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

4.98 from 171 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. Im making this as we speak. I cooked the seasoned zuchinni boat first. Added red bell pappers and extra garlic, along with the onions and green chiles and italian spices, threw in some green onions. Going to cover with cheese and bacon ( to make sure hubby eats it) and bake it

  2. What do you do with the stuff you scooped out? I used a blender to finely chop it and added it back to the filling.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight with Hamburger, EXTREMELY DELICIOUS!!! now I know what I will be eating during our summer harvest. Just amazing! Thank you for sharing.

  4. 5 stars
    I made it with a mixture of ground bee and ground sweet Italian sausage. Added some diced tomatoes and minced garlic. topped with Mrs. Dash and Mozzarella cheese. Wonderful.

    1. 5 stars
      I love ground BEE. 😉 but I did try your other suggestions. Wonderful with the extra garlic and seasoning.

  5. 5 stars
    Awesome! I have made this several times. usually ground sausage and mushrooms. Thanks for the recipe. when are u getting a Food Network show?

  6. 5 stars
    A couple of my zucchini got away from me and ended up being 12” in length! Obviously the baking time was longer but the results were wonderful. Added the cheese halfway through the baking time for the same reason. I’ve made several variations, all Delicious. I used Mrs Dash Taco seasoning (salt free) and sliced black olives for the “ south of the border” version.

  7. 5 stars
    We loved this recipe. It is that time of year that we have loads of summer squash and zucchini from the garden. We made with both, and couldn’t decide which we like better. I doubled the meat/sauce recipe and froze for next week. I also added some seasoned mushroom powder to the sauce for a bit more umami. We also made 2 separate pans one with mozzarella and one with gruyere cheese, I think I liked the gruyere better but both were delish. We will be making a lot of these this summer and trying different flavors.

        1. I definitely used the flesh of the zucchini. I would never waste that much vegetable. And the seeds are so small they are totally mixed in and unidentifiable. Yummy recipe. I also added 1 egg and some Italian bread crumbs to hold the mixture together.

  8. 5 stars
    The nice thing about this recipe is that it can be modified for a variety of different pallets. It can be Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, etc. The simplicity of it allows for experimentation and it turns out perfectly every time. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    I only had one sorry looking zucchini left in the fridge so I downsized the ingredients and it tasted great. I also had some leftover veggies from Swiss steak so I added that to the boats. It was delicious. Thank you for this recipe.