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Stuffed peppers have had their moment in the sun. Put your zucchini bumper crop to good use in this new stuffed vegetable recipe. For a showy presentation, slice the baked-whole zucchini into coins before serving to reveal the spicy meatball filling.

Domenica Marchetti
Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Credit: Blaine Moats

Recipe Summary

45 mins
1 hr 40 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • For tomato sauce: In a medium bowl combine chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, marjoram, olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. of the salt; set aside.

  • Using a corer, hollow out each whole zucchini, being careful not to pierce its walls. Discard center flesh; set zucchini aside.

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl combine beef, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, parsley, half-and-half, garlic, remaining 1 tsp. salt, and black pepper. Divide mixture in half. Using a spoon, fill zucchini with half the mixture, packing lightly. (Filling will expand while baking.) Shape remaining mixture into twelve 11/2-inch meatballs.

  • Spoon 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce into bottom of a 3-qt. rectangular baking dish. Arrange zucchini in dish; spoon half of remaining sauce on top; cover with foil. Arrange meatballs in a 2-qt. baking dish; spoon remaining sauce over meatballs.

  • Bake zucchini 50 minutes or until thermometer inserted in meat mixture registers 160°F and zucchini is tender, turning zucchini once. Bake meatballs, uncovered, the last 30 minutes or until done (160°F). Cool zucchini slightly; slice into 1-inch coins.

  • TIP: To make fresh bread crumbs, trim crust off day-old bread. Tear or cut into pieces. In a food processor, pulse until crumbs form.


Use kitchen scissors to coarsely chop the tomatoes right in the can.

Nutrition Facts

354 calories; fat 16g; cholesterol 120mg; saturated fat 6g; carbohydrates 26g; mono fat 7g; poly fat 2g; insoluble fiber 6g; sugars 11g; protein 27g; vitamin a 1502IU; vitamin c 62.7mg; thiamin 1mg; riboflavin 0.6mg; niacin equivalents 7.1mg; vitamin b6 0.9mg; folate 128mcg; vitamin b12 2mcg; sodium 1142mg; potassium 1231mg; calcium 252mg; iron 4.7mg.