A perfect Spring or Summer meal, this Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini is full of bright, fresh Summer flavors the whole family will love! My grandmother used to make a recipe like this, and she called them "zucchini boats". I tried to make them a little healthier and a full, meatless Monday dinner option that can be served with a side salad. You could also serve these along side a piece of grilled chicken, if you would prefer. Both would be delicious!
What's in this Recipe?
Zucchini- If you are growing a garden, you know that in the Summer zucchini grow wild. According to thekitchn.com, one plant produces enough zucchini for most people to consume throughout the season, and you will probably be looking for tons of ways to cook it by the end of the Summer. I used the traditional green zucchini, but now a days there are tons of different Summer squash varieties. Any of those varieties will work in this recipe.
Quinoa- To up the nutrition in this recipe and make it more filling, I chose to add quinoa to the filling. In things like stuffed peppers, people often use rice. I thought that quinoa would be a nice, light change of pace, but if you prefer you can definitely use rice in this recipe.
Basil and tomatoes- The smell of basil is basically the smell of Summer for me. In this recipe, we want to use fresh basil and fresh tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes or two medium plum tomatoes would work perfectly. If you did not have fresh basil on hand, you could use dried instead but try to get fresh basil. There is really nothing that can compare to the taste and smell of fresh basil.
How to Make this Recipe
You'll want to cook your quinoa first. Cook it according to package instructions, but in general you'll want to cook it with a 2 to 1 ratio. That means, two cups of water per 1 cup of quinoa. It usually takes about 15 minutes to cook, but again, check the package instructions.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the ends off the zucchini and slice them in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the insides of the squash. Spray a large 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and line the zucchini in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake the zucchini for 15 minutes. They should still be quite hard when they are done, this is just to prebake them and let them get a head start on the cooking.
Chop the onion and meat of the zucchini and add it to a sauté pan coated with olive oil. Cook that for 5-8 minutes on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the zucchini is cooked. Add that to a bowl.
Chop the tomatoes and discard the seeds from the inside of the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and the chopped basil to the bowl with the onions. Add one cup of the cooked quinoa. Stir everything to combine and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Take the dish of zucchini out of the oven and carefully add the filling to the zucchini. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the zucchini is tender. Enjoy!
Questions about this Recipe
Definitely! You can put everything together and stuff the zucchini. Then, place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it off for the final time. I would not recommend freezing these, though. Zucchini holds a lot of moisture and freezing them will make them very soggy. You won't get the nice, tender bite to the zucchini once you defrost them.
Yes! If you wanted to make this even more flavorful and full of protein, add ground turkey or ground chicken to the recipe. You can cook that when you are cooking the zucchini meat and the onions. That would be a delicious addition to bulk up this recipe.
To make this vegan, you can skip the cheese all together or add your favorite non dairy cheese to the top. I used cheddar here, but you could use whatever your favorite vegan cheese is. That would be wonderful!
Other Recipes to Try!
Did you give this Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini recipe try? I’d love to hear from you! Give me a shout on Instagram or Facebook and let me know (@Lynnswayoflife) !
- Spring Pea Risotto
- Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Broccoli Cheddar Quiche with Tortilla Crust
- Gnocchi with Cherry Tomato Sauce
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Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
- 3 Zucchini Medium sized
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil For Sautéing
- 1 Small Onion Diced
- 1 cup Cooked Quinoa
- 2 Small Tomatoes Chopped
- 2 tbsp Fresh chopped basil
- ½ cup Cheddar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Set that aside.
- Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cut the cleaned and ends taken off zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides carefully with a spoon and set them aside. Place the zucchini flesh side up in the baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes.
- Chop the onion and zucchini flesh and sauté in olive oil for 5-8 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the zucchini meat is cooked. Add that to a medium bowl.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the inside juice and seeds. Discard that part. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the bowl of onions and zucchini. Chop the basil and add it to the bowl. Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl and mix to combine.
- Take the zucchini out of the oven and carefully add the quinoa mixture to the zucchini. Top with cheddar cheese and bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy immediately.