Tuna Stuffed Zucchini | Zucchine Ripiene al Tonno

Tuna Stuffed Zucchini is a very easy and tasty Italian recipe. You can serve them as an appetizer or as a main course.

Enjoy the zucchini stuffed with tuna warm from the oven or cold for a fresh summer lunch.

Zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen, especially loved for its delicate flavor that goes well with fish in many different recipes.

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For this simple but very appetizing recipe, you need to blanch the zucchini briefly in water. Then you make some “boats” with the zucchini (we’ll explain how to do it) and stuff them with a delicious filling made with TUNA IN OIL. Finally, bake until lightly golden and super crispy!

We also give you two more great recipes for stuffed zucchini boats with FRESH TUNA! One with baking and the other without baking, with a fresh tuna tartare! So keep reading!

Now let’s see how to make tuna stuffed zucchini in a few simple steps!

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Tuna Stuffed Zucchini Recipe: Instructions

Make the Zucchini Boats

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Step 1) – Wash the zucchini and remove the ends.

Then BOIL them in plenty of water for about 6 to 8 minutes so that they are firm but still soft inside.

Drain and leave to cool. If you cannot wait, you can quickly cool them in cold water.

Cut them in half lengthwise with a knife. You will get two “boats” from each zucchini.

PLEASE NOTE: We recommend medium to small zucchini, about 12 to 15 cm (5 to 6 inch). If they are longer, you can cut them in half to get four “boats” from each zucchini.

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Step 2) – Use a spoon or small digger to scoop out the flesh of the zucchini. Place it in a bowl. Be careful not to dig too deep or the zucchini will become too thin and break.

We don’t recommend using the whole inner part of the zucchini. Half is enough. Otherwise you will get a filling that is too watery.

Make the Tuna Filling

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Step 3) – Now add the tuna. Stir with a spoon or fork to crumble the tuna as much as possible.

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Step 4) – Chop the anchovies and add them to the mixture with the Parmigiano Reggiano and the egg. Mix everything well.

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Step 5) – Finally, add almost all the breadcrumbs to give more texture to the filling (set aside about 2 tablespoons) and chopped parsley for a touch of freshness. Mix very well with a spoon.

Stuff the Zucchini Boats

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Step 6) – Fill the zucchini boats with the stuffing. Use a spoon to compact the zucchini so that the filling doesn’t overflow during cooking. Place the tuna stuffed zucchini in a baking dish lightly greased with a tablespoon of oil.

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Step 7) – Sprinkle each zucchini with a little bread breadcrumbs and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. This will serve to form a crispy, golden crust during baking.

Bake and Serve

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Step 8) – Bake in a preheated, ventilated oven at 180°C (350°F) for about 30-40 minutes. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving, as the filling will compact a bit when it gets warm.

There you go, your tuna stuffed zucchini are done! They are great cold or hot, depending on your taste and the season.

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You can store the zucchini stuffed with tuna in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 1-2 days.

Tuna Stuffed Zucchini: Some Variations and Tips

Typical of the spring season, zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen, and it comes in many varieties.

We have chosen the classic green, medium-sized zucchini. Of course, you can also choose lighter green, white, yellow, or round zucchini.

If you like, you can also change the filling to suit your taste. Here are a few suggestions that work well with tuna.

  • OLIVE OR CAPERS: For example, you can add some olives or chopped capers, typical Mediterranean ingredients that are very good in this recipe.
  • OREGANO OR BASIL: You can also vary it with your favorite herbs and spices. Instead of parsley, try oregano or basil.
  • CHILI: If you like spicy flavors, add some fresh or powdered hot chili peppers.
  • LEMON ZEST: Very interesting is the addition of a little grated lemon zest. This adds a fresh and aromatic flavor ideal for summer dinners.
  • MOZZARELLA: You can also add diced mozzarella to the filling for a richer dish with a delicious stringy effect. We recommend draining the mozzarella well before adding it to the filling.

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Stuffed Zucchini with Fresh Tuna

In the above recipe, we recommend using tuna in oil. It’s certainly very tasty and gives dishes an unmistakable and very appetizing flavor.

It’s also very convenient! Who doesn’t have a can of tuna in oil at home for quick recipes or a last-minute salad?

But if you are a real fish lover, and tuna in particular, you can also use FRESH TUNA.

Certainly, the dish will be more delicate and you will have to make some changes to the recipe, mainly in the cooking.

We offer two ideas, the first with fresh cooked tuna and the second with raw tuna.

Method 1) – Boil the zucchini for 5 minutes and remove the pulp. Continue cooking in a pan with a little oil and garlic for another 5 minutes, turning them on both sides and salting them lightly.

While the zucchini boats are cooling, prepare the filling: in a bowl, put the zucchini pulp, breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano and parsley (or other herbs you prefer), salt and pepper to taste.

Instead of the egg, add a boiled potato and mash it with a fork. This way the filling does not need a long cooking time.

Dice the fresh tuna and add it to the filling.

Stuff the zucchini and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 8-10 minutes. Fresh tuna should not be cooked for a long time so as not to lose its tenderness.

Method 2) – Cook the zucchini in boiling salted water for 10 minutes.

Cut in half lengthwise and leave to cool.

Remove the inside pulp, but DO NOT use it for the stuffing.

Fill the zucchini boats with a tartar of VERY FRESH raw tuna seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, chopped capers, chopped cherry tomatoes and a little lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

This is a more summery version that brings out all the flavor and delicacy of fresh tuna.

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Sicilian Tuna Stuffed Zucchini

The most unique version of stuffed zucchini with tuna is certainly the Sicilian one.

In Southern Italy, especially in Sicily, it’s very common to add sweet ingredients to savory dishes. The combination of sweet and savory makes the dishes very special.

Raisins, pine nuts, almonds, orange zest, and fennel are typical ingredients in many Sicilian savory dishes, such as sarde a beccafico and the delicious pasta con le sarde.

There is no precise and unique recipe for Sicilian tuna stuffed zucchini, because each area has its own.

We suggest omitting the Parmigiano and adding raisins and some grated orange zest.

You can also replace the parsley with chopped wild fennel or fennel seeds.

In this way you will have zucchini stuffed with tuna, with typical Sicilian flavors, where the sweet and the salty come together to perfection!

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