Easy to make and full of great flavor, these pesto and cheese stuffed zucchini are a great side dish or even a vegetarian meal!
Why you’ll love it: Easy, cheesy, and healthy!
How long it takes: 10 minutes to prep, 35 minutes in the oven
Equipment you’ll need: sharp knife, spoon, baking pan, small mixing bowl, oven
It is finally, finally, finally starting to look and feel like spring around here in Michigan and I could not possibly be happier about it.
We even went to the zoo last Monday! It was still a little chilly (high 40’s/low 50’s) but gorgeous and warm in the sun and the animals were out and active which is always a good part about the slightly cooler days. When it’s in the 80’s, they’re all lying around sleeping. Can’t say I blame them!
With the warmer weather comes spring fruits and vegetables. Hallelujah and good riddance to oranges and clementines (no offense, I love you guys, but it’s time for a change). We’ve already been eating a ton of asparagus, zucchini, strawberries, and blueberries. All totally premature of course, but it’s just so great to have a little variety back in life!
About This Recipe
I love these pesto and cheese stuffed zucchini for a vegetarian meal (pair with a hearty salad) or as a side to accompany a juicy baked breaded pork chop, easy baked salmon with lemon and chives, or chicken breast. They are creamy and slightly decadent without being overly rich. Cut into thirds, they make a good appetizer, too.
The zucchini adds a nice crispness and freshness to balance out the cream cheese. And of course, pesto brings great flavor to the party. I sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top to add even more crunch. As a bonus, the Parmesan gets nice and golden brown to make these stuffed zucchini an attractive addition to any plate.
As always, you’ll find the printable recipe card with all the information you need at the end of the post.
What You’ll Need
- Zucchini: Look for medium-sized zucchini with dark green unblemished skins. There’s no need to peel zucchini, simply rinse off and dry.
- Cream Cheese: Use reduced fat or full-fat but not non-fat.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Shredded mozzarella gives a nice texture to the cheese mixture.
- Pesto: Use purchased pesto or make your own.
- Parmesan Cheese: Shredded Parmesan adds flavor and color.
How To Make Stuffed Zucchini
It’s so simple! Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and make a hollow down the center of the squash. Arrange them on a baking pan.
Mix the cheese filling and, using a spoon, fill the zucchini halves. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bake! That’s all there is to it.
Now that you’ve mastered that, try Lasagna Zucchini Boats! They boast all the flavor and fun of lasagna but without the hassle of noodles.
Those babies grow fast, don’t they? One minute they’re little tiny things and the next time you look, there’s a big ol’ log growing there. While a submarine-sized zucchini won’t work well for this recipe, they can be shredded and used in zucchini bread. Slice them and sauté them. Grill them. Add them to minestrone soup.
Cut them in half vertically, lengthwise from stem to blossom end. I like to use a serrated grapefruit spoon to scoop out the centers. Leave about a 1/4 inch wall.
Oh, most certainly! It’s very tender and contains most of the nutritional benefit.
Prepare zucchini but don’t bake. Refrigerate up to one day. Bake as directed, adding 5 minutes to baking time.
Storage and Reheating Tips
Store leftover zucchini in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in oven or toaster oven until heated through.
More Zucchini Recipes
Have an abundance of zucchini? Try one (or all!) of these great zucchini recipes:
- Grilled Zucchini — probably the easiest recipe for zucchini and so good!
- Air Fryer Zucchini Chips
- Grilled Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Zucchini
- Zucchini Noodle Salad with Beans, Feta, and Lemon
- Zucchini Rice Casserole (Brown Rice!)
- Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Carrot Pancakes
- Zucchini Pizza Bites
- 2 zucchini, medium sized
- 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup low moisture, part skim mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut off ends of zucchini and slice lengthwise so that you have four long halves. Using a spoon, hollow out the middle (take out the seeds) of each half, leaving a little bit on each end to prevent the filling from running out. Place zucchini in/on baking pan.
- In a small bowl, mix together softened cream cheese, mozzarella and pesto until well combined.
- Spread cheese mixture evenly into hollowed out zucchini.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until zucchini is cooked and cheese is golden brown.
- Nutrition information is based on one stuffed zucchini half.
- Make Ahead: Prepare zucchini as directed but don’t bake. Refrigerate up to one day, tightly wrapped. Bake as directed, adding 5 minutes to baking time.
- Recipe is easily doubled.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.