These Mediterranean Stuffed Marrows with Beef Mince are a great way to use up extra marrows, courgettes, or zucchini in summer!
Dishes like these always remind me of my childhood days, and my mother's comfort food. Having said that, this recipe for Mediterranean stuffed marrows was far from being my favourite dish as a child! These stuffed marrows with minced beef and/or pork are a Mediterranean style recipe which comes in handy during the early summer season, when overgrown marrows, zucchinis, and courgettes are readily available.
Marrow vs Courgette vs Zucchini
The terms marrows, courgettes, and zucchini are used interchangeably here. A marrow comes from the same vegetable family as the courgette. Marrows are actually courgettes which have been allowed to grow for a while longer. Zucchini and courgette mean the same thing. Zucchini is the Italian name whilst courgette is the French name. Therefore, when zucchini and/or courgettes are allowed to grow, they become marrows.
For this recipe, feel free to use any type you like or whatever have available, although you should remember that a marrow would usually require more stuffing than courgettes or zucchini boats would.
The Best Baked Stuffed Marrows
This recipe for stuffed marrows with mince is great because:
- Its a great way to use up extra marrows/zucchini/courgettes during the early summer months.
- Makes a super delicious Mediterranean-style comfort meal.
- Can be made ahead and frozen (both raw and cooked) for up to 2 months!
- Can be filled with your favourite mince meat or a mixture of it!
Ingredients and Substitutions for Baked Stuffed Marrows
Marrows or Courgettes/Zucchini: You can use whichever of these you have available, but if using marrows, remember that these require more stuffing since they are larger and so you might need less marrows.
Ground Meat: You can use ground beef, ground pork, or a mixture of both. I like to use a 2:1 mixture of beef:pork. You can also use lamb mince if you prefer.
Sausage: This is completely optional and you can use whatever is available to you, fresh or cured. I prefer using Italian-style fresh sausage but Chorizo is also a great option.
Chopped Tomatoes: Canned chopped tomatoes are the best option for this recipe.
Eggs: These are beaten and mixed with the filling to prevent it from breaking up.
Onion and Garlic Clove: For the base sauce of the filling.
Italian Seasoning, Dried chilli, Salt, and Pepper: Seasoning for filling
Marrow flesh/pulp: This is optional, but can be diced and added to the mixture for extra filling.
Parmesan Cheese and Breadcrumbs: Optional toppings for extra flavor.
How do you Make Stuffed Marrows?
This stuffed marrows recipe may seem complicated, but it really isn't!
Step 1: Start by scooping out the flesh/pulp of your marrows/zucchini. You still need to leave a thin layer of flesh around the skin so that the marrow remains firm once baked.
- If using marrows, cut off the cap and reserve it. If using zucchini/courgette, slice them in half lengthwise to form "zucchini boats" and scoop out the flesh from each half.
- Use a round metal measuring spoon to scoop out flesh easily. I usually find the 1 tbsp. spoon size good for larger marrows and the 1 tsp. size great for zucchini boats/courgettes.
- Reserve the pulp and use it as filling or for other recipes!
Step 2: Heat some olive oil in a large skillet and saute a diced onion. Then, add and saute garlic and add seasoning (Italian seasoning, chilli flakes, salt and pepper). Add and brown the ground meat and sausage (if using). This requires around 4-5 minutes.
- Break down chunks of meat as it's cooking using a wooden spoon.
Step 3: Add one and a half can of chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reserve the remaining half can. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. The mixture should not be too liquid as the marrows will become soggy.
- If there is extra liquid, remove it with a spoon and transfer this liquid to the bottom of your baking pan.
Step 4: Transfer the filling mixture to a large glass bowl and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Add 2 lightly beaten eggs to the filling mixture, and if using, add diced marrow flesh from before.
Cover the surface of a large baking pan/dish with the remaining half can of chopped tomatoes and add ¼ to ½ cup of water (depending on the size of your pan).
- You'd need to add a thin layer of liquid so that marrows do not burn while baking, but you shouldn't add too much otherwise they become soggy.
Step 5: Stuff the marrows/courgettes with filling (filling all the way to the top) and sprinkle with grated parmesan and/or breadcrumbs as desired. Place them in the baking pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until the marrow is soft and cooked through. Baking time highly depends on the size and thickness of your marrows/courgettes. More or less baking time may be required.
Check the marrows/zucchini half-way through the baking and add extra water if they are drying up too much.
Remove from oven, allow to cool, and serve for the ultimate Mediterranean-style comfort food!
What to Serve with Stuffed Zucchini
For a complete meal, serve with mashed or roasted potatoes or plain rice! This also goes well with a soup appetizer, such as this healthy Shallot and Leek Soup.
What to do with Marrow Flesh/Pulp
Do not throw away the filling! Instead, you can use it by:
- Dicing it up and mixing it in with the filling (you don't need to cook this before, it will cook whilst in the oven).
- Making zucchini fritters
- Blending it into soups (such as this great Green Detox Spring Soup)
- Using it as soil compost!
Can you Freeze Uncooked Stuffed Zucchini?
Yes! Uncooked Mediterranean stuffed marrows or zucchini can be frozen in a freezer-proof container for up to 2 months, making a perfect make-ahead meal that can be enjoyed when marrows and/or zucchini are not in season! Make sure to thaw them overnight before baking them in the oven.
Baked stuffed marrows can also be frozen in a freezer-proof container for up to 2 months and then thawed and reheated in the microwave or oven.
Mediterranean-style Baked Stuffed Marrows
- 8 medium-sized marrows (or zucchini/courgette) pulp removed
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 garlic clove finely diced
- ½ tbsp. Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. crushed red chillies
- 500 g ground beef
- 250 g ground pork
- 1 medium-sized sausage fresh or cured, case removed and chopped (optional)
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes (approx. 800g)
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- marrow flesh/pulp diced (optional)
- 8 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
- 4 tbsp. breadcrumbs (panko or regular) optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and saute for 5-6 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Add Italian seasoning and dried chillies and salt and pepper (to taste).
- Add ground beef, pork, and sausage and cook on medium heat until browned (4-5 minutes). Add 1½ cans of canned chopped tomatoes (Reserve the remaining ½ can for later). Simmer for 15-20 minutes until most liquid evaporates. If the mixture remains watery, scoop out and reserve this extra water for later use.
- Whilst the meat sauce is simmering, prepare marrows/zucchini for filling.If using round marrows, cut off top cap (and reserve) and scoop out the middle flesh part using a metal measuring spoon with a round-back. Reserve or freeze flesh for later use. Note: you should still have a thin layer of flesh around the marrow.If using zucchini, cut them in half (lengthwise) and scoop out flesh.
- Once meat is ready, transfer to a large glass bowl and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Add diced marrow flesh/pulp if using. Then, mix in 2 lightly beaten eggs with meat mixture.
- Cover the bottom of you baking dish with reserved sauce water and remaining chopped tomatoes + some extra water. Note: You may not need to use all remaining tomatoes, depending on the size of your baking dish, but you need to cover the bottom with a thin liquid layer to prevent marrows from drying out/burning whilst baking.
- Stuff marrows/zucchini with meat mixture. Fill all the way to the top and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
- If using round marrows: Place marrow caps at the side of each marrow. Bake for 35-45 minutes until marrows are tender and tops are slightly golden.If using zucchini: Bake for 25-40 minutes until zucchini is tender and tops are slightly golden.Check the marrows/zucchini half-way through the baking and add extra water if they are drying up too much.
- Bring out from oven, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, and serve warm with mashed or roasted potatoes or steamed rice.