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Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini

Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini – Unique single serving size zucchini stuffed with bacon, tomato, onion, cheese, and seasoned bread crumbs.

A few years ago, BeeBop and I spent several very relaxing days in Beaufort on the South Carolina coast. Neither of us had been to Beaufort before but we have long loved that area. Both Savannah and Charleston are favorites of ours. The culture and charm of the whole region are very appealing to us.

Baked stuffed 8-Ball Zucchini in a green serving dish.

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. It has a long, complex history and the architecture is breathtaking. If you’d like to see a bit 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 leaving, 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.

Three round 8-ball zucchini.

Have you seen these before? Naturally, I grabbed several to bring home and stuff with this delicious filling of bacon, onion, tomato, cheese, and bread crumbs. If you don’t have access to cute round zucchini, you can certainly use this filling with the more common shape to make stuffed zucchini boats.

🛒 Ingredient Notes


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  • “8 Ball” Zucchini — These uniquely shaped zucchini make a lovely presentation but you won’t typically find them in your local grocery store. Look for them in farmers’ markets or buy a packet of seeds and grow your own! If you don’t have access to them, simply substitute with two average-sized long zucchini in the recipe.
  • Bacon – My preferred brand of bacon is always Smithfield. Use whatever you like best.
  • Tomato – Choose a medium-sized, nicely ripened tomato.
  • Onion – Pick a medium sized yellow, white, or red onion.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese – I always reach for extra sharp cheddar for my recipes. Mild or medium is fine, too.
  • Dry Bread Crumbs – I do specify Italian seasoned bread crumbs in the recipe. If you have plain bread crumbs, simply add a teaspoon of mixed Italian seasoning.
  • Chicken Stock (or broth) – Adding stock in the bottom of the pan prevents the zucchini from scorching and also adds additional flavor. If you’re out of broth, just use water.

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Stuffed 8-Ball Zucchini


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Zucchini with the centers hollowed out.
  1. Slice the tops off each zucchini. Set them aside for later.
  2. Hollow out each zucchini, chop, and reserve the pulp.

👉 PRO TIP: Hollowing out the zucchini is very easy if you have a grapefruit spoon. Those serrated edges really cut right through the pulp.

Chopped tomato and onion on a cutting board.
  1. Chop the tomato and onion and set it aside.
Chopped bacon cooking in a frying pan.
  1. Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4” pieces. Add it to a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the bacon has browned and rendered most of its fat.
Zucchini pulp, tomato, and onion cooking in frying pan.
  1. Add the reserved zucchini pulp, tomato, and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften.
Adding bread crumbs and cheese to filling.
  1. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bread crumbs and about 2/3 of the cheese reserving some for the topping. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
Collage showing how to stuff the zucchini.
  1. Sprinkle each hollowed zucchini lightly with salt and pepper and stuff it with the mixture. Place the stuffed zucchini in a shallow baking dish or pan and add chicken stock to a depth of about 1/4 inch.
  2. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
Additional cheese added to tops of stuffed zucchini.
  1. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and add the remaining cheese to the top of each zucchini. Place the reserved zucchini tops in the stock. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 20 more minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
  2. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the softened tops back on the zucchini for serving.

🔀 Variations


  • Add two finely minced cloves of garlic to the filling.
  • Stir in 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes for a bit of heat and spiciness.
  • Swap out the cheddar cheese for mozzarella.
  • Use plain bread crumbs and add fresh basil and oregano to the tomato and onion filling.

🍽️ How to Serve


I served this as a side dish with Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs and a fresh tossed salad. It’s also delicious alongside my Lemon and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs. I could also see that as a nice entree for a meatless dinner.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Baked stuffed 8-Ball Zucchini in a green serving dish.

Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini

Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini – Unique single serving size zucchini stuffed with bacon, tomato, onion, cheese, and seasoned bread crumbs.
4.57 from 16 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Vegetables
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 376kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 “8 Ball” Zucchini
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 tomato peeled and chopped
  • ½ medium onion chopped
  • ¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • ½ cup chicken stock (may need up to 1 cup)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • 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.
  • Cut the bacon crosswise into ¼” 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 ⅔ of the cheese reserving some for topping. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
  • Stuff each hollowed zucchini with mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish or pan and add chicken stock to a depth of about ¼ inch.
  • 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.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the softened tops back on the zucchini for serving.

Notes

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 376kcal | Carbohydrates 34g | Protein 20g | Fat 19g | Saturated Fat 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat 2g | Monounsaturated Fat 5g | Cholesterol 48mg | Sodium 772mg | Potassium 871mg | Fiber 5g | Sugar 11g | Vitamin A 1389IU | Vitamin C 46mg | Calcium 406mg | Iron 3mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on June 4, 2010. It has been updated with additional information.

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35 Comments

  1. David j Hollis says:

    I grew some this year for the first time really nice stuffed some oh so good I used smoked ham instead of bacon. Wow!

  2. Anne Beecroft says:

    I accidentally bought a ball zucchini, having never even heard of it before. Made this recipe with one overgrown zucchini and it was perfect for the two of us. It’s a great combination of flavors and I will make it again. Leaving tomorrow in our motorhome and will bring the 2 zucchini that I have now. The ingredients are easy enough to bring along.

  3. Lynette Kelley says:

    Just returned from Beaufort visiting my family and went to my favorite spot, Dempsey’s Farms to pick some tomatoes and sweet corn. They also had some 8 ball squash so I’m looking forward to trying them. The young man who sold them said they are awesome hollowed out with cream cheese and bacon. This recipe sounds amazing!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. I am eating on these right now and they are delicious!

  8. 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!

  9. 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. Love them! Love your recipe, too. Aren’t they just the cutest?! And tasty, too!!

  11. Jason's BBQ Adventures says:

    Amazing zucchini recipe! Great pictorial instructions, I am trying to do this more often. Only problem is every time I missed 1 important picture.

    1. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

    1. 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!

  14. 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.

    1. So glad you liked them. And, yes, they would be great for Fall celebrations, wouldn’t they?

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

    1. Oh, great idea for the grapefruit spoon! Never thought to use it for cleaning jalapenos. Thanks!

  17. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Those stuffed zucchini look picture perfect! Love the bacon in the stuffing and the melted cheese on top!

  18. 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!

    1. 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!

  19. Alisa-Foodista says:

    I haven’t seen this before. It looks wonderful! If you won’t mind I’d love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it’s good to go.Thanks!

  20. great recipe and helpful instructional photos :)

  21. Barbara @ moderncomfortfood 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.

  22. I’ve never seen these before! They look so delicious stuffed with all that yumminess…

  23. These zucchini are so cute! I have never come across these in the stores myself.

  24. You had me at bacon.

    Miss P

  25. 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.

    1. Hi Teri – You could use this recipe with any zucchini. I just thought the little round one were cute!

      1. 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)

  26. karenbove says:

    Lovely photos! Now I want to go to Beaufort too. And the recipe looks wonderful. You just can’t go wrong with those ingredients.