Whether you’ve got a bumper crop of zucchini from the garden or just want to feast on something deliciously different, these Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef are a family-friendly meal that’s flavorful and easy to pull together. With big, bold Southwestern flavors, every bite is amazing. The best part is that these are fun and easy to make, and everyone loves them!

Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef

Blank Form (#3)

WANT TO SAVE THIS RECIPE?
Enter your email below and we'll send the recipe straight to your inbox (and more recipes sent weekly!)

When you’re craving a tasty meal, check out these Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef. Packed with flavorful ground beef, beans, cheese, and more, they’re a hearty meal brimming with Tex-Mex flavors. 

Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef

This is a great dish for dinner on Taco Tuesdays or any night of the week. I especially love serving these when we have company because everyone loves them. They’re make aheadable, so you can get the whole dish ready and then just bake it before serving. That way, you minimize your time in the kitchen.

bite of corn and ground beef

These zucchini boats are also an economical meal. Zucchini is inexpensive, and the whole recipe uses just 1 pound of ground beef and less than a cup of cheese. Canned beans, canned corn, and canned sauce round out the ingredients, and these pantry staples are also affordable.

With fresh veggies, tasty meat, and plenty of protein in every bite, these Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef are a hearty, tasty, and fabulous meal!

stringy cheese

Why I love this recipe

  • It’s a whole meal with veggies, carbs, and protein in every bite.
  • You can make them ahead of time and pop the dish into the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. Just add a few extra minutes if the boats are cold when going into the oven.
  • Some canned ingredients help reduce prep time, making this the kind of dish you can pull together on a weeknight.

ingredients for zucchini dish

Gather these ingredients

  • Zucchini – You’ll need 4 medium-sized zucchini.
  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion – Diced.
  • Ground beef – 90/10 or 80/20 will work well.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic – Fresh cloves; minced.
  • Canned black beans – 1 15-oz can; beans rinsed and drained.
  • Canned corn – 1 15-oz can; corn; drained
  • Red enchilada sauce – From a can is fine.
  • Cumin
  • Grated cheese – I like sharp cheddar for this recipe.
  • Cilantro – Fresh cilantro; chopped.

mixture of beef and corn

How to make Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef

  1. Preheat your oven to 400-F and grab a baking sheet with raised sides.
  2. Trim the stem ends from the zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop the zucchini from each half, creating a deep trench without breaking through the skin. Chop the removed zucchini into small pieces. Set the halves and the chopped zucchini aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes or until the onion is softened and translucent.
  4. Add the ground beef and ½ teaspoon of salt and cook, breaking up the beef into small pieces, until it is cooked. 
  5. Drain and discard any fat.
  6. Add the minced garlic and chopped zucchini and saute for about another 5 minutes to cook the zucchini.
  7. Add the drained black beans, drained corn, enchilada sauce, remaining salt, and cumin to the ground beef mixture. Mix well and adjust the seasoning to taste.
  8. Transfer the zucchini halves to a baking sheet and divide the ground beef mixture evenly between the boats.
  9. Top each filled zucchini boat with grated cheese and bake the boats at 400-F for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and melted.
  10. Garnish the boats with minced cilantro and serve!

how to make Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef

Tips & substitutions

  • You can use ground chicken, turkey or pork in this recipe instead of ground beef.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese is my favorite cheese in this recipe, but you could use colby, Monterey Jack, a Tex-Mex blend, or whatever you have on hand.
  • Prep the zucchini boats up to the time of baking, then cover them and pop them into the fridge until you’re ready to bake. Add 5 minutes to the cooking time if they are fridge-cold when going into the oven.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of chipotle powder or a diced jalapeno to the ground beef mixture to add some spice.

cheesy pan of zucchini

Serving suggestions

You can serve these Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef all on their own, but I like to put out a dish of sour cream, diced tomatoes, and shredded lettuce to let my family dress their boats up with a few other tasty garnishes. For a heartier meal, serve your boats with this Mexican Slaw, a Southwest-inspired pasta salad, or just some chips and salsa

baking dish of zucchini boats

Storage

Leftover Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat them, place them on a baking sheet and warm them in a 350-F oven until heated through. You can microwave them, but the texture will be better when reheated in the oven. These won’t freeze well.

bite of zucchini with ground beef

Check out these awesome zucchini recipes while you’re here

cheesy Zucchini Boat with Ground Beef

Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef
5 stars (1 review)
Leave a Review

Get the Recipe:

Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef

Loaded with tender beef, beans, corn, and a cheesy sauce, these Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef are an easy and hearty meal!  
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe

Ingredients
 

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef, lean
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can corn, drained
  • 1 cup red enchilada sauce
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ¾ cup grated cheese
  • Fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Trim the stems ends off from the zucchini and cut them in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon to carefully scoop the flesh out of each zucchini half. Chop the flesh into small pieces, then set aside to add to the meat mixture.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes. Next add the lean ground beef and ½ tsp. salt and cook until browned, breaking it into small pieces. Drain off any fat if needed.
  • Add in the minced garlic and zucchini pieces. Saute the ingredients for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the drained black beans and corn, enchilada sauce, remaining salt, and cumin. Stir well and season to taste with more salt if needed. Set aside.
  • Place the zucchini halves onto a baking sheet. Divide the ground beef mixture evenly between the shells.
  • Sprinkle the tops with grated cheese and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, until the cheese is slightly browned and melted. Top with fresh minced cilantro and serve.
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Calories: 456kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 102mg, Sodium: 1452mg, Potassium: 886mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1050IU, Vitamin C: 38mg, Calcium: 223mg, Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

a zucchini boat with cheese