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Southwest Zucchini Boats Recipe

Southwest Zucchini Boats Recipe

These fun “boats” are packed with a tasty taco meat filling that’s both hearty and family-friendly. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 25 min. YIELD:4 servings


  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • Sour cream, optional


  • 1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; cut a thin slice from the bottom of each with a sharp knife to allow zucchini to sit flat. Scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4-in. shells.
  • 2. Place shells in an ungreased 3-qt. microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.
  • 3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Remove from the heat; stir in the salsa, bread crumbs, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup cheese. Spoon into zucchini shells.
  • 4. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 4 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Microwave 3-4 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and zucchini are tender. Serve with sour cream if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
Editor's Note: This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave.

Nutritional Facts

2 each: 387 calories, 23g fat (11g saturated fat), 95mg cholesterol, 618mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 30g protein.

Reviews for Southwest Zucchini Boats

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jiljilsch User ID: 8294399 231038
Reviewed Aug. 10, 2015

"These were divine! I didn't microwave the zucchini prior to baking and they turned out fine. Wouldn't change a thing about this recipe, so good!"

tmanella User ID: 3039175 106355
Reviewed Aug. 24, 2014

"Love this! I used Italian sausage and added garlic."

MaryAliceH User ID: 7877378 129511
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2014

"Had a long day at work and made these for dinner. I was going to pre-cook the zucchini in the microwave and then finish up in the oven but decided to cook them as written?and I'm glad I did. How easy?how delicious. We were eating one hour after I got home and that included changing my clothes and going to the garden to pick the zucchini. I used just under 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef so upped the salsa and seasoning amounts a bit. Did not have fresh cilantro but used fresh curly leaf parsley from the garden for a bit of freshness. Just the two of us so we have dinner for tomorrow already made!!! My husband said this recipe is a keeper!!!"

eyeball4 User ID: 2602555 211787
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2014

"this never says anything about adding the scooped out zucchini!! R U supposed to slice it, cube it, what????????"

dvierzen User ID: 7402990 178681
Reviewed Aug. 2, 2014

"Delicious and so easy to make! My husband loved these!"

hitza User ID: 6053233 192105
Reviewed Jul. 22, 2014

"Whole family loved it!!"

rwippel User ID: 4262008 190374
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2014

"This was so delicious, I couldn't believe it! It was the perfect combination of spices. It was easy. I used beef for my boats and served it along side pesto orzo. Bottom line: quick, easy, and delicious!"

youngbuck User ID: 4827127 147167
Reviewed Sep. 14, 2011

"Excellent flavor. Although I prefer cubing the zucchini, mixing the guts with the rest of the ingredients and using a small casserole dish rather than making boats."

lucillekuj User ID: 5980038 111545
Reviewed Aug. 4, 2011

"These were excellent! Though the zucchini is rather bland, the stuffing is spicy enough to give each bite lots of taste. They were easy and fast to make also - without even using the oven."

jessescrew User ID: 3432350 173658
Reviewed Aug. 2, 2011

"These were very good. I used dried cilantro because I didn't have fresh-I think fresh would make it even better. I added some extra salsa because I added the scooped out zucchini to the ground beef mixture. Very easy using the microwave and nice not to have to turn the oven on."

Linda L S User ID: 5894180 129510
Reviewed Jul. 26, 2011

"Very good. Just in time for zucchini season! I'm using the leftover to bake a chocolate zucchini cake tonight."

kda1114 User ID: 1008087 173647
Reviewed Mar. 9, 2011

"These were delicious! I'm vegetarian, so used Morningstar crumbles, instead of ground beef. Yummmm!"

taniamarie81 User ID: 5529493 121886
Reviewed Oct. 27, 2010

"I thought this recipe was absolutely delicious! The changes I made were: I used ground turkey, dried cilantro, added a couple dashes of cayenne for heat, and added extra cheese. I also cooked them in the oven; I microwaved the shells for 2 min, and then baked them with filling for about 20 min at 350 degrees. This will be my guide for taco and nacho meat from now on!!!"

Susan W User ID: 4125016 211786
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2010

"You know when your 8 year old daughter eats it and asks for more, you have a recipe that definitely is a hit. We'll be making this again and again and again."

joniotto User ID: 1827180 188129
Reviewed Aug. 18, 2010

"I have to admit that I was skeptical of the microwave cooking method...but I tried it anyway and it turned out great! I followed the recipe as written except I added dried cilantro instead of fresh since I didn't have any fresh cilantro on hand. These were quick, easy, & delicious."

lizardstew User ID: 5087893 192102
Reviewed Aug. 17, 2010

"Delish! Next time I'll season the zucchini a bit before I put them in the microwave."

vbraunie User ID: 5107640 211785
Reviewed Jul. 30, 2010

"I too was skeptical about microwaving them. I wanted to grill them, but it was raining so I put them in the oven. Left out the cilantro since I don't like it. These were great. I served them to company and they loved them."

dot1212 User ID: 722372 129509
Reviewed Jul. 25, 2010

"When I made this recipe, I was not sure my DH would like it. It was a hit and I will definitely make it again. For once, I did not deviate from the original recipe and cannot think of any improvements I would make."

CookingWiggles User ID: 546835 106352
Reviewed Jun. 20, 2010

"I was concerned when I saw that this recipe was cooked in the microwave but when it was done it was great! We will make it again."

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