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Colombian-Style Zucchini Rellenos

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Colombian-Style Zucchini Rellenos are inspired from a Colombian dish, Pepino Rellenos which I fell in love with when I was there many years ago.

These Stuffed Zucchinis, which are low-carb, Whole30, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo, are inspired from a Colombian dish, Pepino Rellenos which I fell in love with when I was there many years ago.
Zucchini Rellenos

These stuffed zucchini are inspired by a dish I had in a few homes in Colombia, Pepinos Rellenos. Since the vegetable they use isn’t available here, I make them with zucchini and it’s just as good! It’s made with ground beef, hard boiled eggs and a tomato sauce that’s wonderful. If you need more stuffed zucchinis ideas try these Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats, Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats and Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats.

Colombian-Style Zucchini Rellenos

In Colombia, they don’t use zucchinis, instead they use Pepinos known as stuffing cucumbers or Slippery Gourds in English. Because that’s not very common here, I used zucchini which are in season. They are low-carb, Whole30, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo.

They might not be pretty to look at but they are quite delicious! Colombians typically stuff the gourds with a mixture of ground beef stewed with tomato sauce and chopped hard boiled eggs. Sometimes they add rice or potato, but I skipped it to keep the carbs low. They also stew it in milk, but I found this didn’t do much for the zucchini, so I steamed it in broth.

You’ll need a really large deep skillet to make this so they all fit, and be sure the zucchinis aren’t too large.

Colombian-Style Zucchini RellenosColombian-Style Zucchini Rellenos

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Colombian-Style Zucchini Rellenos

5 from 8 votes
These Stuffed Zucchinis, which are low-carb, Whole30, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo, are inspired from a Colombian dish, Pepino Rellenos which I fell in love with when I was there many years ago.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
These Stuffed Zucchinis, which are low-carb, Whole30, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo, are inspired from a Colombian dish, Pepino Rellenos which I fell in love with when I was there many years ago.
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 40 mins
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 2 zucchini halves


  • 4 medium 7 ounce each zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 oz 90% lean ground beef
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 diced cup onion
  • 2 cups plum tomatoes chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 hard boiled eggs chopped


  • Using a small spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell on each half.
  • Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside 2/3 of a cup to use in the meat filling, saving the rest to use in another recipe.
  • Drop the zucchini in boiling water for 1 minute, remove and drain.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the ground beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cumin until browned and cooked through, breaking up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a bowl.
  • Add the oil to the skillet and cook the onions and garlic over medium heat until golden, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and simmer about 4 to 5 minutes, until it creates a sauce.
  • To the skillet, add 2/3 cup of the reserved chopped zucchini and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
  • Return the cooked meat to the skillet and simmer covered for about 8 minutes until tender. Add the chopped hard boiled eggs and cook 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting salt and pepper to taste as needed.
  • On a clean working surface, fill the hollowed out zucchinis with the meat filling, dividing equally between each one.
  • Place the broth in large deep 6-quart saucepan with a fitted lid. Heat over medium heat and add the stuffed zucchini halves into the saucepan, cover and reduce heat to low, cook for about 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is soft and cooked through.

Last Step:

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Serving: 2 zucchini halves, Calories: 214 kcal, Carbohydrates: 15.5 g, Protein: 17.5 g, Fat: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 129.5 mg, Sodium: 119.5 mg, Fiber: 4.5 g, Sugar: 5 g


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35 comments on “Colombian-Style Zucchini Rellenos”

  1. Super yummy. I asked my friend from Colombia if it actually tastes like Colombia and she said it just needs green onion and cilantro. I don’t ever boil my zucchini, I just bake them in the broth and casserole dishes for about 20 minutes and they come out great. 

    1. I’m sure that would be great too. I’m Colombian so asked family, but I am sure there is more than one way to make them!

  2. Avatar photo
    Lynnette Cash

    I made this last night, using the suggestion of another reviewer, to coat the cut side of the zucchini, lightly with oil, and cook face down in the skillet for a few minutes, in place of putting them in boiling water. This worked perfectly for me, the insides were easy to scoop, and they weren’t soggy. Also it was very warm, and it saved me from having another pot of boiling water on the stove.. I did add a chopped jalapeno for a little zip, and on my husband’s “boats,” I added a little sharp cheddar. He ate three halves! So, tis good! Tis very good! Thanks! Oh! Forgot to say I only had two zucchinis, so I have filling leftover, I think it will be good in a lettuce wrap!

  3. Avatar photo
    Virginia Sullivan

    Made this last night as I’m doing a combo Whooe 30 and Fodmap diet. We had guests and everyone including me loved them! I just substituted the garlic and onion with powder. Still packed the flavor in. 

  4. I made it the other day and they came out fantastic-I used fresh Roma tomatoes from my garden and have to confess I added reduced fat cheddar. The flavor the egg added to the meat was surprisingly excellent.  Hubby loved it too!  Thx Gina

  5. This is wonderful dish! I have more zucchini than I know what to do with and am always looking for recipes to utilize this summer squash. My family loved this and I forwarded the recipe onto my friends and fellow gardeners!
    Thank you!

  6. When I make stuffed zucchini I usually split them lengthwise, brush will small amount of olive oil and grill flesh side down until almost tender. Then I scoop out the flesh and start the rest of the recipe. Zucchini are never soggy this way. I would imagine the same result would happen if you choose to roast the split zucchini in a hot oven.

  7. Oops! I think you left cumin out of the ingredients list. Is it just 1/4 tsp cumin for the entire recipe? Thanks!

  8. Avatar photo
    Phyllis Wagner

    Gina I calculated the Smart Points with my WW calculator using the NI you provided and I come up with 6 SP per serving. Can you explain please? While it is “only” 2 SP difference, to we on a tight SP budget it could be big. Thanks for your work and I hope to hear from you soon.

    1. The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, that is why.

  9. The instructions say to add the broth in 2 separate steps. Broth is only listed once in the ingredients. Could you please clarify how much of the broth to use in  each of the two steps?

  10. I think there s a mistake about the broth. The recipe calls for the broth in the meat then the recipe said to put the broth in the pan. . Otherwise I love all your recipes and make most of them.

  11. When I made your taco zucchini boats, your recipe also call for putting zucchini in boiling water for one minute,I found the boats to be to soggy. Any other recommendations for precooking zucchini. Thank you

    1. I cook my zucchini, including zoodles, in my air fryer until crisp tender. A little spritz of olive oil and no more soggy zucchini.