Fresh Start Bariatric Cookbook: Healthy Recipes to Enjoy Favorite Foods After Weight-Loss Surgery

Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Ground Beef and Cheese


Here are your Italian favorites packed into one meal—lean ground beef, mozzarella cheese, Italian seasonings, and tomatoes—without the heavy carb-laden pasta. If you garden, this is a great way to use up the plentiful zucchini harvest.

4 medium zucchini

Nonstick cooking spray

1 pound extra-lean ground beef

½ cup chopped onion

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ pound mushrooms, sliced

1 large tomato, diced

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

¼ cup whole-wheat bread crumbs

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese, divided

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2 Cut off the ends of the zucchini, and halve them lengthwise.

3 Cut a thin edge off the rounded side of each zucchini half to allow them to lie flat. Scoop out the pulp, leaving ¼-inch-wide shells. Set the pulp aside.

4 Place the boats in a dish that’s both microwave-and oven-safe, and add about ¼ cup of water to the bottom of the dish. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until the boats are crisp-tender. Drain the liquid from the dish and set the dish aside.

5 Spray a large skillet with cooking spray, and place it over medium heat. Cook the ground beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is soft, about 7 minutes. Drain any grease from the skillet and set the skillet aside.

6 In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini pulp, egg, mushrooms, diced tomato, tomato sauce, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, pepper, ½ cup of cheese, and the ground beef and onion mixture.

7 Spoon about ¼ cup of the mixture into each zucchini boat.

8 Sprinkle the tops with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.

9 Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly brown, and serve.

Post-op tip: Many patients struggle with constipation after bariatric surgery. There can be many reasons for a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements, but for one, most people have decreased fiber intake. A lot of patients have concerns about following a low-carb diet because they feel that grains are the only source of fiber. The good news is that vegetables are just as good a source of fiber, if not better, as whole grains. Focus on getting plenty of veggies in your diet to help keep your gastrointestinal system regular.

Per Serving (1 zucchini boat): Calories: 162 Total fat: 6g Sodium: 304mg Total carbs: 11g Sugar: 5g Fiber: 2g Protein: 16g

Post-Op Servings

image ¼ to ½ zucchini boat image 1 zucchini boat