This Mexican zucchini skillet is made with ground beef, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices. This flavorful meal takes only a few minutes of prep and is ready in 30 minutes or less!
This Mexican zucchini skillet couldn't be easier to prepare, and is filled with flavor (and a little kick of heat)! This meal has flavors similar to my roasted Mexican vegetables recipe - a variety of spices for a complex flavor, plus a little heat.
Made with simple, easy to find ingredients like ground beef, canned tomatoes and peppers, zucchini, onion, spices, and crumbled cotija cheese. Plus, it's prepared in a single sauté pan for easy cleanup.
Not only is this skillet meal flavorful, but it happens to be low carb when served on its own. To stretch this skillet meal further, it can also be served with a side salad, crusty bread, tortilla chips, or used as a taco filling.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil - Can be substituted with ghee or your favorite neutral cooking oil.
- Onions - Adds flavor to your skillet meal. Onion could be substituted with a diced bell pepper if desired for a different flavor.
- Ground beef - Can be substituted with your favorite ground meat, like ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork.
- Rotel - You'll need one 10-ounce can of rotel for this recipe (any variety is fine). Or, one 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes plus a diced jalapeno or poblano pepper (or hot pepper of your choice).
- Zucchini - Add two small or one medium zucchini to your skillet meal. Chop your zucchini into bite sized cubes (about 1 inch or smaller). Zucchini can be substituted with yellow summer squash.
- Spices - Chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder, coriander, and red pepper flakes add depth of flavor and a little heat to your zucchini skillet.
- Cotija cheese - Optional, but recommended adding as a garnish just before serving.
How to prevent zucchini from getting soggy
Zucchini are made up of 90% water, so it's very easy for zucchini to become watery or soggy when cooked. Here are a few ways to help prevent your zucchini from getting soggy.
- If, after cubing your zucchini, it looks wet, pat it dry with a paper towel. Once zucchini is sliced, it will continue to "sweat" as it sits, releasing excess water.
- Take care not to overcook your zucchini. Zucchini becomes soggy when overcooked, and will turn into mush in your skillet meal. Cook only until zucchini has reached your preferred texture.
- To test zucchini for doneness, pierce with a fork. If your fork pierces through easily with little resistance, it's cooked through.
- If your skillet meal is looking watery while cooking, remove the lid. With the lid on, you're steaming your zucchini to cook it through. Taking the lid off helps cook off the excess water by releasing steam.
- Substitute ground beef with other types of ground meat, like ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork.
- Substitute the listed spices with an equal amount of taco or fajita seasoning.
- Add extra veggies, like summer squash, broccoli, green beans, diced bell pepper, or diced jalapenos.
- Serve with tortilla chips and eat like a dip, or on flour tortillas as a taco filling.
Leftover Mexican zucchini skillet will keep for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, and reheats well.
Leftovers can be reheated on the stovetop over medium heat (you may want to add a splash of water if it looks dry), or in the microwave.
Mexican Zucchini Skillet
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 10 ounces rotel, canned diced tomatoes with chilies
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 small zucchini, cubed
- 2 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
- In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add onions and cook until edges begin to brown and onions soften, about 3-4 minutes.
- Crumble ground beef into pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through. Optionally, drain excess grease from pan before continuing to next step.
- Add rotel, chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder, coriander, red pepper flakes, and cubed zucchini to pan, stirring to combine.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until zucchini is cooked through to your liking (time will depend on the size of your zucchini cubes).
- Remove from heat, crumble cotija cheese on top, and serve warm.
- Remove lid at any point if your skillet meal looks too wet (zucchini is made of 90% water and can become very watery, especially if overcooked), to allow steam to escape.
- Leftovers keep for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature and reheat well.
- Serve skillet meal as-is for a low carb meal, or with tortilla chips (served like a dip), or flour tortillas (as a taco filling).