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This Italian Zucchini Stew is loaded with fresh garden-grown zucchini, tomatoes, ground beef, potatoes and green bell pepper. Don’t forget the Parmesan cheese on top!

Italian Zucchini Stew

All of the credit for today’s wonderful Italian Zucchini Stew recipe needs to go to Marguerite DiMino Buonopane, the author of one of our all-time favorite cookbooks called, “The North End Italian Cookbook.” It’s there that we found this easy and delicious ground beef and vegetable stew recipe.

That cookbook – now in its sixth edition – captures the true essence of Boston’s Italian North End neighborhood with so many great, authentically-delicious Italian family recipes. It is often one of the first cookbooks we reach for any time we are looking for a new recipe to try.


Italian Zucchini Stew

In the case of today’s Italian Zucchini Stew, we were simply looking to make a recipe where we could use up some of our garden zucchini – which are growing like crazy this summer!

We hadn’t set out planning to share this recipe here on A Family Feast – thinking it was too similar to the Zucchini Tomato Italian Sausage Soup we shared a few weeks ago. But this Italian Zucchini Stew has a completely different flavor profile – and it was so good, we had to share!

Italian Zucchini Stew

How do you make Italian Zucchini Stew?

In this simple stew, bite-sized pieces of zucchini are cooked together with diced tomatoes, ground beef, slices of potato, and diced green bell pepper plus seasonings.  Most of the prep is chopping the vegetables – then it all cooks up quickly in a big pot. Once cooked through, stir in grated Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Italian Zucchini Stew

Serve this Italian Zucchini Stew with crusty bread on the side and even more grated Parmesan cheese on top! This soup recipe makes enough to feed a crowd, and any leftovers can be heated up the next day for lunch.

You may enjoy these other summer soup recipes:

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Italian Zucchini Stew

Italian Zucchini Stew

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: Italian


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pound ground beef 15% fat (85/15)

1 cup onion diced

1 ½ tablespoons garlic minced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 small green bell pepper diced, about one cup

2 stalks celery minced fine, about one cup

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds zucchini cut into bite sized pieces, see tip in notes below

1 pound potatoes such as all purpose or new red, see tip in notes below

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

1 ½ cups water

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup Parmesan grated plus more for serving

Additional salt and pepper to taste


In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add the ground beef, onion, garlic, pepper flakes, green pepper, celery, salt and pepper and sauté until meat has browned and the vegetables almost tender.

Add zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes and water. Bring to a gentle bubble, cover and reduce heat to low to medium low and cook for ten minutes.

Remove cover and add in tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes or just until the zucchini is cooked. Do not overcook the zucchini.

Remove from heat and add the cup of Parmesan and taste for additional salt and pepper.

Serve with additional Parmesan and crusty bread.


Cut zucchini lengthwise in half then each half in half lengthwise again to get four long quarters. Then slice the opposite way into bite sized pieces.

Peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. If they are small, cut into thin slices. If they are large, cut the half in half again and then into thin slices. You want the potatoes to be thin so they take a similar time to cook as the bigger zucchini pieces.

Keywords: zucchini, Italian, stew



Italian Zucchini Stew

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  • Jane Harris wrote:

    Very good I loved all the vegetables and Parmesan cheese. I would just add a bit more spice for my taste and a bit of oregano

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jane!

  • Chris wrote:

    Yummy..made this but used gnocchi rather than potatoes and lots of basil, oregano, and garlic very good and great use for my garden zuchinni that is growing like crazy. I’m hoping a pot of it might freeze well.

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you enjoyed the stew Chris!

  • Claire Earls wrote:

    I tasted this before adding the Parmesan and it was delicious. It tasted totally different after adding the cup of Parmesan. It overpowered the dish . Very disappointed.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Claire – sorry you were disappointed. I’m not sure if you used a jarred Parmesan cheese product or an aged Parmesan? (Ideally you’d want to use a quality aged cheese.)

  • Laura wrote:

    How do you think this would freeze?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Laura – I’m guessing that the zucchini will get a little mushy after freezing and thawing, but if you plan to freeze a batch, you could try under cooking the zucchini a bit. That *might* help minimize the mushy texture. Let us know how it works out!

  • Lyndaroux wrote:

    I loved this recipe, however, it needs some Italian blend herbs to give it that authentic Italian flavor. I love hearty stews and this one is almost as good as my Nonnas.

    • Martha wrote:

      Great suggestion Lynda! Thank you!

  • Judy wrote:

    I did not like the flavor of this recipe at all. Because you start with cooking the Hamburg and vegetables together , the grease from the meat doesn’t get drained. To me that grease taste was over powering in this recipe and completely ruined this dish. I will not be making this one again.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Judy – we’re sorry you were disappointed.

  • Tabz wrote:

    Found it a bit bland………try adding some beef bouillon……………makes it a lot tastier

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Tabz!

  • Rebecca S wrote:

    Hi! Do you drain the fat after browning the beef or leave it in? Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Rebecca – It’s really your choice. The recipe calls for 85/15 which is somewhat lower in fat than 80/20 or 75/25 so we left it in (great flavor) but you can drain it if you prefer.

  • Pansy wrote:

    Awesome tasty food I Love this

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks again Pansy!

  • Linda R wrote:

    Hi Martha,
    This sounds so good and I needed another recipe for zucchini. We love soup, stews and chili, something comforting about one bowl meals. I have read several articles about The North End Italian Cookbook, now I have to purchase it.
    I have a Parmesan rind in the freezer to toss in stew.
    As always, thanks for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      It’s a great cookbook Linda – nothing overly fancy, just classic, authentic Italian recipes. We hope you enjoy the book (and the stew too!) Thanks for writing to us today! Martha

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