14 Vegetables You Should Be Stuffing

One of the biggest misconceptions about vegetarian cooking is that your options are limited. There are only so many meats out there, but there is an abundance of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and cheeses to choose from. Vegetables themselves are incredibly flavorful and can be cooked in so many different ways. In fact, most sauces, seasonings, and flavorings used for meat products are made from plants. An elite way to enjoy vegetables is by stuffing them. There are dozens of vegetables that you should be stuffing, and when it comes to the fillings, the options are endless.

Your vegetarian friends will tell you that vegetable recipes can end up looking like side dishes if not done right. But, there's no doubt that a vegetable, stuffed to the brim, is the centerpiece of your plate. The best vegetables for stuffing are those that have a natural hollow space in them or can easily be shaped to fill with goodies like bread, cheeses, nuts, grains, and other veggies. You can even stuff vegetables with meats to create a vegetable-centric dish that your meat-eating friends will love.

Acorn squash

Stuffed acorn squash is a Thanksgiving classic. It's like the gourd was shaped to be stuffed once it's cut in half and the seeds are scooped out. What's left is a sweet, starchy bowl with an edible skin and a hollow center. Acorn squash tastes similar to sweet potato, but once cooked is slightly firmer, has lighter yellow flesh, and a nuttier flavor. Before you buy acorn squash, consider the size. Larger squash tends to be less sweet, less flavorful and can be drier and stringier. Select a squash under three pounds that is firm to the touch.

Start by slicing your squash in half, top to base, and scooping out the seeds and pulp. Rub the squash down with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and place it cut-side down on a parchment paper-lined pan. Roast at 400 Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes. Then flip, stuff, and bake again until the stuffing is thoroughly cooked.

For a classic, fall-time stuffed acorn squash, consider using wild rice, craisins, bread crumbs, celery, herbs, and spices. In fact, if you have a classic turkey stuffing like sage and sausage, or apple pecan, that will do just fine as well.


Although it's possible you've enjoyed zucchini sliced into cross sections, and cut into long spears for most of your life, zucchini boats are much more fun to eat. Zucchini is soft and moist but holds its form enough to create a fantastic vehicle for stuffing. Both the green and yellow varieties will do, but it's important to choose one that is fairly long and tube-shaped. And while it's quite impressive to grow a 5-pound zucchini, they lose most of their flavor when they get excessively large. The tiny ones are hard to stuff, so you guessed it, the best zucchini size for stuffed boats is medium. Zucchini are mild in flavor and slightly sweet, so they pair well with almost any stuffing ingredients.

To stuff a zucchini, slice it lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, creating a boat. Stuff the raw zucchini halves with your filling before baking. Consider making Mexican-style taco boats, stuffed with beans, chili, or walnuts roasted with taco seasoning, doused in enchilada sauce, and topped with sharp cheddar cheese. There is no need to pre-bake the zucchini because it cooks fairly quickly. Roast at 400 Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes or so. Then, top with your favorite taco toppings like sour cream, sliced black olives, green onions, cilantro, pico de gallo, and avocado.


Peppers are so easy to stuff, because they are naturally hollow, universally loved, and come in many varieties that vary in flavor. Red peppers are ultra-sweet when roasted, while green peppers are grassy and milder. Orange and yellow are somewhere in between, as different-colored peppers indicate the stage at which they were harvested, starting green and eventually turning red.

When it comes to stuffing your pepper, there are a few ways you can slice it. Peppers can be cut in half, stem to base, with the stem and seeds removed to be stuffed like boats. Alternatively, and perhaps a more popular approach, remove the stem of the pepper by cutting delicately around it with a sharp knife and then reach in to remove any excess seeds. Cut the fibrous white portion with attached seeds off of the stem, leaving a clean cap. Stuff your pepper through the hole in the top to the brim, and if you'd like, place the stemmed top back on the pepper before baking.

Typically, it's a good idea to steam your peppers before stuffing and baking them. You can do this on the stovetop, in the oven, or even in the microwave. This helps to soften them, especially if you only plan on heating up the stuffing instead of fully cooking it. When it comes to cooking the filling for vegetarian stuffed peppers, you can even cook the filling separately and stuff it into cooked peppers before serving.


Eggplants are one of those vegetables that people either love or hate. Conveniently, they are a perfect size for stuffing and are mild enough in flavor to highlight any ingredient being added. Eggplant can be roasted whole in the oven and then split open for stuffing. Simply pierce the skin in several places with a fork, and roast at 425 Fahrenheit for about 50 minutes. The eggplant will collapse slightly and can be opened with two forks, or cut with a knife to create a boat-like space.

Consider stuffing your whole roasted eggplant with chewy and sturdier ingredients, to contrast with the soft casing. Choose a theme. Eggplants are extremely versatile and can accompany both Asian and Mediterranean cuisine beautifully. Try making an eggplant parmesan-themed dish by using mozzarella and parmesan cheese, along with bread crumbs and marinara sauce. Be sure to throw it all back into the oven so the cheese becomes brown and bubbly. Alternatively, make a Mediterranean-baked stuffed eggplant and add roasted chickpeas, tahini, or falafel along with tabouli. Use Japanese eggplants and stuff them with roasted tofu, grilled onions, and garlic ginger soy sauce, topped with panko breadcrumbs.

Zucchini blossoms

If you've ever grown your own zucchini, then you know that they produce beautiful, large flowers. The female squash blossoms turn into zucchini, while the male flowers are just there for fertilization. Don't let those male blossoms go to waste! They can be eaten raw in salads or used as a garnish, or, you guessed it, stuffed and cooked.

Often, you can find stuffed squash blossoms at restaurants, stuffed with soft cheeses, and lightly batter fried. If you don't have a deep frier at home or avoid fried foods, don't fear. Squash blossoms are incredibly delicious when stuffed and baked. Classically, goat cheese is used in conjunction with the yellow-orange blossoms, but other soft, mild cheeses like ricotta, cream cheese, and mozzarella can be used as well. Be sure to mix in fresh herbs to your cheese, or choose to drizzle your creation with a little honey or lemon juice.


Although artichokes may not come to mind when you consider vegetables to stuff because of their spiny exterior, their hearts are quite capable of holding ingredients in place. In fact, if you opt to buy whole artichokes instead of artichoke hearts, you can enjoy the journey to the middle with a little lemon butter after steaming. If you've never cooked them on your own before, you'll want to brush up on the tips you need when cooking artichokes.

Once you have a prepped and steamed heart, it's time to choose your ingredients. Artichokes have a mild earthy, nutty flavor, and a buttery and soft texture. Choose ingredients that will make a statement but won't overpower the subtleties of the heart. Keep it simple and use cream cheese or goat cheese, lemon, bread crumbs, and garlic. Bake the stuffed vegetable just enough to warm the fillings and brown the bread crumbs, and top with more fresh lemon, and cracked black pepper.


Technically, avocados are a fruit, but most of us enjoy them in a vegetable-like savory context so we couldn't miss out on this one in our lineup just because of a technicality. Once the avocado is cut in half and the pit is removed, there is a perfect little pocket left, ready for stuffing. Avocados can be stuffed and enjoyed raw, or baked right in the skin. Just be sure you're choosing a ripe avocado to work with.

A classic avocado stuffing can be made with chickpea salad, tuna salad, or hummus. It can be added with an ice cream scoop to make a nicely shaped pile of the good stuff that nestles right into the halved avocado. Enjoy these stuffed, half-avocados with your salads, or as a side dish. For a breakfast dish, crack an egg into the little crater and season, or top it with cheese or bacon bits. Bake in the oven until the egg is soft, and the avocado is warm.

Delicata squash

Delicata squash is one of the sweetest squashes out there. It's also quite beautiful, inside and out. It can be recognized by its smaller size, yellow and green striped exterior, and bright yellow-orange interior. It's quite soft and creamy once cooked and has a nutty sweet flavor. You should start cooking with more delicata squash, not only because of its exceptional flavor but also because compared to its cousins, it's a breeze to work with. Typically, delicata squash is served roasted in little "U" shapes, from being sliced in half the long way and then cut into cross sections. We think, however, this is a missed opportunity to not stuff the squash to the brim with filling.

Slice your delicata squash length-wise, and scoop out the seeds with a knife. Pre-roast the squash and then stuff it with just about any savory or sweet fillings you can dream of. Consider using roasted pine nuts, wild rice, sliced olives, spinach, and feta cheese. For a sweeter version, choose pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon, chopped dates, salt, and coconut oil or butter.


Although tomatoes are notoriously soft, they actually make an incredible casing for stuffing. In fact, many cultures stuff tomatoes and serve them as popular dishes. Vietnamese stuffed tomatoes are often pork or tofu-heavy and a little spicy, while Italian stuffed tomatoes contain cheese, herbs, and bread crumbs. The finished product is quite beautiful, and they are fun, juicy, and flavorful to enjoy.

When it comes to the best type of tomatoes to use for stuffed tomatoes, consider the beefsteak variety. In fact, the bigger the better. Simply cut off the top around the stem, and use a spoon or grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds. If your tomato is rather tough and durable, you can even squeeze the seeds out. Then stuff it to your liking, and toss them in the oven. Consider using cheese and bread to help hold everything together, as tomatoes are typically soft in structure. Top with fresh herbs, spices, sauces, and any other ingredient that fits your theme. Don't forget to drizzle a little olive oil over your stuffed tomatoes before roasting them.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are arguably one of the best vegetables in the garden to stuff. They are soft, sweet, starchy, good for you, and pair well with both savory and sweet fillings. A lot of times we roast them, but you should consider steaming your sweet potatoes because it gives them an incredibly soft, fluffy, and moist texture. The skins break down more than with baked sweet potatoes and are easier to cut and chew.

If you're a fan of savory dishes, then stuff your sweet potatoes with chili and cheese and top with sour cream and green onion. For a meat-free version, use vegan chili, or crumbled, taco-seasoned tofu or lentils. You can also keep things simple and add sautéed red pepper and onion, along with an egg. Throw it in the oven until the whites are cooked and the yolk is to your liking. Top with avocado for a healthy, satisfying breakfast.

For those who have a major sweet tooth, add more flavor to sweet potatoes by stuffing them with marshmallows, cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar. For a vegetarian version, instead of marshmallows use cream cheese. If you can get your hands on the real stuff, drizzle your creation with maple syrup, and enjoy.

Mushroom caps

When we think of the classic stuffed vegetable, mushrooms come to mind, both the large caps, as well as baby Bellas. Mushrooms have that ultimate meaty umami flavor that's so desirable in a main dish, and they have a natural shape for stuffing. Keep things simple by grilling your portobello mushroom caps, gill side up with brie and breadcrumbs.

For a Mediterranean flair, try simple stuffed mushrooms with garlic, artichoke, lemon, spices, and parmesan cheese. For all of those vegans out there, don't worry, there are plenty of dairy-free options as well. For instance, try a stuffed portobello mushroom recipe loaded with cannellini beans, shallots, sundried tomatoes, parsley, and spinach.

For a quick and easy appetizer, try spooning pesto into baby Bellas before baking them. This finger food is packed with garlicky lemon flavor, and if you use pre-made sauce it can take just minutes to prepare. Mini baby Bella pizzas are another easy option. Stuff your Bellas with marinara, mozzarella cheese, oregano, and basil before baking them until the cheese bubbles brown.


People have been enjoying stuffed jalapeños forever, although typically as an appetizer on game night, or at a sports bar. That doesn't mean you can't make mouth-watering, high-class stuffed jalapeños at home. These peppers taste similar to green bell peppers but have a subtle spicy kick to them. Be sure to check that your jalapeño pepper has not gone bad by giving it a whiff. If it has a musty scent, then it's too late, as the peppers should be rather fresh and scentless in their prime. Simply cut off the tops, and get stuffing before roasting or battering to deep fry.

Stay classic and make jalapeño poppers stuffed with cream cheese and jack cheddar. Simply broil your jalapeño poppers in the oven to avoid the deep fryer. If that's not your thing, there are plenty of variations to choose from, and you can get those little poppers almost anywhere. Stray from the pack and try a punchy breakfast recipe by stuffing your poppers with cheesy scrambled eggs and wrapping them in bacon. Better yet, try loading them up with cashew cream and adding caramelized onions or bacon jam.

Spaghetti squash

Gluten-free folks discovered the wonders of spaghetti squash a long time ago. Who knew there was a sweet, stringy vegetable that when baked right could be eaten by twirling a fork like spaghetti? And even better, it tastes incredible with just about any classic pasta sauce, or even just a sprinkling of salt and pepper along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

While it may seem intimidating to cook, spaghetti squash can actually be microwaved fairly simply. Be sure to make a few deep piercings in the skin with a knife to prevent explosions. A small to medium squash will be pretty well cooked after eight to 10 minutes in the microwave. Even if it's not fully cooked, it will be a heck of a lot easier to cut open, just be careful of the steam.

If you want to lean into its pasta-like capabilities, try making spaghetti squash lasagna boats. Stuff the squash with onion, garlic, Italian sausage, marinara, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Bake them until the cheese bubbles, and enjoy.

Baked potatoes

Folks have been stuffing baked potatoes for years, but it never hurts to revisit a classic. As we know, baked potatoes are elite and make an incredible base for a plethora of seasonings and fillings. While your typical baked potatoes might be loaded with broccoli, bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions, we believe that there is potential for so much more.

For instance, try stuffing those baked spuds with ground lamb, peas, and corn, and top them with a layer of cheese for mini shepherd's pies. If that doesn't tickle your fancy and you're a French onion soup fan, try caramelized onions and mushrooms topped with thyme and brie. Or, go for the spinach-dip version and stuff your potato with cream cheese and minced cooked spinach. In fact, when it comes to the trusty old potato, there's really no savory food that could steer you wrong. Just be sure to get that crispy exterior and fluffy interior during the baking process by following the tips you need for delicious baked potatoes.

Butternut squash

If you've been avoiding buying a butternut squash your whole life because it seems intimidating to cut and cook, you're not alone. Luckily, most stores carry a pre-cut version because of just that, but if you're planning on stuffing it then you have to roll up your sleeves and start with a whole gourd. Choose a small one, as they tend to be much sweeter and have a more pleasing texture. Microwave it for a few minutes to soften it, then let it sit before cutting it stem to base. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, and oil and roast it at 400 Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, or until the thickest part is soft.

Once your squash is good and cooked, fill it with the stuffing of your choice and enjoy. Consider using wild rice, sausage, almond slivers, and craisins in your stuffing. Dress with a vinaigrette before serving, and sprinkle with goat cheese if you wish.