Recipe | Taco Stuffed Zucchini

Taco Stuffed Zucchini
Sometimes when I post a recipe during the summer months that requires baking in an oven, I get all sorts of, “I’ll make this when summer is over and I can use the oven again” comments. This was the first time I realized that there are a lot of people who object to using their oven when it’s hot outside. So if you are one of those people, well, you might be able to grill these. (I’ll leave it to you to figure out how.)

For me, I can’t imagine not using my oven for any length of time. Even when we lived in a closet-sized apartment with no a/c and an ancient oven that got almost as hot on the outside as it did on the inside, I used my oven during the summer. No amount of discomfort is going to keep me from baking things! And some of my favorite summer foods are made in the oven–slow-roasted tomatoes, stuffed zucchini, and fruit leather made with fresh fruit.

Taco Stuffed Zucchini
I’ve posted a stuffed zucchini recipe here before, but the stuffing in that recipe is made of onions, zucchini, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. This Taco Stuffed Zucchini is closer to the kind of stuffed zucchini I grew up on as a kid. My mom would make it with ground beef and lots and lots of cheese. We used to harvest insane amounts of zucchini from our little backyard garden, so stuffed zucchini and zucchini bread were both summertime staples at our house.

Well, obviously, my stuffed zucchini doesn’t have ground beef in it–I used tempeh instead. If you haven’t used tempeh before, this is a good recipe to start with! You might want to take a look at my post on how to use tempeh. The great thing about tempeh is that it crumbles up to make a perfect substitute for ground beef and it takes on the flavor of whatever you add to it. My mom’s recipe didn’t add much of anything to the meat, but since I’m not crazy about the flavor of tempeh on its own, I added taco seasonings, with a healthy dose of cayenne to make my stuffed zucchini spicy. I used cheese both in and on the filling, and I threw in some corn because it’s summer and I kind of have to throw corn in everything. (What can I say? I love corn.)

Taco Stuffed Zucchini? Totally worth turning your oven on for this summer.

Taco Stuffed Zucchini

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Taco Stuffed Zucchini

Vegetarian tacos in stuffed zucchini form! Top them with cilantro, sour cream, and whatever else you like on your tacos.

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne (or less if you prefer your filling milder)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 ear corn, kernels removed (or 1/2 cup frozen corn)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/4 c. vegetable broth
  • 3/4 c. Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips, hot sauce, and other taco fixins for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise, then scoop out the insides. Discard the insides or use them for something else. (I'm not sure what you can use zucchini insides for, but you're clever and I'm sure you'll figure something out. I compost mine.)
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and spices (chili powder through cayenne). Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring often. Stir in the tempeh, corn, and jalapeños and cook until they're beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes, continuing to stir often. Add the tomatoes and broth to the skillet and cook until the liquid has absorbed, about 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup of cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Fill each zucchini half with the tempeh mixture, then top with the remaining cheese. Transfer zucchini to a baking dish or sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are browned. Serve with cilantro, lime wedges, and other taco-y things.
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Kiersten Frase

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies. She loves cooking, trashy reality shows, and Hello Kitty. Kiersten also blogs about blogging at kierstenfrase.com.   Read more from Kiersten →

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Comments

  1. says

    If you’re afraid of using the oven in the summer you should just get a toaster oven. Since it’s smaller it creates less heat and it works just as well. You just might have to cook your zucchini in shifts, depending on the size of it.

    • Colleen says

      I also roast veggies most of my veggies ahead of time, either at night when it is cooler or right before we go out for the day. I would roast the boats the night before, then just cook the filling on the stove and just melt the cheese on the broiler before serving.

  2. says

    Made this tonight: a super easy and tasty recipe! Had a lot of the tempeh mixture left over (perhaps I bought small zucchinis), so I just added some black beans, frozen spinach, and cilantro to make a simple side dish. Thanks!

  3. says

    These are great Kiersten! A lot like the Greek version “papoutsakia” which literally translates as “little shoes”… because these things look like little shoes apparently… I love all the flavours and spices in your recipe.

  4. Scotia48 says

    This sounds like a really good recipe….except for the tempeh. When my zucchini comes in, I will probably use shredded carrot and thinly sliced green bell pepper as a substitute for the tempeh as I do not like a meat substitute. Do you have any other substitutes to use maybe? Pretty please with sugar on it???

  5. says

    This sounds absolutely amazing! My zucchini is starting to gain momentum in the garden, I can’t wait to stuff some. I can never go more than a day without turning on my oven, no matter what the temperature.

  6. Katie says

    So, when I clicked ont his recipe I just knew it would be made with lentils and nope!! I think the tempeh is a great idea and I bet you’d still get a great taco taste with lentils, some veggies and taco seasoning (to cheat a little)! I’ll have to try this recipe!

    Thanks!

    • Kiersten Frase says

      I think lentils would work fine! When I use them as a ground beef sub, I undercook them ever-so-slightly, then pulse them in my food processor. It gives them a bit of that ground beef texture.

  7. says

    I’m one of those people who will eat ice cream all year long, and use the oven all year long too! Plus, I don’t have my own BBQ so I wouldn’t want to rule out the oven as a cooking method just because it’s hot out. Love your idea for stuffed zucchini – stuffed veggies is one thing I’ve never made myself!

  8. Marlies says

    Oh man, these are amazing! I added some chipotle chili powder to the spice mix and loved it. What a great recipe :)

  9. says

    As much as I’d like not turning on my oven during the hot, hot summer, the fact is, I could never do it. I like cookies too much, and you can’t grill those. I love these taco-themed stuffed zucchini. Yum!

    • Kiersten Frase says

      Well, I bet some intrepid blogger has tried grilling cookies, but yes, I agree–going an entire season without cookies would be a sad, sad thing!

  10. Carmen says

    I made this dish last night and left out the cheese because I’m not a fan. This dish is SENSATIONAL. Thanks for the recipe – we love anything with roasted zucchini.

  11. says

    Really good! Do you pre cook the empty zucchini? Mine took an hour to cook…
    I’m going to use the extra zucchini pulp like mashed potatoes! I’ll steam and add soymilk, salt and pepper and vegan butter : )

    • Kiersten Frase says

      No, I don’t precook the zucchini. I prefer the zucchini to be firm, but if you want it to be softer, it could definitely add onto the cooking time. Glad you enjoyed the recipe! :)

  12. istuke says

    Our neighbor gave us several little yellow summer squash. They were calling me to be filled! I made this recipe, but for the meat eaters in my family, I used part lean ground beef and part mushrooms (chopped in the food processor to about the size of cooked ground beef) instead of the tempeh. We’re almost to the point I could substitute all mushroom, but they aren’t quite there, yet.

    Everyone loved them – includimg 2 elementary-aged boys!

  13. Monica says

    YUM. Just made these for dinner and they’re awesome. I think I may even be able to get my carnivore boyfriend to eat them!

  14. Nisha says

    I totally just made this.. except what I did was I used 6 zucchinis (tripled the rest of the ingred). I just sauteed the zucchinis in their own pan and then added them to the cooked tempeh/spice mixture. I assembled with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, guacamole, and cheese in a tortilla. YUM!

  15. says

    Made these last night and they were SO good. If anyone is wondering how these are with out cheese, they are still amazing. I served it with homemade cilantro lime rice and hot sauce. There was a lot of leftover filling, so we just ate it over the rice today with hot sauce. This is a seriously delicious recipe and I can’t didn’t stuff zucchini before now!

  16. Alyssa says

    I made these tonight and they were great, along with the freezer burritos! I do wish i had had some sour cream though… none-the-less, even my “must eat meat” husband liked them and said they had similar texture to the real thing so he would eat them again. Can’t wait to try the burritos at work tomorrow.

    BTW, thank you SOOO much for this website, it has made being a pescetarian so much easier and my “must eat meat” husband has even asked me to make several recipes again! LIFESAVER!

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