These stuffed zucchini boats are filled with a hearty sausage mixture, then topped with plenty of cheese and baked to perfection. An easy low carb meal option that the whole family will enjoy!

There are so many different ways to eat zucchini, I often serve side dishes such as parmesan zucchini and zucchini gratin. But my favorite way to make zucchini is to stuff it and serve it as a main course.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe | Baked Zucchini | Low Carb Zucchini #dinner #lowcarb #keto #zucchini #sausage #dinneratthezoo Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe | Baked Zucchini | Low Carb Zucchini #dinner #lowcarb #keto #zucchini #sausage #dinneratthezoo

A plate of stuffed zucchini boats filled with a savory meat sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese.

Stuffed zucchini boats is a classic dish that never goes out of style. It’s an especially good choice during the summer when everyone’s gardens are overflowing with squash. What I love about this dish is that it’s easy to customize the flavors to your liking and is naturally low in carbs!

How do you make stuffed zucchini boats?

This recipe starts with zucchini, which are hollowed out, seasoned, then placed in a baking dish. A simple meat sauce is made with Italian sausage, marinara sauce, garlic and onions. The sauce gets piled into the zucchini shells, then everything is topped with cheese and baked until gooey and browned.

Hollowed out zucchini halves in a baking dish.

Tips for stuffed zucchini boats

  • You can use mild or hot Italian sausage, pork or turkey sausage, or even ground beef for this recipe.
  • Use your favorite brand of marinara sauce. I typically use Newman’s Own or Classico.
  • You can also make this recipe with yellow squash, or even hollowed out small eggplants!
  • While I typically use mozzarella cheese in this dish, other great choices would be parmesan, fontina or provolone.
  • Dried Italian seasoning can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores, or you can use my Italian seasoning recipe to make your own.

Sausage and tomato sauce in a skillet.

Can you freeze zucchini boats?

I don’t recommend freezing zucchini boats, simply because the zucchini will be quite mushy upon thawing.  That being said, you can absolutely freeze the meat filling for these boats for up to 2 months. Simply thaw the filling, spoon it into fresh zucchinis, then add cheese and bake.

Zucchini boats in a baking dish with meat sauce and shredded cheese.

Stuffed Zucchini Boat Variations

This is an Italian style stuffed zucchini, but there are so many other great ways to fill your squash!

  • Mexican: Make a filling with 1 lb ground beef, 16 ounces tomato sauce, 4 ounces diced green chiles, 3/4 cup black beans and 1/2 cup corn, then top with cheddar cheese and bake.
  • Asian: Make the filling for my chicken lettuce wraps, spoon it into the zucchini, then bake.
  • Vegetarian: Make a filling with sauteed onion, 2 cups cooked grains such as rice or quinoa, 1 diced red bell pepper, salt, pepper, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, and fresh herbs.

Stuffed zucchini boats filled with meat sauce and topped with melted cheese.

Is zucchini healthy?

Zucchini is packed with nutrients such as folate, Vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, Vitamin C and and Vitamin K. Zucchini is low calorie, low in carbohydrates and high in fiber. Zucchini also protects against inflammation, aids in digestion, improves thyroid function and is beneficial for your eyes.

This recipe is a great way to get some veggies into your kids. You can even assemble your zucchini boats earlier in the day, then store them covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. I make this recipe all the time and it always gets rave reviews!

More great Italian recipes

4.97 from 130 votes

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

AuthorSara Welch
A plate of stuffed zucchini boats filled with a savory meat sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese.
These stuffed zucchini boats are filled with a hearty sausage mixture, then topped with plenty of cheese and baked to perfection. An easy low carb meal option that the whole family will enjoy!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Serves 4


  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • cooking spray


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large rectangular baking with with cooking spray.
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then trim off the stem ends. Use a spoon to carefully scoop the flesh out of the zucchinis.
  • Sprinkle the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper over the zucchini shells. Arrange the zucchini in the baking dish.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 4-5 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula.
  • Add the onion and cook for an additional 4 minutes or until onion is softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Season the sausage and vegetable mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the marinara sauce into the pan and bring to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes.
  • Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the zucchini shells, then top with the shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and cheese is melted and golden brown.
  • Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.


Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 619mg | Potassium: 1249mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1065IU | Vitamin C: 47.6mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 3.5mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Those were the best zucchini boats I’ve ever made followed the recipe exactly I will definitely make them again.

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Hubby said this was a keeper! I did add the scooped out zucchini. Why waste it?! Delicious!

  3. Let me say…i love this recipe!!! I do add the scooped zucchini into the meat mixture and let it all simmer down. Fantastic recipe! Leftovers don’t last long around here 😉

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely fantastic! I’ve been in a blended family for 1.5 years now and the meal rotation has been starting to bore me. Usually I shop at normal grocery stores, but found myself at BJs and in front of a big bag of zucchini we would never eat as a side. Quick google and stumbled upon this recipe. The zucchinis came home & it was a hit. We ate it with rice and cant wait for the lunch leftovers tomorrow. Kids 9-15 loved it too!

  5. 5 stars
    Our family loved this recipe. I added a couple of Serano peppers and garlic pepper but it really would just be a matter of preference. Thank you for sharing ❗

  6. I made this using a very large zucchini! The only thing I added was mushroom since I had them available. I was able to give a quarter to my parents quarter to my brother a quarter to ourselves and a quarter to my sister it was a large zucchini! This is a quick easy dinner to make and you can use everything from the garden delicious!

  7. 5 stars
    I received a very fresh zucchini from my neighbor that is on the larger side. My husband isn’t fond of the way I usually prepare it so I thought that this would be something he would probably enjoy. I didn’t follow the recipe to a T, but I got the jist of it. I added green pepper to the onion and garlic combo and I seasoned both sides of the zucchini with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. I also added chopped Basil to the sauce and omitted the Italian seasoning since jarred sauce is loaded with it.

    Since the squash was larger I added 20 minutes to the cook time and I will check it for doneness ten minutes after the recommended time and go from there. I also put a nice layer of Parmigiano under the Mozzarella. The leftover sauce that I have is going into the freezer until I make lasagna. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    Love it! Have way too many zucchini in the garden during summer, perfect recipe. Have already used lots of different fillings (Italian, Mexican and even Indian!)

  9. You mention adding the vegetables to the sausage in the fry pan then the marinara sauce. What vegetables? What was scooped out of the zucchini?