Taco Stuffed Zucchini and Patty Pan Squash

I love stuffed zucchini! It's something I've made a few times - typically Italian flavors but this time we opted for a taco profile! These came out delicious. This is a hearty, filling, low-carb meal that really takes advantage of both pantry staples, and the bounty of summer squash right now!

You can easily change up the flavors and add-ins to use what you prefer more, and personalize each one with different fresh toppings once the squash are cooked. This was my first time using patty pan and oh my goodness are they adorable! My sister had the very largest one, and we noticed the filling was quite a bit more "wet" after baking then before as it continued to pull moisture out of the squash - so be sure to scrape out as much of that flesh from inside the squash as possible to help prevent excess moisture being added back to your mixture during baking! The patty pan were definitely a little tougher to hollow out, but I was able to do it with just a large spoon, a little patience, and some elbow grease!

Taco Stuffed Zucchini and Patty Pan Squash

2 large zucchini
3 medium Patty Pan Squash
1 lb ground beef
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp salt
1 6-oz can olives, drained and halved
1 4-oz can mushrooms, drained
1 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 1-oz packet taco seasoning mix
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup cheddar cheese

Serving suggestions: diced tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, diced avocado, etc. (all optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Halve zucchini and scoop out pulp, leaving about a 1/4" thick rim.
  3. Cut tops off of patty pan squash, and scoop out seeds and pulp. For the more mature squash with firmer seeds, discard seeds.
  4. Lay all squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  5. Place in the oven for 20 minutes while filling is prepared.
  6. Rough chop all of the squash pulp. Add it to a large skillet, along with the ground beef and diced bell pepper, season with the teaspoon of salt and cook over medium, to medium high heat until ground beef is cooked through and squash and bell pepper are mostly tender (about 15 minutes). Break up the ground beef as the mixture cooks. There should be a fair amount of liquid at this point.
  7. Add in all remaining ingredients, except cheese, and stir gently to combine. Filling should be a little bit wet, but not too saucy - simmer off excess liquid if necessary, or add a touch of water or broth if your filling is too dry.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings to your personal preference.
  9. Once squash has finished initial cook time, test it with a fork - it should be fairly tender. Stuff squash with filling (you will have some leftover).
  10. Reduce oven to 350 and return to oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, check to make sure your squash is tender all the way through at the thickest portions - return to the oven if necessary. 
  11. When squash is fully cooked, sprinkle the cheddar cheese over all, and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes. 
  12. Plate and top with your desired toppings, and enjoy!


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