Southwestern Stuffed Zucchini

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You’ve probably had stuffed peppers and stuffed shells. But have you had the luxury of biting into warm stuffed zucchini? If not, hop on the stuffed zucchini bandwagon ASAP! This recipe delivers indulgent flavor with a southwestern twist. Zucchini insides are easy to scoop out, leaving a sturdy shell that retains its shape and a soft taste after baking.

Once baked, these boat-like structures are loaded with a bold, grainy mixture of ground meat, red salsa, and quinoa for a killer combination of protein, fiber, and vitamins. The cheddar cheese sprinkled on top transforms into an irresistibly gooey topping after baking. This healthy, protein-packed Southwestern Stuffed Zucchini makes the perfect satisfying snack guaranteed to curb cravings later on.

Southwestern Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

Southwestern Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

Yields: 6 servings | Serving Size: 2-3 rounds | Calories: 293 | Total Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 862mg | Carbohydrates: 27g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Protein: 25g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 8


  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced into 4 or 5 thick rounds each (as pictured)
  • 1 pound ground lean ground turkey, optional chicken or beef
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups red salsa, no sugar added
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse quinoa to clean and place in a small pot. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, to lightly toast. Add 1-1/4 cup water, increase heat to high, and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot. Cook for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is springy when fluffed with a fork.
  3. Place the ground turkey in a skillet over medium heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use a tablespoon or a small ice cream scooper to scoop out the inside of each zucchini round carefully, making sure to leave the bottoms intact.
  4. Mix the cooked quinoa, ground turkey, and half of the salsa. Using a tablespoon, stuff each round of the zucchini with a heaping amount of the mixture. Place carefully on the sheet tray. Repeat with every slice of zucchini. Sprinkle the cheddar over all of the rounds.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, topping each with the remaining salsa and rotating the pan halfway through cooking time, until all of the zucchini are cooked through. Enjoy!

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