Bean There. Done That. Low Carb. Low Fat.
Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like without my abuelita. Each time I cook a big pot of pinto beans, I can hear my grandmother clearly telling me, “Ponle mas sal,” or “Put more salt in.” The other day, I remembered one of my favorite dishes she would make. My grandmother called it “Calabacitas Rellenas de Carne Molida.” For non-Spanish speaking readers, I’m changing this name to “Taco Stuffed Zucchini.” Paleo, low carb, a total crowd pleaser, and cheesy (just like me). 😉
How do you play nice with zucchini and how do you get them to cooperate in this low carb dish? You will need to use a small spoon to take out the middle of the zucchini. Think of this as “veggie surgery.” You can also use a melon baller, but I’m not that fancy. I ain’t got one of those in my kitchen but I’m open to receiving one as a stocking stuffer. 🙂
Once the meat is cooked, add half of the can of tomato. In a casserole dish, add the remaining tomato can to the bottom, cilantro, remaining jalapeno, and salt. Stick this in the oven for 10 minutes. That’s just to soften them up a bit. They will cook entirely once you add the beef. Take the casserole dish out of the oven and spoon in the meat mixture.
I’m adding cheddar cheese, but you can use whatever cheese you like. My grandmother would have used queso oaxaca, but I never find it at the grocery store. Cheddar will do. Trust me, I’m not complaining. Cows are my friends. I love ooeey gooey cheddar cheese!
This recipe is so simple too. Why overthink things? Less is more (more or less). Let the ingredients shine… shine bright like a diamond! Besides, it’s all about the smells of home – cilantro, jalapeño, onions. Mmmm… I guess that’s one of the things Latinas are known for: fresh and natural cooking.
My abuelita was a very sweet woman. Actually, literally sweet. Her blood sugar levels were nearly in orbit. My grandmother was a diabetic even though she weighed perhaps 100 lbs. max on a good day – not what many people think a person with blood sugar issues typically looks like. She was no chunky monkey and actually couldn’t easily eat anything that either Ben or Jerry concocted. With reducing sugar weighing heavily on her mind, my grandmother made several carb-friendly, yummy dishes like this Taco Stuffed Zucchini. These may not be her “calabacitas,” but they are still pretty good … if I do say so myself. And even if I don’t say so, my friends and family will. But I’ll let you be the judge.
- 4 zucchini, cut length-wise
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced - divided
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ onion, diced
- 1 garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
- Using a melon baller or small spoon, hallow the zucchini.
- Chop up the zucchini flesh and drain excess water with a paper towel.
- Set the zucchini flesh aside.
- Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, breaking it up while it cooks.
- Add the cumin, oregano, half the jalapeño, chili powder, onion, garlic, zucchini flesh, and ½ can of tomato.
- Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a casserole dish, add the other half of the tomato can, the remaining jalapeño, and cilantro.
- Place the hallowed zucchini on top of the tomato mixture.
- Put the casserole dish in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Take out and using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats dividing the taco meat equally, about ⅓ cup in each, pressing firmly.
- Top each zucchini with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.