Growing up in the country, it’s just a given that you will have a large garden – at least it was for my family. Every year my Dad would hoe, fertilize, and then plant everything we would need to get us through the summer, fall, and winter. We always planted jalapenos, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, green onions, but among all of those, I think yellow squash and zucchini must’ve been my Dad’s favorite thing to plant because we always had an over-abundance of them. Growing up, one of my chores was always to water the garden and then pick the produce. Watering the garden was boring but otherwise, I didn’t mind it much. Now, picking the produce was a different story entirely. I absolutely hated having to go through the garden and harvest our hard earned vegetables because of the strange bugs I would find hiding among the leaves and flowering blossoms of the plants – especially the squash and zucchini.
Apparently Stink Bugs love zucchini because I got the scare of my life one day while picking a zucchini and accidentally grabbing a hold of the biggest Stink Bug I think I’ve ever encountered. I ran from the garden screaming in terror and left my mom to finish the job. I don’t think she was overly thrilled about that. haha! Whether you are using garden-fresh zucchini or store bought, I assure you, these Taco Zucchini Boats will be Stink Bug free and absolutely, 100% delicious!
First off, let’s start with a large skillet and about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil (I used Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Heat the oil in the skillet on medium high heat until it is hot and ready, then add in 1/2 of a diced white onion and 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic into the skillet with the oil. Stir the onion, garlic, and oil together and saute the onion until it is translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic while you’re at it – burned garlic is yucky!
Once your garlic and diced onion is sauteed, add in 1 pound of lean ground beef. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to crumble the beef into smaller pieces as it browns – lean ground turkey can also be used in this recipe in place of lean ground beef for a lower calorie/lower fat option.
Once the lean ground beef is added in, sprinkle 1/2 a packet of mild Taco Seasoning over the beef and stir it into the meat as the meat cooks.
Once the meat is cooked, set it aside and get started on your zucchini. Take 3 large zucchini’s, rinse any dirt from them, then slice them in half vertically, leaving the stems in place. We won’t eat the stems, but they do make the zucchini boats look nicer so I left them on for presentation sake.
Now that the zucchini’s are halved, we are going to hollow the middle out to create a cavity for the meat and other ingredients to fit in. I used the edge of a spoon to draw a line all the way around the middle of the zucchini where I wanted to hollow it out. Once the “line” was drawn, I began digging my spoon in (carefully! You don’t want to use too much force and end up cutting the zucchini all the way through the skin on the back) and scooping out the “innards”.
When you get the inside of the zucchini’s hollowed out, you can either save what you scooped out, chop it up, and add it to your ground beef mixture, or you can discard it.
Grab a 9×13 inch casserole dish and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Line the zucchini up in the pan to where the hollowed out part is facing up, toward you. (Note: I used an 8×8 pan here but I highly recommend using a 9×13 so that you don’t have to cook the zucchini’s in batches of 3.)
Begin filling the zucchini boats with the taco meat, and just evenly divide the meat between the 6 zucchini halves.
Once the Taco Zucchini Boats are full of the taco meat, add some Fire Roasted diced tomatoes on each one. You could save yourself a step and just mix the fire roasted diced tomatoes in with the taco meat once it’s cooked, but my husband doesn’t like tomatoes so I opted to keep them out of the meat so that I could make some zucchini boats for him that didn’t have the tomatoes on them.
Now that you’ve got the zucchini boats filled with the taco meat and diced tomatoes, sprinkle some shredded cheese (Colby, American, and Pepper Jack are all good choices) over the tops of the zucchini boats. I used 1 cup of cheese and divided it evenly over all 6 zucchini boats, but if you like more cheese just add it accordingly.
Place the Taco Zucchini Boats in the preheated oven and bake at 375F for 15 minutes or until the zucchini’s are tender and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, drizzle with Ranch Dressing, and enjoy!
I love to serve these Taco Zucchini Boats with a tossed green salad, refried beans, and cauliflower Mexican Rice.
As always, thank you so very much for taking time out of your day to step into my kitchen and see what I have been cooking. Happy Summer, my friends!
Taco Zucchini Boats
A delicious, low carb/Keto friendly taco boat with ground beef, tomatoes, cheese, and a Ranch dressing drizzle.
- 3 large zucchinis halved
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/2 packet mild taco seasoning
- 1/2 white onion diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 10 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 8 oz shredded Colby cheese
- Ranch Dressing garnish
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Wash zucchinis under cool water to remove any dirt, then cut them down the center from top to bottom.
Use a spoon to scoop out the middle of the zucchini. You can either set the scooped out part of the zucchini aside to add to the ground beef or discard it.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet and allow it to heat on medium high heat until hot.
Add in the diced onion and minced garlic and sautee until the onion is translucent.
Once the onion and garlic are sautéed, add in the ground beef and taco seasoning.
Use your spatula to crumble the ground beef while it cooked. Cook until cooked through and brown.
Place the halved and hollowed out zucchinis in a 9x13 casserole dish and then fill them with the ground beef, diced tomatoes, and top equally with the shredded cheese.
Bake the zucchini boats at 375F for 15 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted.
Serve the zucchini boats with Ranch dressing drizzled on top and enjoy!
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Also Shared at Foodie Friday Link Party
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Shared at What’s for Dinner