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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 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.