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Zucchini Boats with ground beef and rice

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Zucchini Boats with ground beef and rice

In Chile, there is two classic way to do Zucchini boats: a Vegetarian one with cheese and this one with ground beef and rice. You can also fill it with the same mixture: bell peppers, onions, and eggplants. They are delicious.

The Zucchini boats with ground beef and rice were introduced to Chile by the significant immigration of Palestinians in the 1900s.

Why are zucchini sometimes bitter, and what can I do?

The zucchini turn bitter when the plant is stressed due to lack of water or high heat, as it is impossible to know the conditions of the plant’s cultivation; I recommend always trying the zucchini raw if bitter, discard.
In general, with the adoption of drip irrigation, the bitter squash problem has dramatically diminished.

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones?

Yes, no problem. Two medium tomatoes should do.

Can I cook the zucchini in the microwave instead of in water?

Yes, wash the zucchini, prick it with a fork around it about six times, and cook for 3 minutes on high power, be careful. They will be hot. Be careful.

I generally make this recipe when I have rice leftovers, so it is not so laborious.

Other traditional Chilean recipes with Zucchini:


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Zucchini boat with ground beef and rice.

Zucchini Boats with ground beef and rice

A delicious way to use zucchini.

  • Total Time:
    1 hour

  • Yield:



  1. Cook the zucchini for 5 minutes in boiling salted water (or in the microwave, see instructions in the introduction). Cut in half lengthwise, empty the meat and seeds, and use in the filling. 
  2. In a casserole dish that can go in the oven, pour the tomato sauce from the can and, cover the entire bottom, season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Place the hollow-out zucchinis ready to fill. 
  4. Preheat oven to 200C or 400F. 
  5. Chop the carrot, the zucchini meat, and the onion into small cubes.
  6. In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat, add the diced onion, and brown for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  7. Add the ground beef and break it up with the wooden spoon, occasionally stirring for another 5 minutes until cooked and brown.
  8. Add the carrot, the zucchini meat, and the diced tomatoes, stir well, and add salt and pepper. 
  9. Finally, add the rice and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Fill the zucchini with the resulting mixture, cover with a slice of cheese, and place in the oven until hot and the cheese melts about 30 minutes.
    Stuffed zucchini boats before going to the oven. Hollow out zucchini over tomato sauce.
  10. Serve hot.
    Zucchini boats with ground beef. Zucchini boats with ground beef.


If you use eggplants, everything is done the same. With the bell peppers and the onion, peel and cut the end with the stem of the bell peppers, using a spoon to remove the seeds and clean. Cut both ends of the onion. Open a little and remove the onion’s inner layers, leaving the two outermost rings. Use the chopped leftovers in the filling.

  • Author: Pilar Hernandez
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Chilean

Keywords: Zapallitos rellenos, Zucchini boats, Zucchini boats with ground beef and rice

The Chilean Kitchen*


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