This flavorful dish is quick enough to be a weeknight staple, but flavorful enough to be a family favorite. This version uses Mexican flavors, but you can easily change up the ingredients, using different spices and cheese to suit your tastes. For an Italian version, trade the chili powder for Italian seasoning and the jack cheese for mozzarella. Go Greek but subbing tomato for the bell pepper, oregano for the chili powder, and topping with feta cheese. Or add some crumbled bacon and tomato paste and top with cheddar cheese for a very American version. You can also change out the pork for ground beef if you prefer. 

Serves 4


4 medium zucchini

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 pound ground pork

1 cup shredded Monterey or pepper jack cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scrape out the zucchini seeds, leaving a 1/2- to 1/4-inch border of zucchini flesh. Brush zucchini with half of olive oil and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until softened and flesh is beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, and salt, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pork and cook, breaking apart meat as it cooks, until pork is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in half of cheese until melted.
  3. Flip over zucchini boats and divide filling evenly among them. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to oven. Bake until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.