Round zucchini are like made for delicious and hearty stuffings. With a little imagination, you can create various delicious meals with these unique veggies. If you ever find round zucchini, this dish a must-try — and if you don’t find, you can use regular zucchini for preparing this fantastic keto meal.
This Stuffed Round Zucchini is a stuffing dish, that is, it’s really hearty with all that bacon, ground beef, and cream cheese. I’ll give tips on how to prepare a lighter version at the end of the post. You’ll also find a dairy-free version and tips on how to use the leftover zucchini flesh that you’ll get when hollowing out the zucchini.
How to prepare this Stuffed Round Zucchini
In this recipe, hollowed-out round zucchini is filled with a hearty and creamy filling, making a super-satiating meal.
At first, it might look that this recipe needs lots of effort. However, scooping out the flesh is a surprisingly quick procedure.
Since bacon is pretty salty, there is likely no need to add any salt to this dish. However, follow your taste buds and feel free to throw in more salt if needed.
But let’s take a look at how to prepare this adorable and hearty dish:
Take 4 round zucchini — about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter.
Cut off the tops.
Scoop out the interior flesh with a small spoon.
Leave about 1/4-inch (0.6-cm) layer of zucchini in the edges.
You’ve got plenty of leftover flesh — about one pound (450 g). Check some tips on how to use it at the end of this post.
Place the hollowed-out zucchini into a baking dish. Set aside.
Cook 1 cup (240 ml) chopped raw bacon in a skillet…
Add 10 oz (280 g) ground beef.
Cook, crumbling all the time with a fork, until done.
Add 8 oz (230 g) cream cheese…
…and 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning.
…until well combined.
Divide the filling into the hollowed-out zucchini.
Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Let set 10 minutes, and serve.
How I came up with this recipe
When I saw round zucchini in our nearest grocery store, I couldn’t help but had to buy them because they looked so unique and so adorable. I thought they would both look and taste amazing when stuffed with a hearty — and perhaps meaty — keto filling.
I bought an ample amount of zucchini and started pondering over the filling. I knew I wanted my hearty filling to contain some bacon. I had some organic ground beef in the fridge and thought it makes an excellent companion to the bacon. There, I now had three ingredients: zucchini, bacon, and ground beef.
Now, I still needed something to bind the ingredients — maybe something creamy to make the dish more succulent and prevent the filling from drying. I also needed seasoning to provide flavor.
After short thinking, I decided to add cream cheese for binding the ingredients and to give that creaminess. However, choosing the seasoning wasn’t that easy. On the one hand, an herb or herb mix sounded intriguing, but on the other hand, I wanted something spicier and more piquant. Then I realized: Cajun seasoning would be the perfect option here. It’s a tad herby — thanks to marjoram, thyme, and fennel seed — and slightly spicy thanks to cayenne.
Next, I had to plan the amounts of the ingredients. I took 4 round zucchini and wondered how much filling they would need. After some calculations, I grabbed 1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped raw bacon, 10 oz (280 g) ground beef, 2 tablespoons cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
I cooked the bacon in a skillet until done and added the ground beef. When the meat was also done and crumbly, I added the cream cheese and the Cajun seasoning and mixed until well combined. Very soon, I noticed that there was far too little cream cheese: the mixture was dry — not that heavenly rich and creamy like I had hoped for. I added another 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, and now it looked better.
I filled the hollowed-out zucchini with the mixture. It turned out that my calculations could have been better: now, there was enough filling for just 3 zucchini! At first, it looked that there was far too much filling for 4 zucchini, but in the end, it was enough for only 3.
Moreover, after baking the zucchini for 30 minutes, the filling was too dry to my taste, and it definitely could have had more flavor as well. So, back to the drawing board.
Well, I didn’t need to only increase the amount of filling, but I needed to make the filling creamier and tastier. At first, I thought to increase the amount of ground beef to a whole pound (450 g) but then decided to use more bacon instead. I concluded doubling the amount of bacon, so using 1 cup (240 ml) chopped bacon, would do the trick. Anyway, it was the ground beef — not bacon — that made the filling too dry if used too much. Besides, there doesn’t exist a concept like too much bacon!
I also wanted to increase the amount of cream cheese drastically to give that heavenly creaminess I was dreaming of. Instead of 2 oz (60 g) that I had used for my first experiment, in the end, I decided to quadruple the amount and use a whopping 8 oz (230 g) cream cheese. Anyway, cream cheese makes (almost!) everything taste better, so just like with bacon, there isn’t a concept like too much cream cheese if you ask from me!
And finally, to get enough flavor to the dish, I decided to use 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning — so triple the amount that I used in the first experiment.
Indeed, with these better-calculated amounts, the result was all I had dreamed of: tasty, creamy, and bacony — and there was just the right amount of filling for 4 zucchini. Also, the baking time and the oven temperature turned out to be the ideal ones. Mission accomplished! An adorable, hearty, and tasty keto dish has born!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
|Nutrition information||In total||Per serving if 4 servings in total|
|Protein||87.6 g||21.9 g|
|Fat||143.7 g||36.0 g|
|Net carbs||18.6 g||4.7 g|
|kcal||1716 kcal||429 kcal|
How to use the leftover zucchini flesh
You’ll get plenty of leftover zucchini flesh from the hollowed-out zucchini, about 1 pound (450 g). My favorite way to use it up is to add it to an omelet, or actually make a frittata with it.
So, here’s how it goes: you’ll need 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped onion, the leftover zucchini flesh, 2 tablespoons heavy cream (or water or unsweetened almond milk) and 3 eggs — plus salt and other seasonings you desire. Chop the zucchini flesh finely.
Cook the onion and the chopped zucchini until the onion is translucent and the zucchini is soft. Mix the eggs, the cream (or other liquid), and the seasonings in a separate bowl. Pour into the skillet with the zucchini and onion. Mix until well combined. Cover, and cook over low heat until done but still creamy. Don’t overcook!
You can also make scrambled eggs instead of a frittata. Instead of cooking the mixture covered with a lid, just stir it continuously until crumbly and almost done. Leaving the scrambled eggs slightly undone makes the texture creamy. Scrambled eggs really suffer if overcooked!
This omelet, frittata, or scrambled eggs actually makes a great breakfast — and then you can enjoy the Stuffed Round Zucchini for dinner! By the way, the stuffed zucchini reheat well.
Another way to use the leftover zucchini flesh — and make a lighter version of the dish
Another way to use the leftover zucchini flesh is to make a lighter version of this Stuffed Round Zucchini dish — without ground beef. Follow the recipe and the directions, but in place of ground beef, use the chopped leftover zucchini flesh. Add the zucchini flesh to the cooked bacon and cook the zucchini until soft. Add the cream cheese and the Cajun seasoning and stir until well combined. Fill the zucchini with this mixture. Actually, I also found yellow round zucchini and made this lighter version with them:
How to make a dairy-free version
This recipe uses cream cheese, but instead of cream cheese, you can use coconut cream for a dairy-free version. Since cream cheese is slightly sour, you can add some sourness to the dairy-free version with 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.
How to vary the recipe
When I served this dish for my husband, he got the idea of adding some wasabi in his serving. He was raving about it and insisted I mention here in my post that wasabi — or just a regular horseradish — would be a fantastic seasoning for this dish. You can replace the Cajun seasoning with 1-2 tablespoons freshly-grated horseradish, or serve the ready meal with wasabi paste.
However, I haven’t found any good-quality wasabi paste in my lifetime. That is, each and every wasabi paste that I’ve seen has nasty food additives, preservatives, artificial colors — or artificial sweeteners. Ugh! That’s why I recommend plain regular fresh horseradish rather than wasabi paste. But, in case you happen to find a decent wasabi paste, by all means, go for it!
Oh yes, don’t use prepared horseradish for the same reason: just like the commercial wasabi pastes, also prepared horseradish tends to suffer from a similar overload of all kinds of added artificial and nasty chemicals.
Other seasonings worth trying instead of Cajun seasoning are paprika, smoked paprika, chipotle, Herbes de Provence, BBQ seasoning, garlic, and curry.
Nothing prevents you from sprinkling grated cheese on top of the stuffed zucchini right before baking. Use Parmesan, Cheddar, Swiss cheese, or other flavorful or sharp cheese.
What to do if you don’t find round zucchini
No problem! Use regular zucchini instead. Halve the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the interior so that you’ll get zucchini “boats.” Here’s a recipe that you can follow for that part. Fill the zucchini boats with the prepared mixture and bake as directed.
For my linguistic work, I’ve been working on Maltese, Nepalese, Danish, and Swedish during this week. I really prefer short tasks rather than assignments that take weeks to accomplish. And that Swedish task has taken now a few weeks… Phew.
Oh yes, I was interviewed at Ruohonjuuri-magazine at the beginning of the year. The online version came out in February — and now the interview is in the printed version of the magazine.
This week, we gathered with the Ketokamu core team of three people at my home to plan our strategy, our products, and to taste some more keto food experiments that I had prepared. Here Olli and Markus are at the table in my kitchen:
… and here they are tasting a couple of varieties of dried organic Greek olives that I have ordered straight from Greece. We all were totally thrilled about the thyme-seasoned dried olives. We actually got lots of ideas on how to use olives in our products — and Greek olives are the best!
Do you remember our soup experiments that we did in Kasvisgalleria in Kuopio at the beginning of February? At the end of this post, there is more about it. Anyway, I still had one, unopened soup in my fridge, and now we decided to take a peek how it looks after about five months. We didn’t use any preservatives, so according to all physics and chemistry rules, the soup should have been badly spoiled and grew mold. To our big surprise, it both looked and tasted okay! Well, the taste had indeed suffered a bit because of so long storage time. Still, the soup was edible — and we didn’t get any food poisoning after tasting it! It’s quite remarkable how you get long shelf life by purely natural means and ingredients. I wish the food industry hadn’t forgotten this!