Stuffed Zucchini Boats are filled with seasoned ground sausage and topped with mozzarella cheese then baked until tender and the cheese is melted. A delicious and healthy low-carb dinner the whole family will love!
Stuffed Zucchini Boats
I’ve been stuffing zucchini for a long time. They’re an easy-to-make and surprisingly filling dinner option for anyone looking to eat fewer processed carbohydrates.
There are countless ways to customize zucchini boats, but this recipe is my family’s favorite. Made with ground pork, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, marinara sauce, capers, and cheese, the most important thing to remember when making stuffed zucchini boats is to pile your zucchini high and use all the stuffing! But that’s pretty easy to do though, right?
Zucchini boats are delicious leftover and are great for meal prepping. I highly recommend doubling the recipe so you may enjoy them all week long.
How to Make Zucchini Boats
- Preheat your oven and prepare your baking dish: We’re baking this recipe in a 400-degree f oven.
- Prepare the zucchini: Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then hollow out the centers with a small spoon. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Par-bake the zucchini: Bake the zucchini for approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Cook the sausage mixture: Cook the onion and sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the sausage into small pieces as it cooks. Season with Italian seasoning, dried basil, salt, and black pepper, and stir in the capers and marinara sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese.
- Stuff the zucchini: Divide the sausage mixture among the par-baked zucchini boats and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake: Bake until the zucchini is tender – about 15 minutes.
Zucchini Boats Recipe Tips
- This recipe is delicious with ground pork, ground Italian sausage (mild or hot), ground turkey or ground turkey sausage, ground beef, or ground chicken.
- Season accordingly. In other words, ground Italian sausage will come pre-seasoned whereas ground chicken or ground beef is not. Zucchini boats made with ground Italian sausage will require less salt compared to other ground meat.
- Remember to bake the zucchini boats first, without any stuffing. This allows the zucchini to get a head start cooking before the meat is added.
- Test for doneness by piercing through the thickest part of the zucchini with a fork. It should be tender.
- Sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs before adding the mozzarella cheese for a crispy, crunchy topping.
What to Serve with Zucchini Boats
I like to serve zucchini boats with a simple side salad or buttery garlic bread. In the summertime, I’ll usually just serve it with a huge fruit salad – my family’s favorite.
Have you tried making Stuffed Zucchini Boats?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 tablespoon olive oil - divided
- 1 medium onion - diced
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 pound ground pork - see notes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons capers
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup marinara sauce - or tomato sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- red pepper flakes - optional
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a large 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Prepare the zucchini: Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the fleshy seed-filled center from each zucchini half. Leave about 1/4-inch on all sides.
- Drizzle the zucchini boats with approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil and transfer to the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
- As the zucchini bakes heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
- Add the ground sausage, breaking it apart into smaller pieces as it cooks. When the sausage is nearly cooked, season it with Italian seasoning, dried basil, salt, and black pepper. Add the capers and marinara sauce. Mix well to combine and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring as needed.
- Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Divide the prepared sausage mixture among the zucchini boats and top each zucchini boat with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in the oven until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted – about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired.
- Ground sausage (mild or hot), ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken may also be used.
- Storage: Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. I do not recommend freezing zucchini boats.
- Reheating: Reheat in the microwave or in an oven preheated to 400°F until heated through.
- As written, this recipe is gluten-free.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)