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This delicious grilled vegetarian stuffed zucchini features an Italian-style filling of lemon basil quinoa with red pepper and mozzarella cheese.

Grilled vegetarian stuffed zucchini
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I left the farmer’s market with a boat-load of zucchini this weekend. Unfortunately we didn’t grow any in our garden this year, so we had to pretend we had the late summer “drowning in zucchini” problem. We tried a few things that didn’t work out, even zucchini noodles with a spiralizer. But luckily one recipe did turn out: this grilled vegetarian stuffed zucchini. And it’s so darn good. Keep reading for the recipe!

Related: 10 Easy Quinoa Recipes

Grilled vegetarian stuffed zucchini

Making this vegetarian stuffed zucchini

This vegetarian stuffed zucchini was one of those ideas that Alex dreams up that I’m a little skeptical about until he convinces me otherwise. And looking back, I’m not so sure why I was so skeptical. Vegetarian stuffed zucchini is a genius way to make a filling vegetarian main dish out of zucchini. And adding the grill to that? It makes the zucchini boats charred and smoky, which adds an irresistible element.

For the vegetarian stuffed zucchini filling, we’ve been enjoying the lemon and basil flavor combination lately. Alex devised an Italian-style filling of lemon basil quinoa with red pepper and mozzarella cheese. It makes for an extraordinarily tasty grilled zucchini boats. They’re a fabulous vegetarian dinner idea for grilling season; a fitting late summer dinner on the patio! We’d serve this vegetarian stuffed zucchini with Strawberry Summer Salad and a glass of frose.

Grilled vegetarian stuffed zucchini

How to make quinoa

Outside of grilling the zucchini, the only special skill required for this vegetarian stuffed zucchini is cooking the quinoa! Cooking quinoa is a simple process, but it can be easy to mess up! Cook it too fast and it’s hard and crunchy, or overcook it and it’s mushy. Here are our two best methods for how to cook quinoa for this vegetarian stuffed zucchini:

  1. Perfect Quinoa on the Stovetop This is our master recipe for cooking quinoa on the stovetop. It takes about 25 minutes, and it requires a little baby sitting to make sure the liquid is cooking out evenly, but it’s mostly hands off.
  2. Instant Pot Quinoa (Pressure Cooker) If you have a pressure cooker, you can use it to make quinoa! It takes about 16 minutes and is almost totally hands off! This is the method we’ve started to use more often, since we have an Instant Pot. (Here’s the Instant Pot we use)

Video: How to make quinoa

And, to show you how to do it: here’s a video of us making quinoa in our kitchen!

Other ways to use zucchini

We’re all about creativity when it comes to using up zucchini. Zucchini bread and muffins are delicious and all, but we like thinking outside the box: like zucchini ribbon salad or chocolate cake! Here are some of our favorite ways to use up zucchini, outside of this zucchini ribbon salad:

Looking for more grilling ideas?

Outside of this grilled vegetarian stuffed zucchini, here are a few more recipes for your summer grilling game:

This vegetarian stuffed zucchini recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x


This delicious grilled vegetarian stuffed zucchini features an Italian-style filling of lemon basil quinoa with red pepper and mozzarella cheese.


  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 shallot
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 2/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat a grill to medium high. (Alternatively, you can bake at 425°F covered with foil for 15 minutes, then uncovered for 5 minutes.)
  2. Cook the quinoa (or use our Instant Pot quinoa method): Place 1 cup quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot, and simmer where the water is just bubbling for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed. (Check by pulling back the quinoa with a fork to see if water remains.) Turn off the heat and let sit covered to steam for about 5 minutes.
  3. Finely dice 1 red pepper, mince 1 shallot, and chop ¼ cup basil leaves.
  4. When the quinoa is done, mix the vegetables above with the quinoa, ⅔ cups mozzarella, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and the zest of 1 lemon.
  5. Cut off the ends of 4 zucchini, then cut them in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the fleshy centers. Brush the zucchini lightly with olive oil and grill cut-side down for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove the zucchini from the grill and and sprinkle with kosher salt. Spoon in the quinoa stuffing, then top with grated Parmesan cheese (or Mozzarella cheese). Grill indirectly on a medium high grill for 8-10 minutes until tender.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Chris says:

    Loved this idea!! I didn’t have any fresh basil, but I added some dried basil and mint, pine nuts, and crumbled feta cheese (didn’t have mozzarella or good Parmesan on hand). It was super yummy. We had it as a side dish for chicken.

  2. Ali says:

    I just finished making this. It’s in the oven. Not sure why, but despite following recipe directions, I ended up with around 3 times the amount of filling needed to stuff 4 zucchinis! Unfortunately, I don’t have any extra zucchinis to stuff. Am I the only one with so much filling??

  3. Andie Markijohn says:

    I wish the nutrition content was included!

  4. Phoebe Lapine @ Feed Me Phoebe says:

    What a fun way to eat zucchini! And looks filling but healthy :)

  5. ami@naivecookcooks says:

    i have never tried eating this way but it does looks darn tasty!!

  6. Joan Cook says:

    This is awesome! I am eating really clean lately and this is one of those yummy things that would be really good for my diet.
    I have pinned it for later use.

  7. Jordan says:

    Yum! Such a great weeknight meal. Easy and delicious. Will definitely be giving it a try. :)

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