Zucchini Taco Boats
I love summer. And summer fun. And especially summer food! Zucchini is one of my favorite summer foods. Sure you can get them all year long, but nothing is better than fresh from the garden!
We always seem to miss one. They hide really well under those massive leaves! Just before leaving for the weekend, I picked the first baseball bat sized zucchini of the year. It was 22″ long and crazy heavy.
During a year when I actually fit into my “skinny jeans” (that’s what I call them, no I don’t wear the teeny tiny skin tight jeans that require grease to get them on), I would make a zucchini crisp. That is not this year. No, this year I am living in yoga pants and am determined not to buy the next size up. Not gonna do it.
So since I can’t make my yummy veggie dessert (don’t be fooled, its loaded with sugar and butter), I’ll turn the huge ends into zucchini boats! Still not the healthiest thing on earth (hello cheese!), but it’s gotta be better than sugar, right? And this way I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner. WIN!
First things first, chop off the bottom 10″ or so from that huge baseball bat zucchini, the big end. Cut it in half the long way and scoop out the seeds, making sure to leave most of the zucc meat. That’s your boat! Drizzle some olive oil, season with salt & pepper, set aside
Next you’re going to make the filling. This can be customized to whatever you have on hand, really. Heat up your skillet, olive oil on the bottom & start browning the garlic, onion, & green pepper. Toss in a little s & p while you’re there.
Once those are soft, add the ground beef. I used 85/15 grass fed beef because that’s what I had in the freezer. You can use whatever (even ground turkey), but if its a bit fatty, I would drain it off once its browned. Cook until browned & crumbled, add in the taco seasoning & stir a bit. Here’s my recipe for the best ever taco seasoning! At this point I like to give a little taste test to see if it needs anything. I’m not into a ton of heat, but if you are, you could add some red pepper flakes or extra taco seasoning.
If you’re good at multitasking while cooking (I am not), you could have been grilling the zucchini halves while browning the meat. Just toss them on the grill, medium-ish heat, face down, for 15-20 minutes. You’ll get some really nice grill marks this way, too! Check them after 15 with a fork in the center & ends. You want them to be soft, but not falling apart the way cooked zucchini can get.
Once the zuccs are grilled, fill ’em with the cooked beef mixture, toss some salsa over that, & top with oodles of cheese. We love pepper jack in this house, so that’s what I used. I was also curious if just a plain cheddar would work, so I threw a bit on there as well. I preferred the pepper jack, it gave it that extra kick that was missing (from being a sissy with the taco seasoning).
Put those bad boys on a baking sheet (I have a really old pizza pan we use just for the grill), and put them back on the grill. This time I used the outside burners on medium and put the pan in the middle. You’re really just using the grill as an oven at this point. Leave them in there until the cheese is ooey gooey melty & delish, around 10 minutes.
Serve ’em up & enjoy!