These Stuffed Zucchinis, which are low-carb, Whole30, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo, are inspired from a Colombian dish, Pepino Rellenos which I fell in love with when I was there many years ago. It’s not a dish you would see in a restaurant menu, it’s a dish you would find someone cooking in their kitchen for a weeknight meal. In Colombia, they don’t use zucchinis, instead they use Pepinos known as stuffing cucumbers or Slippery Gourds in English. Because that’s not very common here, I used zucchini which are in season.
Colombians typically stuff the gourds with a mixture of ground beef stewed with tomato sauce and chopped hard boiled eggs. Sometimes they add rice or potato, but I skipped it to keep the carbs low. They also stew it in milk, but I found this didn’t do much for the zucchini, so I steamed it in broth.
You’ll need a really large deep skillet to make this so they all fit, and be sure the zucchinis aren’t too large.
Colombian-Style Zucchini Rellenos
These Stuffed Zucchinis, which are low-carb, Whole30, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo, are inspired from a Colombian dish, Pepino Rellenos which I fell in love with when I was there many years ago.
- 4 medium (7 ounce each) zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise
- 8 oz 90% lean ground beef
- kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2/3 diced cup onion
- 2 cups plum tomatoes, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- Using a small spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell on each half.
- Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside 2/3 of a cup to use in the meat filling, saving the rest to use in another recipe.
- Drop the zucchini in boiling water for 1 minute, remove and drain.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the ground beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cumin until browned and cooked through, breaking up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a bowl.
- Add the oil to the skillet and cook the onions and garlic over medium heat until golden, about 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and simmer about 4 to 5 minutes, until it creates a sauce.
- To the skillet, add 2/3 cup of the reserved chopped zucchini and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Return the cooked meat to the skillet and simmer covered for about 8 minutes until tender. Add the chopped hard boiled eggs and cook 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting salt and pepper to taste as needed.
- On a clean working surface, fill the hollowed out zucchinis with the meat filling, dividing equally between each one.
- Place the broth in large deep 6-quart saucepan with a fitted lid. Heat over medium heat and add the stuffed zucchini halves into the saucepan, cover and reduce heat to low, cook for about 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is soft and cooked through.
Yield: 4 servings, Serving Size: 2 zucchini halves
- Amount Per Serving:
- Smart Points: 4
- Points +: 5
- Calories: 214
- Total Fat: 10g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Cholesterol: 129.5mg
- Sodium: 119.5mg
- Carbohydrates: 15.5g
- Fiber: 4.5g
- Sugar: 5g
- Protein: 17.5g