Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini

By Updated on

Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini with lean ground turkey, peppers, onions, and then covered in enchilada sauce and cheese makes an easy, low carb meal that you will love.

1 Comment

If there is one thing I have been loving lately it's stuffed zucchini. From these Turkey Fajita Stuffed Zucchini to these reader favorite Zucchini and Ground Turkey Pizza Boats, I have a long history of stuffing zucchini and no intentions of stopping anytime soon. Not only is zucchini healthy, but it also makes a great low carb alternative to things like bread, tortillas, and pasta. 

These easy Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini are made with a simple combination of ground turkey, bell peppers, onions, enchilada sauce, and melted cheese. I have been relying on them lately as a healthy alternative to tacos or enchiladas when I want something lighter or lower carb. They also made a great football game treat last weekend when we hosted some friends who are eating a more keto style diet.

The key to this recipe really comes down to choosing an enchilada sauce you really love. It doesn't matter if it is red or green, just that it has lots of flavor and is something you want to eat. If you have trouble finding one that you love, try substituting a salsa you really like. It will turn out just as good.

How to Make Stuffed Zucchini

Whenever I post a stuffed zucchini recipe, it always gets the wheels turning and people are inspired to make their own. Here are the basic steps to making your own stuffed zucchini,

  • Prep the zucchini: Choose small to medium zucchini. Cut the zucchini in half and use a spoon to hollow out the zucchini. You can keep this hollowed out section to add back in as stuffing or discard it. Then season the zucchini with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare the filling: Decide what you want to use to fill your zucchini. Vegetables and proteins should be cooked before using them as stuffing. Make sure to season the filling with salt, pepper, and any spices you like.
  • Choose a sauce: I find that stuffed zucchini comes out best with a sauce so that the filling doesn't get dry. You can use salsa, enchilada sauce, spaghetti sauce, and even things like Italian dressing or teriyaki sauce can work. You just want to add some moisture.
  • Add some cheese or breadcrumbs: Although not necessary, most people top their stuffed zucchini with some kind of cheese, breadcrumbs, or both. 
  • Bake: Place the stuffed zucchini in an oven safe dish and cover with foil. Bake at  400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until zucchini is tender. Remove the foil and cook for another five minutes to brown the top.

Southwestern stuffed zucchini with beef, enchilada sauce, and melted cheese.

Can I freeze stuffed zucchini?

In general, zucchini isn't always the best option for freezing since it can get mushy. However, after some experimenting, these stuffed zucchini actually hold up pretty well in the freezer as long. The key is making sure the stuffed zucchini has time to fully cool before placing them in the freezer. Once they cool, place them on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours. This will help draw out some of the moisture. Then once they are frozen, wrap them in plastic wrap and then in foil. Keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Reheat in the oven or microwave. One note: the zucchini will be less firm when it is frozen. Still delicious but with a slightly mushier texture.

How to prevent the zucchini from being hard?

Every time I share a stuffed zucchini recipe, I always get a few questions about how to prevent the zucchini from being hard. The most important thing to prevent this is choosing the right a zucchini. Look for a bright green zucchini that is small to medium in size. Large zucchini tend to be drier and also will take a much longer time to cook through. 

Additionally, wrapping the baking dish in foil will help to ensure that the zucchini is fully cooked. The foil traps the steam and helps the zucchini cook all the way through. Another option if you still find your zucchni comes out hard, is to microwave or boil it before stuffing. Simply slice the zucchini in half, remove the center, and microwave or boil for 2-3 minutes until softened. This is also a good trick if you are short on time. Microwaving the zucchini means you don't have to cook the stuffed zucchini for nearly as long.

Recipe Ideas for Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini

  • Make a vegetarian by substituting black beans for the ground turkey.
  • Try out a different protein with lean ground beef, pork, or chicken.
  • Instead of enchilada sauce, reach for your favorite spicy green or red salsa.
  • Try swapping out the zucchini for some yellow summer squash for a slightly different flavor.
  • Swap out the shredded cheddar cheese for mozzarella, pepper jack, or queso fresco. 
  • Add some extra heat with diced jalapeno or serrano peppers.
  • If you aren't eating low carb, bulk up the recipe with some canned beans and corn.

Looking for more stuffed zucchini recipes?

The Recipe
Tex Mex Stuffed zucchini with ground turkey, enchilada sauce, and melted cheese.

Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini

  • Print Recipe
  • Download PDF


  • 4 zucchini
  • 3/4 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Like this Recipe? Try our Meal Plans!

  • Weekly Meal Plans
  • Easy Shopping List
  • Healthy, Low Carb, & Vegetarian
  • Nutritional Information


(Hide Photos)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Scoop out the center of the zucchini. Chop the zucchini you scooped out to be part of the filling.


Add the ground turkey, garlic, red bell pepper, scooped out zucchini, and onion to a medium high skillet. Brown until no longer pink.


Add the cumin, salt, and pepper. Then stir in the enchilada sauce.


Fill each zucchini and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle cheese on top.


Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 zucchini halves
Amount Per Serving
Calories 222
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 50mg
Sodium 693mg
Total Carbohydrate 19g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 14g
Protein 30g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

user image
About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini
user image
user image
Xenia moore Moore
August 5, 2016 - 12:28
Add a Rating:
Since my family is not a big fan of zucchini (but I am) when I hollowed out the halves, I put them in the microwave to soften them up a bit (about 1 minute per half) . I did not have any red bell pepper so I added a 1/2 cup of black beans into it. With the leftover enchilada sauce, I poured it on the bottom of the glass baking dish (like you would for enchiladas) and that helped add flavor to the zucchini. Overall, a good lite choice for a late evening dinner. Great way to add more veggies to your diet.
Instagram Icon
Did you make this?

Snap a picture and show us what you made on Instagram or Facebook. Tag us using @SlenderKitchen or #slenderkitchen.