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Mexican Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

$7.33 Recipe/$1.83 Serving

Mexican vegan zucchini boats are the perfect vegan side dish or meal. Stuffed with mushrooms, walnut and salsa, these Mexican vegan stuffed zucchini are packed with flavor and so easy to make! These stuffed Mexican zucchini boats are vegan, Whole30, low carb and keto friendly.

Overhead shot of Two Mexican Stuffed Zucchini Boat Recipe on 2 white plates stacked on top of each other with an avocado in the background

Why you will love this recipe

  • These taco stuffed zucchini boats are packed full of flavor and so simple. Great vegan dinner or a simple side dish for any Mexican inspired meal.
  • Ready in 30 minutes, these Mexican zucchini boats are the perfect use for all the summer zucchini growing in your garden.
  • Mexican vegetarian stuffed zucchini use easy to find ingredients and are easy to double or triple if you are serving a crowd.
Ingredients to make Mexican stuffed zucchini boats.
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Ingredients

  • Zucchini – perfect for stuffing, zucchini is neutral in flavor and will easily take on any flavors you stuff inside. I like to sprinkle the zucchini with some salt and spices to ensure the entire zucchini is well seasoned, not just the seasoning.
  • White button mushrooms – mushrooms are a great alternative to ground beef and along with the chopped walnuts really help take the place of ground meat.
  • Red onion – red onion helps to add more depth of flavor and also adds crunch to the filling.
  • Walnuts – these add crunch and make this dish much more filling. Chopped walnuts and mushrooms together make a very meaty texture and are a great vegan substitute for ground meat.
  • Red wine vinegar – vinegar helps to cut through the tomato paste and remove any of the “canned” flavor. It’s also a great way to brighten the ingredients to make the entire dish more flavorful.
  • Tomato paste – tomato paste is a great way to get deep flavor into a dish as the tomatoes are cooked down into a concentrated paste. Tomato paste also helps add to the umami of the dish.
  • Salsa – premade salsa is my secret weapon to getting intense flavor into a quick cooking dish. Use whatever your favorite salsa is.
  • Spices: Chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder & salt – these help to elevate the Mexican flavors from the salsa and provide a ton of flavor!

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Start by prepping the zucchini. Cut off the top and the bottom and cut the zucchini in half from top to bottom.

Use a teaspoon and scrape out the seeds, being sure not to go through the bottom of the zucchini. I discard the seeds, but you could keep them and add them to the cooking mixture to bulk it up.

How to cut and deseed zucchini for stuffing.

Once the zucchini has been de-seeded, add them to the baking dish. Sprinkle the zucchini with a mixture of salt and chili powder and bake 400F for 15-20 minutes until soft but not mushy.

Uncooked zucchini boats before baking.

While the zucchini is cooking, preheat a large skillet over medium heat.

Chop the mushrooms. Pray the skillet with non-stick (olive oil or avocado oil) and add the mushrooms. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not salt.

Sliced mushrooms on a cutting board.

While mushrooms are cooking, chop the onion. After the mushrooms have cooked 3-5 minutes and are releasing most of the water in them, add the onions and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cooked mushrooms and red onions in a skillet.

Once mushrooms and onions are cooking, quickly chop walnuts (you could use a food processor for this as well).

Chopped walnuts on a cutting board.

Once onions start to cook down and mushrooms have released most of their liquid and are starting to brown, add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

Mexican stuffed zucchini filling in a skillet before and after mixing.

Take zucchini out of the oven. Carefully spoon the mushroom walnut mixture into the cooked zucchini boats and bake at 400F for 5 more minutes.

Stuffing being added to zucchini boats.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Top tips

  • Zucchini takes longer to cook if you stuff it before baking. Because of this, I recommend you cook the zucchini alone in the baking pan while you are making the filling. Once the zucchini is soft, add the filling and cook for 5 minutes in the oven to let all the flavors come together.
  • If you are short on time, instead of slicing the mushrooms, add them to a food processor and pulse to break them up. This is a great tip especially if you are doubling the recipe.
  • Make these more of a meal by adding protein, carbs or both. You could add chickpeas, black beans or lentils to keep this vegan or ground beef or ground turkey (cooked) if you are not vegan. Another great option would be to add some cooked rice or quinoa to mushroom and walnut mixture to make it more filling.
White ceramic dish filled with Mexican Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini boat recipe over a blue lined napkin with pinterest text on the bottom

Additions to Mexican stuffed zucchini

How to prep this dish ahead of time

Deseed and prepare the zucchini ahead of time. You can store the zucchini in the fridge like this for 1-2 days covered.

If you wanted to, you could also cook the zucchini so that it’s soft and only needs to be reheated before serving. To do this, cook the zucchini for 10-15 minutes at 400F. The zucchini will cook again as you are reheating the dish so it will soften more in the oven at that time.

Prepare the filling ahead, allow it to cool and then you can stuff it in the cooked zucchini. If you are not going to cook the zucchini ahead, store it in a well-sealed container until cooking.

The day of:

  • Unbaked zucchini: Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Add the filling and cook 5-10 minutes to heat up the filling and finish cooking the zucchini.
  • For baked, stuffed zucchini: Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes until zucchini and stuffing is hot and zucchini are soft.
Two Mexican Stuffed Zucchini Boat Recipe on 2 white plates stacked on top of each other with an avocado in the background

Storing leftover zucchini boats

Store leftovers in a well sealed container for up to 5 days in the fridge. You could also chop up leftover zucchini and serve it like a hash or in tacos the next day.

I would not recommend freezing this dish, as the zucchini will get very watery when reheating.  You could freeze the filling in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.

Substitutions

  • Zucchini: You could also use yellow summer squash or bell peppers in place of the zucchini. For yellow squash, follow all the same steps. For bell peppers, cut them in half, remove the seeds and white membrane and bake ahead 10-15 minutes in the oven. Stuff with stuffing and cook 5 more minutes. You will likely only get 2 peppers (4 halves) out of this filling.
  • Mushrooms: If you don’t love mushrooms, you could use lentils, black beans or ground beef/turkey in place of the mushrooms. You will want about 2 cups of lentils or black beans or a pound of ground beef/turkey. If using ground meat, you can exclude or reduce the walnuts as well.
  • Red onion: onion helps to provide some flavor and crunch. You could use any color onion you have, or you could use shallots or green onion tops. If you don’t tolerate onion or don’t have any on hand, just omit from the recipe.
  • Walnuts: The walnuts along with mushrooms create a ground meat like consistency and the walnuts help to make the dish more filling. You could also use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds or cashews in place of walnuts. If you are using ground meat, you can omit the walnuts completely without substituting them.
  • Tomato paste: Tomato paste helps to make the filling have a deep, rich taste even though it only cooks for a few minutes. If you don’t have tomato paste, you can omit this, but know that you won’t get quite the same flavor.
  • Salsa: Salsa really helps to quickly transform the filling into a well spiced, well-seasoned filling. You could use some canned diced tomatoes (mostly drained) and 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo (well chopped) mixed together if you don’t have any salsa on hand.
  • Spices: The spices are meant to help add more flavor to the dish. If you don’t have any of these spices, you can omit them.
Overhead shot of Two Mexican Stuffed Zucchini Boat Recipe on 2 white plates stacked on top of each other with an avocado and a white ceramic dish filled with stuffed zucchini

If you love this recipe, you should try

  • Vegan Italian Stuffed Zucchini
  • Zucchini pasta salad
  • Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice
  • 10 Minute Taco Chicken Skillet
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White ceramic dish filled with Mexican Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini boat recipe over a blue lined napkin

Mexican Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

$7.33 Recipe/$1.83 Serving
Mexican Vegan Stuffed Zucchini is the perfect meatless meal or side dish! Vegan, low carb, paleo, Whole30, grain free and gluten free, this recipe is packed with flavor and is so simple to make. Ready in 30 minutes, and can easily be doubled to feed a crowd. Great for meal prep too! 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: stuffed zucchini boats, stuffed zucchini recipe, vegetarian stuffed zucchini
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Mexican Stuffing

Instructions

  •  Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Slice the zucchini in half the long way, creating 2 long halves. 
  • Using a spoon, spoon out the seeds by running the spoon down the center, applying pressure to carve out the center area. This will leave a cavity to be filled with stuffing. 
  • Place all the zucchini on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with 1/4 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp chili powder. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat large skillet over medium heat.
  • While the zucchini are baking, slice the mushrooms and add them to the hot skillet sprayed with olive oil spray or avocado oil spray. Cook the mushrooms 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While mushrooms are cooking, chop the red onions.
  • After mushrooms have given off much of their liquid and are starting to brown, add red onions and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Chop the walnuts. Add the rest of the ingredients (tomato paste, red wine vinegar, salsa, salt and spices) to the mushroom and onion mixture. Stir well. Cook 2-3 more minutes.
  • After 15-20 minutes, the zucchini should have softened in the oven. Remove them from the oven and divide the mushroom mixture between them. 
  • Return the stuffed zucchini to the 400F oven for 5 additional minutes. 

Notes

Tips: 
  • Zucchini takes longer to cook if you stuff it before baking. Because of this, I recommend you cook the zucchini alone in the baking pan while you are making the filling. Once the zucchini is soft, add the filling and cook for 5 minutes in the oven to let all the flavors come together.
  • If you are short on time, instead of slicing the mushrooms, add them to a food processor and pulse to break them up. This is a great tip especially if you are doubling the recipe.
  • Make these more of a meal by adding protein, carbs or both. You could add chickpeas, black beans or lentils to keep this vegan or ground beef or ground turkey (cooked) if you are not vegan. Another great option would be to add some cooked rice or quinoa to mushroom and walnut mixture to make it more filling.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
270
Fat
 
20
g
Carbohydrates
 
18
g
Fiber
 
6
g
Sugar
 
10
g
Protein
 
10
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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