Zucchini Rolls

5 from 2 votes

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Stuck in a dinner rut? Try my Zucchini Rolls! Inspired by classics like cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers, these rolls pack a punch with a tasty meat and 🍚 rice combo. What’s cool? You can spice ’em up however you want for extra flavor. And guess what? They’re a breeze to put together! With 20-25 rolls per batch, you’ll have plenty for you and your whole family.

Why You’ll Love Zucchini Rolls

Get ready to fall for my favorite Zucchini Rolls! Packed with my Mom’s secret blend of meat, rice, and spices, these babies bring all the comfort of classic stuffed peppers 🫑 with a fun twist. Easy to customize and even easier to devour, they’re perfect for cozy family dinners or impressing your friends at a potluck. Trust me, one bite and you’ll be hooked!

How to Prepare Zucchini Rolls

🔪 Cut zucchini into 1/4 inch slices and place on a baking dish. Season with salt and olive oil. Bake at 425F (215C) for 15 minutes.

💦 Place zucchini slices on paper towels to absorb moisture and cool.

🔥 Meanwhile, in the pan on the stove, sauté onion in oil, then add garlic, spices, tomato paste, and rice. Mix and let cool slightly.

🍚 Combine rice mixture with ground meat. Place about 1 tablespoon of meat onto each zucchini slice and roll up.

🍅 Spread tomato sauce in a baking dish, arrange zucchini rolls, top with more sauce, and add water to the rim of the rolls.

♨️ Cover with foil and bake at 425F (215C) for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.

🌿 Garnish with parsley or dill before serving. Enjoy!

Nonna’s Tip 🧄

You need some water in the dish so that the rice and meat cooks fully. This recipe will work with eggplant too and you can absolutely grill them instead of bake them or even shallow fry them too.

Zucchini Rolls

Variations and Substitutions for Zucchini Rolls

  1. Instead of ground meat, you can use a 🌿 plant-based meat substitute or simply increase the amount of rice or add cooked lentils for protein.
  2. Cheese lover? Add a layer of shredded cheese 🧀 on top of the zucchini rolls before baking.
  3. This recipe will also work with 🍆 eggplant.
  4. Feel free to grill the zucchini or eggplant instead of baking them or you could even shallow fry them.
  5. Substitute the rice with quinoa, couscous, or bulgur for a different texture and flavor. However, you will have to experiment and adjust the quantities.

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Common Questions

What type of salt do you use?

I use Redmond Real Salt, please note that depending on the salt you use, your dish may be less or more salty. Salt is to taste so please always taste and adjust as you cook.

What type of meat should I use for this recipe?

You can use any type of ground meat you like, such as ground beef, turkey, chicken, or even lamb.

Is there a vegetarian or vegan option for this recipe?

Yes, you can certainly omit the ground meat entirely or substitute it with cooked lentils, tofu, or a plant-based meat alternative.

Can I prepare the zucchini rolls ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the zucchini rolls and store them in the refrigerator for up to one day before baking. Just make sure to add the tomato sauce and water right before baking.

Can I freeze the cooked zucchini rolls?

Yes, you can freeze the cooked zucchini rolls for up to 2-3 months. Make sure to wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or freezer-safe containers before freezing.

Zucchini Rolls

Zucchini Rolls

Get ready to fall for my favorite Zucchini Rolls! Packed with my Mom's secret blend of meat, rice, and spices, these babies bring all the comfort of classic stuffed peppers with a fun twist.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Bulgarian
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


The Zucchini

  • 5 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

The Filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, very finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, very finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup jasmine rice , or any variety
  • 350 grams ground meat, we love pork but you can use any

The Base

  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • cup water , approximately


  • Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch slices and place on a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and olive oil on each side. Bake at 425F (220C) until soft, about 15 min.
  • Place on paper towel to absorb any moisture and to cool off. In the meantime sauté the onion in a little bit of oil on medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic, spices and stir. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the rice and stir. Once it’s all incorporated take it off the heat.
  • Let it cool a touch and add it to your ground meat and mix well. Take the zucchini slices and add about 1 tablespoon of meat into each one and roll them up.
  • Add tomato sauce to a baking dish (mine is 10 by 10) and arrange the rolls. Sauce on top and add the water to the rim of the rolls.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 425F (220C) covered for 15 minutes and uncovered for another 15 or until the rice is cooked. Garnish with parsley or dill and enjoy



Calories: 474kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 985mg, Potassium: 1179mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 879IU, Vitamin C: 52mg, Calcium: 84mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Bulgarian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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