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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. Jen Campbell — 11/29/10 @ 7:32 pm

    I discovered chocolate zucchini cake about 10 years ago and it was the very first recipe I “perfected”…even if it is only perfect to me. I’ll search for the recipe tonight and post for all.

    But the olive oil, garlic and soy BBQ’d version from http://delishhh.com/ sounds amazing.

    Maybe if I buy some zucchini to make cake, the BBQ’d version will offset the calories? :-)



  2. Jeff D — 11/29/10 @ 8:04 pm

    I make a zucchini bread every Sunday evening and eat it for breakfast all week long!

  3. Merrie Woodward — 11/29/10 @ 8:07 pm

    This recipe looks lovely. Adaptable for a dressy meal or family. How do I like zuke?? Grilled with a brush of olive oil is always nice… so are chunks roasted in a slow oven, (also with the obligatory olive oil) the heat evaporates alot of the water and adds a little color. Numm

  4. Cecky Mueller — 11/29/10 @ 9:23 pm

    I love zucchini on the grill or zucchini au gratin. yum.

  5. Maurice Moore — 11/29/10 @ 10:18 pm

    Zucchini Bread


    * 3 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1 teaspoon baking powder
    * 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    * 3 eggs
    * 1 cup vegetable oil
    * 2 1/4 cups white sugar
    * 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
    * 2 cups grated zucchini
    * 1 cup chopped walnuts


    1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
    2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
    3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
    4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

  6. Hector — 11/29/10 @ 10:24 pm

    Loved your entry!!

    One of my favorite zucchini dishes is Zucchini Risotto:

    1. Bring vegetable or chicken stock to a boil in a medium stock pot, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
    2. Melt butter in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted. Gradually ladle in simmering vegetable stock, stirring continuously. Risotto will become “creamy” and slightly sticky, yet still firm in the center, or al dente.
    3. When almost finished, stir in the zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and thyme, adding stock as needed and stirring continuously. Stir in basil and 3 tablespoons cheese just before serving. Divide risotto among 6 bowls, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and season with pepper to taste.

    Enjoy!! :)

  7. laura lok — 11/29/10 @ 11:57 pm

    oh yummy yummy yummy. my favorite zucchini receipe is something my mother-in-law makes called zucchini bake with sausage. I don’t have the receipe yet from her but someday she will give it out.

  8. Milisa — 11/30/10 @ 1:01 am

    My favorite zucchini recipe is to slice the zucchini into spears and saute with bacon and onions. Delicious!

  9. Jamie — 11/30/10 @ 1:07 am

    I swear I entered here, but I don’t see my comment anywhere! :( Anyway, my favorite is Chocolate zucchini cake. So yummy!

  10. Bonnie — 11/30/10 @ 3:21 am

    I love zucchini, crocked neck squash, and onions, some seasoning wrapped in foil and cooked on the barbeque. I would love to try this multi purpose, VR lens on a boat shooting wakeboarders!!!

  11. Melissa Butler — 11/30/10 @ 4:22 am

    I love zucchini fried with a lil bread crumb and seasoning.

  12. Elaine C. — 11/30/10 @ 4:53 am

    I love Blueberry Zucchini Bread, http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Blueberry-Zucchini-Bread/Detail.aspx. I grow my own zucchini and I pick blueberries at my brothers’ house. The bread is delicious!

  13. Alison — 11/30/10 @ 10:12 am

    My mother in law makes this awesome zucchini bread. I LOVE IT! I could it and only it for days! I wish I had the recipe, but it’s long gone..

  14. Jamie — 11/30/10 @ 10:35 am

    zucchini bread =)

  15. Taylor — 11/30/10 @ 11:10 am

    Wow! I’d have to say zucchini bread since I have it on the mind after it appeared on my Thanksgiving table!

    Thanks for a great giveaway!

  16. Vegetable soup.

    That is my very favorite way to eat zucchini.

  17. Taylor — 11/30/10 @ 11:21 am

    And here’s my tweet! http://twitter.com/TaylorEngler

  18. Amanda Larsen — 11/30/10 @ 11:23 am

    Oh, that lens! Too exciting!
    My favorite recipe is a yummy zucchini frittata recipe I found by way of soulemama. Everyone loves it! (My 3 year old included!)

  19. Michele — 11/30/10 @ 11:50 am

    Thanks for the chance to win this great lens! That would be so exciting! My favorite zucchini recipe is a simple Italian family recipe from my husband’s late mother: sliced zucchini sauteed in olive oil with garlic and a bit of chili pepper, salt and pepper until translucent. It can be eaten as a side dish, or used as pasta sauce and is delcious!

  20. dana — 11/30/10 @ 11:54 am

    I too love zucchini bread. I love zucchini raw, cut in strips – I add them to salads, slaw and for veggie dipping.

  21. Viki Anderson — 11/30/10 @ 12:18 pm

    Sorry, but I hate zucchini!! But I do love photography, and I am dying for this lens!!

  22. Missy J — 11/30/10 @ 12:52 pm

    Zucchini tempura is probably my absolute fav but I also like zucchini bread and cookies too.

  23. amy — 11/30/10 @ 1:12 pm

    Zucchini Bread — pretends to be healthy and tastes delicious!

  24. Matty — 11/30/10 @ 1:24 pm

    I love grilled zuchini and roasted red peppers sprinkled with goat cheese melted in the oven…

  25. joyce — 11/30/10 @ 1:30 pm

    i like fried zucchini strips! with horseradish sauce.

  26. Barb Slaton — 11/30/10 @ 1:33 pm

    This is a family favorite in our house. This serves 2, but you can adjust it to meet your family’s size. Great on a hot summer day!

    # 1 cup uncooked spiral shaped pasta
    # 1/2 cup thinly sliced zucchini
    # 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion (I prefer red onion)
    # 6 tablespoons sugar
    # 1/4 cup water
    # 3 tablespoons vinegar
    # 3/4 teaspoon prepared mustard
    # 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
    # 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper
    # 1/4 teaspoon salt
    # 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

    1. 1 Cook noodles according to package directions.
    2. 2 Drain and rinse in cold water.
    3. 3 Place in a bowl; add cucumber and onion.
    4. 4 Combine remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight- fitting lid; shake well.
    5. 5 Pour over noodle mixture and toss to coat.
    6. 6 Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  27. Cathy Stech — 11/30/10 @ 1:39 pm

    Has to be just plain ole comfort Zucchini bread!

  28. David — 11/30/10 @ 1:41 pm

    I love making chocolate zucchini pancakes.

  29. Cathy Stech — 11/30/10 @ 1:42 pm

    How about a fresh Zucchini boat and lens giveaway!http://steamykitchen.com/11751-stuffed-zucchini-boats-recipe.html#respond

  30. Ali — 11/30/10 @ 1:43 pm

    My favorite is in a good stir fry.

    Also loving the chocolate zucchini cake that my local coop – Tidal Creek cooperative food market makes, but no clue on that recipe. I think its magic.

  31. Andrea — 11/30/10 @ 1:43 pm

    My favorite zucchini dish is one my grandmother always made. There isn’t a recipe just eons of watching her. Cut the zucchini into reounds. Slice and onion thinly. Chop garlic. Over a low heat cook until every thing is cooked doan and beginning to caramelize. Cook pasta – a short pasta is best for this. I add a little vegetable broth the the zucchini at the end. add in the poasta, a little pasta water to thicken. Voila. Dinner.

  32. Honestly my favorite zucchini dish is just roasted zucchini. Next favorite is fried zucchini, crispy breading and a lovely marinara sauce for dipping!

  33. It’s boring, but I love steamed zucchini with butter and garlic. Nothing fancy, but always hits the spot! :)

  34. Allison — 11/30/10 @ 1:44 pm

    I love all types of zucchini recipes, but my fave would be plain and simple — slices in planks, or tranches, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with salt and ground pepper, and grilled!

  35. Nicole — 11/30/10 @ 1:45 pm

    Strangely, I love making zucchini crisp! It tastes just like an apple crisp!

  36. Melissa Wheeler — 11/30/10 @ 1:45 pm
  37. Melissa Wheeler — 11/30/10 @ 1:45 pm

    Nice lens! It would look nice on my Canon :)

  38. Joe — 11/30/10 @ 1:46 pm

    My family used to grow zucchini when I was younger, so during the summer we had plenty of zucchini.

    My favorite recipe would probably be as simple as steamed zucchini. Zucchini bread is in a close second.

  39. Kaname650 — 11/30/10 @ 1:46 pm

    It’s either fried zucchini or grilled with a little parmesan melted on top, but these boats look like a winner!!!

  40. Lisa Morrow — 11/30/10 @ 1:46 pm

    My dad’s zucchini fritters. Unbelievably fantastic!

  41. Jeff — 11/30/10 @ 1:46 pm

    I’m kind of plain … love the fried zucchini chips!

  42. clara — 11/30/10 @ 1:46 pm

    zucchini coffee cake! :D

  43. Christy Enfield — 11/30/10 @ 1:47 pm

    I just love it plain roasted with olive oil and little salt and pepper. I never was a fan until I had it this way. Sometimes less is more. Please let me win the lens!!


  44. Aibrean — 11/30/10 @ 1:47 pm

    I LOVE zucchini bread. It’s really simple, and everyone loves its natural moistness. I could eat it all day!

  45. Cathy — 11/30/10 @ 1:48 pm

    I love my zucchini strips deep fried!

  46. Jennifer D — 11/30/10 @ 1:49 pm

    Zucchini bread. Without a doubt.

  47. Adrienne — 11/30/10 @ 1:50 pm

    I agree that zucchini bread is amazing…but for a more savory dish — my favorite is Baked Halibut Steaks topped with zucchini, tomatoes, basil and crumbled feta. It is so, so good! Here is the recipe: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/baked-halibut-steaks/Detail.aspx


  48. Food Lover Kathy — 11/30/10 @ 1:50 pm

    Zucchini gratin is my favorite!