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Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta

Are you ready for a great, make ahead, vegetarian dish? This Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta is what you are looking for.

Not only is it delicious but these Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta can be made well ahead of time. Prepare, refrigerate then pop into the oven. All you need to do is pour yourself a drink and relax while dinner cooks itself!

Baking tray with six Stuffed Zucchini halves with Ricotta in tomato sauce

Years gone by there seemed to be all the time in the world. As kids, days were so long that even after school, the afternoon was full of fun and exciting things to do. We would ride our bikes and explore the bush. Go play with the neighboring kids and eat homemade milk ice-blocks. Sometimes, mum would pick us up when school finished and we would spend the afternoon swimming at the creek.

Today, we all seem to be pushed for time. Whether you are working full time or a stay at home parent, a student or retired grandmother, we all seem to be taking on more than we should. There is a notion that if you’re not super busy then you must be lazy. This is a western world problem which for the moment doesn’t seem to have a solution. Firstly we need to try to make things easier for ourselves, take a step back and make a few changes.

Four green zucchini

This Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta Recipe

Regardless, one thing I don’t want to change is the quality of meals we eat in our home. So, what to do?  More often, I find I am preparing meals ahead of time. These Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta can be prepared up to the baking stage, 12 hours ahead.

Hot tip, if you bought too much ricotta, and you are wondering can you freeze ricotta cheese, the answer is yes!

Just heat the oven, bake and serve with crusty bread. Likewise, these zucchini make a yummy side dish to a steak, roasted meat with my roasted garlic butter or my Chicken Pomodoro. Choose plump zucchini that are tender and firm. Scoop out the pulp with a teaspoon. I found a melon baller made the job a lot easier but use what you have.

Take care not to break the skin – the taste will still be good but it might not look as good.

Six hollowed out green zucchini halves

Is this dish just for vegetarians?

Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta is one of the many vegetable based Italian dishes so delicious that you won’t even miss the meat. Similarly Roasted Zucchini, Cavatelli and  Broccoli or even Eggplant Involtini are all wonderful recipes here on Marcellina in Cucina that celebrate vegetables. And all these recipes are quite simple as well!

Two baking trays of unbaked Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta in tomato sauce

Ultimately, if you are looking for a recipe that you can make ahead, this is one to put on the list. Of course, leftovers are delicious the next day, too!

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Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta

These zucchini stuffed with ricotta can be served along side a roast. piece of chicken or steak or even on their own as a vegetarian meal. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. 
4.95 from 51 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings:6 people
Author: Marcellina


  • 6 zucchini about 15cm (6in) long
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup fresh basil finely shredded
  • 1 ½ cups fresh ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated pecorino cheese plus extra for sprinkling
  • grated rind of half lemon
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 400 g canned, peeled whole tomatoes pureed in the blender or food processor
  • salt to taste
  • a little sugar if needed


  • Preheat oven 400°F (200°C). Have ready one or two baking trays that will fit the zucchini halves snugly.
  • Cut the zucchini half. Using a teaspoon or melon baller remove the pulp from the centre. Be sure to keep the skin intact. Sprinkle the zucchini shells with a little salt. Finely chop the zucchini pulp.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft but not brown about 5 minutes.
  • Add the zucchini pulp and cook until tender.
  • Add breadcrumbs and mix well. Remove from heat.
  • In a bowl mix together basil, ricotta, pecorino, lemon rind and egg. Add onion/zucchini mixture. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To make the tomato sauce return the frying pan to the heat. Into the frying pan add oil and garlic for the sauce. Fry gently until fragrant. Add the pureed tomatoes and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  • Pour tomato sauce into baking tray/s.
  • Using a small spoon filling the zucchini shells with the ricotta mixture and nestle into the tomato sauce.
  • Sprinkle over extra grated pecorino.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until zucchini are tender and tops are nicely browned.


  • if ricotta seems moist, drain in a sieve for half an hour before using
  • top of filling may not completely brown, if this is the case place under the griller (broiler) until nicely golden brown 
  • these stuffed zucchini can be prepared for baking and refrigerated for up to 12 hours then baked just before serving
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 756mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 845IU | Vitamin C: 43.5mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 2.3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I added veg from the garden…Swiss chard, fresh tomatoes, jalapeños, and used giant zucchini ( son-in-law did not believe me when I said they grow a foot in a day). Excellent

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made these Twice and they are absolutely delicious! Thank you !! ❤️ I highly recommend!! ????????????????

  3. 5 stars
    I found your website today while searching for stuffed zucchini recipes. Tonight I made the Stuffed Zucchini with Ricotta. It was delicious, and so easy to prepare per your instructions. I look forward to making it again along with other recipes on your site. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Janice! Welcome to Marcellina in Cucina! Thank you so much for giving me such excellent feedback. I really appreciate it and am so glad you enjoyed the Stuffed Zucchini as much as we do. The aim of the site is to share my favorite recipes and help readers prepare my recipes and have success the first time. Too often good cooks don’t share all their secrets and I don’t agree with that. If we all did that we’d be starting from scratch with every generation. Please feel free to reach out anytime and I will try my best to help with any cooking or baking question. Take care xx

  4. 4 stars
    Really easy to make.
    I thought there might be too much ricotta for me but its was countered by other flavors.
    My wife went to the local market to buy zucchinis so I would make it again

  5. This is fabulous. I love the ricotta filing. I wouldn’t even mind a little prosciutto in it! This would be a perfect meal for me.

      1. works with giant zucchini as well. take out seeds. the tough skin keeps the boats afloat…so to speak

  6. Beautiful and tasty dish! I make something similar with feta cheese, but will try your version next time. I love the addition of basil in the filling. 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Oh my!!! These look absolutely wonderful Marcellina ♥ I make a similar recipe but these just look perfect! I have pinned to try.
    I am totally in agreement with you, we do need to slow things down and appreciate the now and present. Thank you for the gentle reminder ♥♥♥