Enjoy your fresh summer zucchini by making stuffed zucchini boats. Cheesy, flavorful, and delicious, they are a healthy and low carb dinner idea!
What are stuffed zucchini boats?
Stuffed zucchini boats are a delicious cheesy meal that gets this name because the stuffed zucchini resembles boats.
To make this dish, zucchini is sliced lengthwise, which makes it resemble a narrow boat; the pulp is removed and filled with turkey, chopped zucchini, and other ingredients. It’s then baked and served as lunch, dinner, or appetizer.
Why you’ll love this zucchini boats recipe
- Healthy. Packed with fiber, lean protein, and plenty of vitamins, this makes a well-balanced dinner.
- Easy to make. Prepare the filling, add it to the zucchini boats, and bake is all you have to do to make this delicious meal.
- Low in carbs. Zucchini are naturally low in carbs and filling too, so even those on any sort of diet can enjoy this dish.
- Easy to customize. Fill it with your favorite sauces, protein, veggies, and cheeses!
The recipe for stuffed zucchini boats is simple; here is everything you need to make them:
- Zucchini. Choose ones that are on the larger side so they can easily be scooped out and filled.
- Ground turkey. Either lean or standard ground turkey work. Avoid using extra lean meat as it is prone to drying out.
- Olive oil.
- Garlic and onion. Enhances flavor.
- Marinara sauce. Use your favorite jarred sauce or try something homemade, like pomodoro or sugo.
- Italian seasonings.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Cheese. I like using a Mexican cheese blend (a mix of cheddar and Colby jack) but any works.
- Cilantro or parsley. To serve.
How to make zucchini boats?
With just a few minutes prep time and a simple 5 step-process, this zucchini boats recipe is quick and easy and requires very little hands on time!
Ready to whip some up?
Step 1- Prep the oven
Start by preheating the oven to 180C/350F. Take a baking dish, line it with parchment paper, and spray some cooking spray on top.
Step 2- Scoop the zucchini
Next, Cut the zucchini from the middle lengthwise, and scoop out the zucchini pulp. Chop the pulp and set it aside (we will use it later for the filling!).
Step 3- Cook the filling
Now, take a non-stick pan, add some oil to it, and place it over medium heat. Once the oil becomes hot, add the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant.
Then, add the ground turkey and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add marinara sauce, Italian seasonings, and the scooped-out zucchini, and allow everything to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Step 4- stuff the zucchini boats
Now, evenly distribute the filling amongst the scooped out zucchini, before sprinkling cheese over the top.
Step 5- Bake!
Finally, Bake them for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese melts or gets a slightly golden texture. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
What to served with stuffed zucchini
Tips to make the best recipe
- Avoid removing all the pulp from the zucchini, so there will be some stability and structure to hold the filling.
- If you’d like a softer zucchini boat, you can par-bake them for 10 minutes before adding the filling.
- For easy scooping of the zucchini, I like to use a melon scoop or a small spoon. Larger spoons or knives are prone to cutting through the zucchini skin, which will make them difficult to fill.
Dietary swaps and substitutions
There are many delicious flavor variations of zucchini boats that you can enjoy; here are a few:
- Make them vegetarian. Omit the ground turkey and replace it with chickpeas, navy beans, or lentils.
- Use other kinds of meat. Ground chicken, ground beef, and even Italian sausage are all fantastic options to use instead of turkey.
- Add spices. This version is Italian inspired but you can give it another spin by using taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning, or even an Asian spin (like frying the mix in soy sauce and sesame oil!).
- Change up the vegetables. Add some sliced bell peppers, mushrooms, or even finely chopped spinach to it.
- Change up the cheese. Parmesan, mozzarella cheese, and harvarti are all fantastic options.
Wondering what is the best way to store leftover zucchini? Here are best practices for stuffed zucchini storage:
- To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.
- To freeze: You can freeze zucchini boats, but they will become mushy when thawed if not frozen properly. To avoid making them soft, put the cooked zucchini boats in freezer-safe airtight containers and then keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Melon baller. To easily scoop out the zucchini.
- Baking dish. I like to use a larger than expected dish for all sides of the zucchini to cook evenly.
- Non stick skillet. To make the filling!
More stuffed recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
Zucchini skin contains many essential nutrients, so you can eat it.
Per zucchini boat, there are just 3 grams of carbs, making it a fantastic keto dinner idea.
While possible, re-freezing often isn’t recommended because the texture will not remain the same.
Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Slice the zucchinis in half and scoop out the innards of the zucchini, chop it finely, and set that aside.
- Heat oil in a non-stick pan and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for a further minute. Add the ground turkey and cook for 4-5 minutes, until no longer pink. Add the marinara sauce and Italian seasonings, along with the remaining chopped zucchini. Simmer everything for 8-10 minutes.
- Distribute the filling mixture amongst the zucchini boats. Sprinkle generously with the cheese blend and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and lightly golden brown.
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