Stuffed Zucchini (with Lamb Mince)
Are you in search of a scrumptious, wholesome and effortless stuffed courgette recipe? These stuffed zucchini are packed with a delectable lightly spiced lamb mince filling and a creamy and zesty tahini sauce. Ready in just 30 minutes, these baked courgettes are an ideal option for a light weeknight lunch or dinner, or as a heartier meal served with sides.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
✅ 4 reasons why you'll love this recipe:
- Super quick and easy to make, just 30 minutes from start to finish
- Delicious flavour in every bite
- Healthy and nutritious
- A zero-waste recipe that uses the entire courgette
🛒 Ingredients and variations:
Any courgettes that are fresh, firm and have unblemished skin will work well for stuffing. I prefer to use larger courgettes as I find that the smaller ones can be fiddly when it comes to removing the seeds and filling them.
The recipe has been tested with medium to large courgettes that weigh 200-250g (7-9oz). The number of courgettes required to use all the filling may vary depending on the size of the courgettes you use.
I recommend using mince with 20% fat because it has a deeper flavour and is better at maintaining a moist texture as it cooks.
You can swap lamb for another type of ground meat if you prefer such as beef, chicken or turkey.
Herbs and spices:
Garlic, chilli, harissa paste and several ground spices including cinnamon, allspice, ground coriander and cumin make the lamb fragrant and flavourful. If you don't have all these ground spices available, you can skip a couple and still have tasty lamb mince.
Recipe spice level
I'd consider this recipe mildly spiced. The green chillies, harissa paste and dried herbs and spices add a fragrant taste rather than heat. That said, if you are very sensitive to spice, you may wish to omit the green chilli and harissa.
Is a simple blend of tahini, lemon juice, salt and a little water to bring it to a pourable consistency.
🧑🍳 Recipe steps
1. Remove the seeds
Slice the courgettes in half lengthways and use a teaspoon to remove the seeds and flesh. Chop the seeds and flesh into small pieces (around 1cm or ½ inch) and set aside.
2. Prepare & bake
Place the courgette shells in a roasting tin and brush the inside of each with oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the lamb mince.
3. Sauté the flesh
Place a pan on a medium heat and add oil. Fry the garlic and chilli for a minute or two until fragrant and add the roughly chopped flesh and seeds and gently fry for a few minutes until tender.
4. Brown the lamb
Increase the heat and add the lamb mince and fry until brown. Then add the ground spices, salt and harissa. Continue to cook for a few more minutes and set aside.
5. Fill the courgettes
Make the tahini sauce by combining the tahini, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. Remove the baked courgette shells from the oven, spoon some of the filling into each one and drizzle with a thin layer of tahini sauce.
Place the filled courgettes under the grill/broiler for around 5 minutes until the tahini topping begins to brown.
🍽️ Serving suggestions
There are many ways to enjoy stuffed courgettes. Serve alone for a light lunch or dinner or serve with some of these tasty sides for a heartier meal:
- Grains: such as rice, couscous or quinoa.
- Potatoes: like these herby new potatoes, spicy harissa potatoes or my fresh and flavourful potato salad with spring onions.
- Meat: I love to stuff courgettes with lamb because its rich distinct flavour pairs up nicely with the mild taste of courgettes, but you can use minced beef, turkey, chicken mince or pork mince.
- Toppings: switch up the tahini sauce for some cool crumbled feta, goat's cheese, or a cool yoghurt sauce after you have grilled the lamb. You can also add some pine nuts or breadcrumbs for extra crunch.
- Courgettes: I usually make this recipe with classic green courgettes because they are the easiest ones to get hold of, but yellow courgettes or round courgettes are also great for stuffing, and you can also try stuffing courgette flowers.
👍 Expert tips
- Brush the courgettes with oil and add a little salt before roasting them to keep them nice and moist.
- Roast the courgettes while you make the filling to get dinner on the table quickly.
- Cut the flesh and seeds nice and small into chunks of around 1cm/1/2 inch.
Can you eat the middle of a courgette?Courgette flesh is edible and nutritious so whether you eat it or not comes down to personal preference. It's common to remove the seeds and pulp when preparing courgettes but you can also leave them in or incorporate the flesh and seeds into the filling if you are making stuffed courgettes.
Do you leave the skin on courgettes?Courgette skin is smooth, tender and the most nutritious part. Most recipes will not suggest removing it, except for some baked goods like muffins and cakes. When you prepare courgettes you should rinse them thoroughly to remove any dirt and pesticides and cut out any spots or blemishes with a sharp knife.
Can I freeze whole courgettes?Freezing whole courgettes is not recommended because their high-water content will cause them to become mushy when thawed. The best way to freeze courgettes is by chopping them into smaller pieces and blanching them first.
Can you use overgrown courgettes?Overgrown courgettes, otherwise known as marrows, are edible, but they are likely to have tougher skins, smaller seeds, and a stronger flavour than younger courgettes. Older and larger courgettes are best suited to recipes with longer cooking times such as stews, soups, casseroles and stuffing. They can also be grated and used in cakes and muffins. You might want to remove the skin and pulp and adjust the seasoning.
Cooked stuffed courgettes can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Allow them to cool, cover with plastic wrap or place them into an airtight container and transfer them to the fridge. You can then reheat them in the oven or air fryer (instructions below).
You can freeze stuffed courgettes for up to 3 months, but note that this will alter the texture a little. I tested this and the courgettes were perfectly edible but were a little on the mushy side.
Stuffed courgettes can be a convenient make-ahead meal if you change the order of some of the steps. Remove the flesh and brush with oil, but skip the roasting stage. Follow the instructions for making the filling, spoon the cooked lamb mince filling into the courgettes and set aside to cool. You can then store the courgettes in the fridge for up to 3 days. It's best to make the tahini sauce fresh when you come to reheat them and add it 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Place chilled courgettes onto a baking tray and cover with foil and roast them at 200°C or 400°F for 20-30 minutes. You can also bake the courgettes from frozen for 45-60 minutes.
Place the courgettes into the basket and cook for 8-10 minutes at 190°C or 375°F.
Microwaving frozen stuffed courgettes is not recommended, but if you're in a hurry you can place them on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap or a microwave-safe lid and heat them on high for 2-3 minutes. It's best to defrost frozen courgettes overnight in the fridge first if you plan to use the microwave to reheat them.
😋 More easy lamb recipes
Middle Eastern Lamb Mince Flatbread
Easy Lamb Kofta Wraps with yogurt sauce
Lamb Shish Kebab Recipe (tender and tremendously tasty)
Keema Rice (Easy 20-Minute Recipe)
Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.
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Stuffed Zucchini (with Lamb Mince)
- 3 medium to large courgettes/zucchini (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 green chillies finely chopped (Note 2)
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 250g (9 oz) lamb mince (Note 3)
- 2 tsp harissa paste (optional)
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp all spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large handful finely chopped fresh parsley optional
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2-1 tbsp water
- Heat the oven to 200C or 400F.
- Chop the ends off the courgettes and cut in half lengthways.
- Use a teaspoon to scoop out the courgette flesh and seeds onto a chopping board and chop roughly into small pieces (around 1cm / ½ inch).
- Pat the courgettes dry with kitchen paper, brush lightly with olive oil (this should use around half of the oil) and sprinkle with a small amount of salt.
- Place them into a baking dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place a large pan on a medium heat and add the remaining oil.
- Add the green chilli and garlic when the oil is hot and fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Increase the heat and add the courgette flesh and seeds and fry for a few minutes until any water from the courgettes evaporates.
- Then add the lamb mince and cook until brown.
- Add the harissa paste and season with ground coriander, all spice, cinnamon, cumin and salt.
- Continue to cook until the lamb juices have evaporated and remove from the heat.
- Then combine the tahini, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl.
- Stir in a tiny amount of water (a tsp at a time) until the sauce is just about pourable.
- Remove the courgettes from the oven, spoon in the lamb mince and drizzle with the tahini sauce.
- Place under the grill / broiler for a further 5 minutes until the tahini sauce starts to brown.
- Serve immediately scattered with chopped fresh parsley.
- Courgettes: Use any courgettes that are fresh and firm. Medium to large courgettes are recommended. The smaller ones can be tricky to prepare and fill. The recipe has been tested with courgettes that are 200-250g (or 7-9oz). The number of courgettes required to use all the filling may vary depending on the size of the courgettes you use.
- Green chillies: you can use red chillies instead, but this will add more heat to the dish. You can also switch this for a little chilli powder, which should be added to the cooked lamb along with the other ground herbs and spices.
- Lamb mince: you can swap this for the same amount of minced beef, turkey, chicken or pork if you prefer.
- Cooked stuffed courgettes can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and in the freezer for 3 months and reheated in the oven or air fryer. Please refer to the storage and reheating instructions in the blog post for detailed instructions and information.
- Nutritional information:
- Is for one stuffed courgette shell.