8-Ball Zucchini

Last weekend, BeeBop and I spent 3 wonderful, relaxing days in Beaufort on the South Carolina coast. Neither of us had been there before but we have long loved the area. Both Savannah and Charleston are favorites of ours. The culture and charm of that whole region is very appealing to us. Since Beaufort is located in between those two larger cities, we thought we’d give it a try at least once and we were not disappointed. Beaufort has a long, complex history and the architecture is breathtaking. If you’d like to see some of what we saw take a look at these Beaufort photos I uploaded to flickr.

One of the most interesting things we saw was the ruins of Old Sheldon Church, a spot we almost missed. When we were on our way back Monday morning, we turned down a road we had not taken on the way over. Not long after, I just happened to look to my right and saw an absolutely beautiful sight. We quickly turned around and went back to investigate. If you’re ever in the area of Beaufort, take time to find Old Sheldon Church. It’s a hauntingly beautiful place.

Just a little further down the road we spotted a produce stand and, of course, we pulled over to investigate. Got fresh, local peaches and strawberries, but the star of that stand was these little 8-Ball zucchini.

Have you seen these before? I had seen them on the internet, but never for sale. Naturally, I grabbed several. When we got back home I started looking for a recipe for these perfect, single-serving sized zucchini.

This recipe comes from Soupbelly, a gorgeous blog with great recipes and beautiful photography. The combination of flavors in this is really delicious. I mean, really, how could you go wrong when you start with three slices of bacon? Then add onion, tomato, cheese and bread crumbs. Really.

2-3 “8 Ball” Zucchini
3 slices bacon
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 to 1 cup chicken stock
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the tops off each zucchini. Set them aside and reserve for later. Hollow out each zucchini, chop and reserve the pulp. Hollowing out the zucchini is very easy if you have a grapefruit spoon. Those serrated edges really cut right through the pulp.

Chop the tomato and onion and set aside.

Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4” pieces. Add it to the skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the bacon has browned and rendered most of its fat.

Add the reserved zucchini pulp, tomato and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add bread crumbs and 2/3 of the cheese reserving some for topping. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

Sprinkle each hollowed zucchini lightly with salt and pepper and stuff with the mixture. Place stuffed zucchini in a shallow baking dish or pan and add chicken stock to a depth of about 1/4 inch.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and add remaining cheese to top of each zucchini. Place the reserved zucchini tops in the stock. Return to the oven and cook for 20 more minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Enjoy!

8 Ball Zucchini
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Unique 8-ball zucchini stuffed with bacon, tomato, onion, and cheese.
Ingredients
  • 2-3 “8 Ball” Zucchini
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the tops off each zucchini. Set aside and reserve for later. Hollow out each zucchini, chop and reserve the pulp. Chop the tomato and onion and set aside.
  3. Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4” pieces. Add to skillet over medium-high heat and cook until bacon has browned and rendered most of its fat. Add the reserved zucchini pulp, tomato and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add bread crumbs and 2/3 of the cheese reserving some for topping. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
  4. Stuff each hollowed zucchini with mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish or pan and add chicken stock to a depth of about 1/4 inch.
  5. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add remaining cheese to top of each zucchini. Place the reserved zucchini tops in the stock. Return to oven and cook for 20 more minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
Notes
All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.

— Original recipe from http://www.soupbelly.com

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Lana,
    I’ve never heard of 8 ball zucchini but I’ll be watching for it now. That recipe looks and sounds delish and soooo easy! Perfect for a lazy cook like me. Thanks.
    Loved your photos too. SC is now on my list of places to visit. Just loved the feeling I got when I was looking at them.

      • Teri says

        Doh! That’s why I visit your site. When it comes to cooking I’m unable to think of the obvious. (A very sheepish thank you)

  2. says

    These look excellent, and just about anything that has tomatoes, bacon, onions, and cheese is A-OK with me. When my family travels by car, fruit and vegetable stands are one of the main things we brake for. So much fun to discover the best of local produce, wherever one goes.

  3. says

    They sell these zucchini at the strawberry stand by my house all the time, but I’ve never been entirely sure what to do with them. Now I know. Thank you!

    • says

      I have a few of these leftover so tomorrow night I’ll slice those into rounds, add a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven or on the grill until nice and browned. One more use for these beautiful little zucchini!

  4. says

    We have these at our farmer’s market and I have stuffed them before but your stuffing looks better! I’ll have to pick some up on my next trip. :)
    I just love my grapefruit spoon. There are also handy when cleaning jalepenos!

  5. says

    I’m not even a huge zucchini fan, but this recipe makes me want some. How can bacon and cheese in a recipe not make it fantastic?

    Not to mention how adorable these came out! Great idea!

  6. Tracey says

    I made these tonight after I finally found the 8-ball squash this weekend. I made a few emergency substitutions, and they turned out so good I may make them the same way again!

    Substitution #1: I had no breadcrumbs, so I crushed up some Carr’s Cheese Melt crackers. These crackers are a bit of a luxury item, but they are soooo tasty.
    Substitution #2: I used a finely diced red pepper instead of tomatoes. I had one left in the fridge and didn’t want it to go to waste.
    Substitution #3: It’s too hot right now, so I baked them on my grill.

    I wish the squash were in season around Thanksgiving, because these were excellent and a lot of fun to present at the table.

  7. foodlvr says

    I have eaten 8 Ball Zucchini before. A local U-Pick farm has them and they are just delicious. I usually just slice and cook with garlic but stuffing it looks really excellent.

    BTW, Charleston and Savannah are two of my favorite cities too. Never been to Beaufort, but have passed there. Sounds like a pretty place too.

    • says

      If you ever have a chance to drive through Beaufort, you’ll love it too. Gorgeous historic area on the waterfront, beautiful homes, all the charm of Savannah and Charleston without the crowds!

  8. Kari Springer says

    Lana – You inspired me with your beautiful photos and wonderful ingredients! I have had a bumper crop of yellow and green 8-ball zucchini squash in the Minnesota growing season this year. I adapted the recipe to a marinara style! Let me know if you would like a copy of the recipe. I acutally use my pampered chef melon baller/cookie scoop for hollowing out the 8-balls. It works great! Thanks for the great recipe and gorgeous pictorial!

    • says

      Thanks, Jason. It does take a little time to get used to cooking and photographing at the same time, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out!

  9. says

    I’m a bit late to the 8-ball party it seems! I have a question on how the sliced versions worked out. Were they good? I’m going to try the stuffed version too. Any more preparation methods, even as a side? I’ve got about eight of these little things from our weekly veg box delivery and I’ve never cooked with them so looking for interesting recipes and ways of serving them for me and my hubby so they dont go to waste. Can you eat the skin if it’s been baked? The skins seem very hard. Thanks for your help x

  10. hipEchk says

    We live in Charleston, SC & picked up some 8 ball zucchini from the farmers market over the weekend. Since I hadn’t cooked with them before, I went on the search for ideas; I’m so thankful I found you’re post! I added some minced garlic while I was sautéing the onions & they turned out perfectly. The whole family loved them! Thanks for such a fun & easy recipe!

  11. tammy says

    This recipe is simply delicious. I raise and sell 8 balls at our local farmers mkt. They are delicious and so is this recipe. Think I may try cooking them on the grill someday.

  12. says

    I bought a zucchini plant (2 plants) to put in my garden what a surprise!! when they started to grow I had gotten the wrong plant these were 8 Ball and I did not notice so I looked for a recipe and this one was soooo good I will keep growing these I am going to try frying these like the others.

  13. Deann says

    I had never heard of these until last night when a friend of ours brought us a couple. I can’t wait to try! This recipe looks AWESOME! Think this is on the menu for tonight!

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