Oh zucchini. I love you, but you’re seriously cramping my style. And filling up my fridge. I guess farms are experiencing a plethora of zucchini this year because it’s been non-stop stocked up in the CSA box. And from listening to others on Twitter, I’m not the only one experiencing this. What to do; what to do. I finally decided to use it as a substitution in one of my favorite dishes. We frequently have taco night in our house because a) they are one of the most delicious foods in the world and b) they’re so easy to make and I’ve whipped them up so many times that I could do it with my eyes closed. No joke; I want to try. Besides the fact that I might get raw turkey everywhere in my kitchen and I may chop my finger off when cutting tomatoes (I just got new Wusthof knives and they are sharp!), I really believe I could do it. Challenge me, anyone?
But since zucchini was exploding out of my fridge and taco shells aren’t always the healthiest option, I decided to turn zucchini into my taco shells. And it worked. Maybe it wouldn’t trick the kids. But then, I don’t have kids; so that shouldn’t be an issue. It was certainly satisfying and wonderful tasting and made me realize I didn’t miss the taco shell so much, after all.
Mexican Zucchini Boats (serves 4):
Print this recipe!
- 4 zucchini
- 1 1/2 T olive oil
- 1 C chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 T chopped jalapeno
- 1 1/2 t Chili powder
- 1/2 t Cumin
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/4 C grated sharp cheddar cheese
Start by preparing your zucchini. Mine were of various sizes and that’s fine. I mean, there was no way I was going to go to the grocery store to buy same-size zucchini when I had all these beautiful babies (plus more… trust me, there was more).
I scooped all the flesh out of the zucchini with a spoon, being careful not to break through the skin. See? They’re like little boats now! Some people opt to throw away the flesh, but since I wanted to make a healthier taco, I knew I wanted to keep it and utilize it. So, I put it on a cutting board and chopped it up.
Place zucchini “boats” in a large baking dish.
In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, garlic, and zucchini pulp.
Sprinkle with chili powder cumin and add in jalapeño peppers too. Stir.
Now, add turkey to the mixture and cook for about 7 minutes, breaking turkey up with spoon as you go.
When turkey is cooked through remove from heat and place in bowl. Stir in tomatoes.
Now, fill zucchini boats with filling. Easy. It’s OK if they’re overflowing a little bit. Correction: It’s a wonderful thing if they’re overflowing a little bit.
Sprinkle with cheese (I prefer a sharp cheese, like Cabot’s Extra Sharp) and bake for about 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees… Basically until zucchinis are all tender and cheese is all melty.
And yum! So, it’s not a taco shell (obviously). But it is a delicious and healthy alternative.
Which means you can eat more. If you want.
You can also top with salsa and sour cream (or Greek yogurt) if you choose. Add anything to these that you would add to your favorite tacos.
I clearly love Mexican food, but once hollowed out, the options of what you can do with zucchini are endless. aside from filling with ice cream (which I admit, I’m kind of tempted to do… ice cream boat!!), you could fill with any combination of meat and veggies. Perhaps quinoa? I almost added quinoa to my mix, but since I already had quinoa for breakfast and lunch, I figured I needed a break.
But quinoa or brown rice would really be fabulous. Then again, if you want to declare zucchini the only healthy part of this dish, you could totally make cheeseburger zucchini boats. With bacon, obvi. Nobody here judges. Or at least they better not or else I’ve been judged to the moon and back.
As I was writing this post, I got this week’s farm share box and guess what? No zucchini! Are we freed from zucchini imprisonment? What we do have are some marvelous smelling peaches (I can’t bear to bake with them and I’ll likely just chomp on them as is) and lots and lots of corn. I never have a problem finding things to make with corn, so here I go!
And if the zucchini returns… I am SO ready.
What would you put in your zucchini boats?