Stuffed Zucchini

Sponsored by Classico® Pasta Sauce. This one-skillet dish is inspired by a zucchini meal my cousins make when I visit them. A filling of beef and rice makes it super-comforting while lots of great vegetables, fresh herbs and savory tomato-basil sauce keep it light. I can't get enough of it!
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 55 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1 cup cooked white rice

1/2 pound ground beef

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 cup tomato-basil sauce, such as Classico® Traditional Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped basil

1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pine nuts or walnuts

2 cloves garlic, grated

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 medium zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 to 4 cocktail tomatoes, such as Campari tomatoes, diced

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Grated Parmesan, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Combine the rice with the beef, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup parsley, the basil, pine nuts and garlic in a medium bowl. Season with a 4-finger pinch of salt and a generous amount of pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined; set aside.
  3. Scoop out the flesh from the zucchini with a melon baller or teaspoon, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Reserve the scooped-out flesh. Cut the zucchini boats crosswise into 2-inch pieces.
  4. Combine the reserved zucchini flesh with the onions and tomatoes in a large cast-iron or heavy ovenproof skillet. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and toss. Add the remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce and toss again.
  5. Using your hands or a small spoon, gently stuff each zucchini shell with about 2 tablespoons of the meat filling, pressing to carefully pack it in. Nestle the stuffed zucchini into the vegetables in the skillet and drizzle with oil.
  6. Bake until the vegetables are soft and the meat is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Garnish with grated Parmesan and the remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Enjoy! 
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