Rice and Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash

Rice and Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash | Food & Nutrition Magazine | Volume 10, Issue 2
Photography by David Raine | Food styling by Breana Moeller | Prop styling by Michelle Wilkinson

Round summer squash is stuffed with rice, ricotta cheese and vegetables, and topped with breadcrumbs and walnuts in this oven-baked vegetarian version of an Argentinian classic, Zapallitos Rellenos.

SERVING SIZE: 2 stuffed squash halves (315 grams)
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 minutes


  • 4 small to medium round zucchini squash
  • 2 tablespoons (24 milliliters) olive oil, divided
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ⅓ cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped


  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cut each squash in half horizontally. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place squash halves in boiling water and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to ice water to cool, then remove and pat dry. Using a spoon, scoop out and reserve seeds and pulp from each squash leaving a cavity roughly ¼-inch thick for stuffing.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly coat a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  3. To make the filling, warm 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, reserved seeds and pulp and basil. Increase heat to high, stirring often until some liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add rice and ricotta and mix. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Arrange squash on the prepared baking sheet. Using a spoon, place equal amounts of filling in each squash half. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs and walnuts, then sprinkle over squash. Bake until golden brown on top, about 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Cooking note: If round zucchini squash is not available, use long zucchini squash. Cut into 1½- to 2-inch-thick rounds. Hollow out the center of each round, leaving about ⅛ inch in the bottom, to make a cup for filling.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 370 calories, 15g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 16mg cholesterol, 418mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2g sugar, 14g protein, 865mg potassium, 302mg phosphorus

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Romina Barritta
Romina Barritta, DTR, is a dietitian based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She runs GlobalDietitians.com, a networking site for food and nutrition professionals from around the world. She is Board member of the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (IAAND). Follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.