tasty!)

  21. Nicole — 11/28/10 @ 4:55 pm

    It’s gotta be sauteed zucchini and summer squash. YUM!

  22. Nancy H — 11/28/10 @ 7:45 pm

    I think my favorite zucchini recipe is so simple – grilled zucc with other veggies like summer squash, carrots, or peppers, brush with Queen Creek Lemon olive oil and sprinkle with Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper. So healthy and fresh tasting!

    I would SO love the camera lens too!

  23. Nancy H — 11/28/10 @ 7:47 pm

    Here’s my tweet link for the contest http://twitter.com/#!/nancyhann

  24. Jeane — 11/28/10 @ 8:17 pm

    I still love my Aunt Wanda’s zucchini pancakes. That’s why my husband loves me. I always ate HIS zucchini (and mine!) :)

  25. Nancy H — 11/28/10 @ 8:18 pm
  26. Jeane — 11/28/10 @ 8:22 pm

    Tweeted ya’


    Have a great weekend!

  27. julie — 11/28/10 @ 9:20 pm

    My fav has to be zucchini bread but it runs a quickie behind grilled with olive oil. Going to blog about ‘cha now. Be back to post again. Don’t tweet but if I did I’d do that too.

  28. julie — 11/28/10 @ 9:26 pm
  29. Rachel Higgs — 11/28/10 @ 9:38 pm

    I like fried zuchini blossoms

  30. Ann E — 11/28/10 @ 10:25 pm

    I love zuchini bread….my mom’s recipe

  31. Lae P. — 11/29/10 @ 12:52 am

    The recipe looks great and so does the lens!

  32. MiraUncut — 11/29/10 @ 1:58 am

    zucchini sauteed with dried mint and finished w fresh lemon juice..yum

  33. Helen — 11/29/10 @ 2:05 am


  34. Katie — 11/29/10 @ 4:59 am

    I’ve been living in jerusalem the last year and have made this dish only once… the interesting thing is that zucchinis here are different than the US… they are smaller and slightly different in taste… Anyway tis is a very common local weeknight dish. I have a Nikon camera and would love to get a new lens!!! Thanks so much!

  35. Debbie C — 11/29/10 @ 7:33 am

    I love fried zucchini with ranch dressing dip.


  36. Joy — 11/29/10 @ 7:56 am

    I love chocolate zucchini cake. Mmmmm! Delish, and I can fool myself into thinking it’s healthy! :)

  37. Leah — 11/29/10 @ 8:25 am
  38. Ann Carruthers — 11/29/10 @ 8:38 am

    I just love to fix stir fried zucchini with fresh corn, mushrooms, and onions.

  39. Gayle — 11/29/10 @ 9:57 am

    Zucchini on the grill, olive oil, salt & pepper, that’s it. Slightly charred, even better. Would love to win this lens. thanks for the chance!

  40. Andrea — 11/29/10 @ 11:28 am

    I adore zucchini bread from the abundance of summer zucchini from the garden! A little cinnamon, some chocolate chips, and I am in heaven!

  41. Jenn S. — 11/29/10 @ 11:33 am

    We like this zucchini recipe : broiled zucchini with cheese.

  42. Taylor — 11/29/10 @ 11:39 am

    I love fried zucchini with horseradish dipping sauce! and I love this lens!!!

  43. Jeannette — 11/29/10 @ 12:42 pm

    my fave way to use zucchini is in a deep dark chocolate zucchini cake. you’d never know it was in there unless you search reeeally hard for the flecks. i make it in a bundt, skip the choc chip sprinkling and go straight for ganache instead.


  44. Victoria — 11/29/10 @ 2:14 pm

    Tomato Basil Soup with Zucchini from our local farm, Be Wise Ranch. They included this recipe with our CSA box.http://www.bewiseranch.com/recipe/tomatozucchinisoup.htm

  45. Stefanie — 11/29/10 @ 3:06 pm

    Oh goodness. I’m stuck in the fixed lens RUT! And have no dinero to upgrade… how I would LOVE this lens!
    P.S. No special zucchini recipe to share, I really dislike the stuff, other than the basic fried variety ;) But you sure make it look good!

  46. cara — 11/29/10 @ 3:20 pm

    I love grilled zucchini and this Tamron lens.

  47. Mary Ann — 11/29/10 @ 5:11 pm

    I love Zucchini Bread, which I could easily make, but would love to have this lens, which would be awesome if I won!

  48. Melissa — 11/29/10 @ 6:24 pm

    Zucchini bread is my favorite!