Mexican stuffed round zucchini, or 8-ball zucchini, is a hearty vegan dinner made with rice, black beans, salsa, and savory spices. A fun twist on classic stuffed zucchini boats!
If you enjoyed my recipe for stuffed round zucchini with a classic ground beef and rice filling, you'll have to try this Mexican version next!
Round zucchini, or 8-ball zucchini, is a hybrid variety of zucchini that's round and softball sized. Other than the shape, it's just like a standard zucchini in every way.
For this recipe, we'll hollow out two round zucchini, stuff them with a mixture of black beans, rice, and salsa, then bake until tender. If you don't have round zucchini on hand, the filling can be added to regular zucchini or bell peppers.
Serve stuffed round zucchini this summer as a fun twist on classic zucchini boats. Add a side salad or some Mexican roasted vegetables for a complete meal.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Oil - Vegetable oil can be substituted with any cooking oil you have on hand.
- Onion - Adds flavor to the filling. I don't recommend omitting it.
- Garlic - Adds flavor to the filling. If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, it can be substituted with ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder (added with the other seasonings).
- Jalapeno - Adds flavor and a little heat to the filling. Leave the seeds and membranes in for more heat or remove for a milder flavor. Can be substituted with a poblano pepper or a few serrano peppers.
- Salsa - I recommend a medium or hot salsa for added flavor but feel free to use your preferred spice level.
- Black beans - Can be substituted with any canned beans you have on hand like pinto beans or kidney beans. If you have raw or dried beans on hand, cook them before adding them to the recipe. For tips, here's a great article: How to cook dried beans
- Rice - Any cooked rice will work in this recipe. I used jasmine rice, a long-grain white rice, but brown rice or wild rice would also work.
- Seasoning - Chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper add flavor to the filling.
Frequently asked questions
- How do I prevent my zucchini from rolling around in the casserole dish? After slicing your zucchini in half, turn them over and slice a small flat bottom onto each boat (shown above).
- Do I need to peel my zucchini? No, for zucchini boats you'll want to leave the skin intact. This helps hold the zucchini flesh together while it bakes.
- Can stuffed zucchini be frozen? Technically yes, stuffed zucchini can be frozen. However, zucchini releases moisture when thawed and will have a slightly soggy, soft texture.
- How do I prepare round zucchini for stuffing? Round zucchini can be prepared like a bowl by cutting off the stem and hollowing out the center (just like how you'd carve a Halloween pumpkin). I use this method in my stuffed round zucchini recipe. Round zucchini can be sliced in half from top to bottom and hollowed out just like regular zucchini boats (as shown in the photos on this page).
- How to I prevent zucchini from getting soggy? Zucchini gets soggy from overcooking and sitting in excess moisture. After scooping the flesh from your zucchini, pat the insides dry with a paper towel. Par-bake your boats in the oven for 10 minutes, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes only with the filling inside.
Ways to use leftover zucchini flesh
For this recipe, we're scooping out and discarding the inner zucchini flesh. Leftover zucchini flesh can be refrigerated and used to make smoothies, pesto, or zucchini cake. Here are a few recipe ideas:
What to serve with stuffed zucchini
Wondering what to serve with your Mexican stuffed zucchini? Here are a few of my favorite sides:
- Mexican roasted vegetables
- Side salad
- Roasted potatoes
- Corn on the cob
- Chips and salsa
For a full list of side dish ideas, check out my post: side dishes to serve with zucchini boats
Mexican Stuffed Round Zucchini
- 2 medium round zucchini
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ small onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 15 ounces canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a casserole dish that will fit your round zucchini and set aside.
- Slice round zucchini in half from top to bottom. Using a spoon, carefully scape out some of the flesh from each zucchini half and discard (or save for another recipe). Leave about ¼" of flesh attached to the skin around the edges and bottom. Optionally, turn each boat over and slice a small section off the bottom, creating a flat surface for stability.
- Place into prepared casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Add diced onion and jalapeno and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add black beans, salsa, rice, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Spoon prepared filling into your zucchini. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until zucchini can easily be pierced through with a fork.
- For zucchini bowls - Cut diagonal slices around the stem of each round zucchini, then pop the stem off. Use a metal spoon or melon baller to scoop the zucchini flesh out and discard (or save for another recipe). Leave about ¼" of flesh attached to the skin around the edges and bottom.
- To use regular zucchini - Cut the stems off three medium zucchini, then slice in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, carefully scape out some of the flesh from each zucchini half and discard (or save for another recipe). Then, continue as written above.
- To use bell peppers - Slice three bell peppers in half and scoop out seeds and innards. When par-baking in step 3, bake for 20 minutes instead of the listed 10 minutes). Then, continue as written above.
- The listed filling may fill more than two round zucchini - this depends entirely on the size of the zucchini you have on hand.