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. You could make the filling a day or two in advance but I wouldn’t recommend stuffing the zucchinis until right before cooking as the zucchini may release liquid as it sits in the fridge and water everything down.

  1. 5 stars
    When my boyfriend found out stuffed zucchini was for dinner he turned his nose up. He tried it and devoured it, this is definitely a keeper recipe.

      1. 5 stars
        You could also use a can of Manwich and top with cheddar/jack as kind of an american version if you didn’t always want to make it Italian style. I have done that a couple times and it’s delish!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was so good! My husband and two girls who are definitely meat eaters, gave this meal two thumbs up! They even asked for seconds! Happy Mom!

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this for my husband, mother-in-law and myself. I did alter the recipe a little. I don’t like chicken sausage so I used shredded rotisserie chicken breast in some and Ground beef in others, also I added sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms to the meets. My husband and I have trouble with dairy products so I used mozzarella goat cheese instead. We all loved it, thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    Loved the recipe. Made exactly according to the recipe, but made ahead. Did not cook for two days. The zucchini had a chance to release the water which enabled the zucchini to cook tender in the oven. Will definitely make this again!

  5. My zucchinis are very very large. Should I maybe put them in the oven for a little bit before I fill them since they may take longer to cook than needed?

  6. Once we scooped out the insides of the zucchini, aren’t they added back into the filling , Cooked with the meat perhaps

    1. It never tells you when to add that scooped out zuchinni back in, but then it says to spoon the meat and veggie mixture back into the shells. I figured this was an error, so I cooked the insides for a few minutes in some oil, then added all the other meat and sauce etc back in until it was boiling before spooning into the shells.

  7. 5 stars
    I’m making this tonight with some large homegrown zucchini from our garden. I’m doing the Mexican version with ground turkey, taco seasoning (my own version), onion, garlic, black beans and mexicorn. About to go in the oven with some cheddar on top. Can’t wait to try this!!

  8. 5 stars
    My son loves this recipe! I didn’t have Italian sausage, just cooked up some breakfast sausage and added a little more Italian seasoning! Great recipe. Used this also as a base for making stuffed green peppers except with zucchini . Thanks!

  9. 5 stars
    Tasted great! I used large squash, and for the the filling I used vegetarian sausage crumbles in place of real sausage. It was perfect!

  10. 5 stars
    I made the Mexican Zucchini Boats tonight for dinner. Amazing! So delicious! Definitely a keeper recipe for all those zucchini (yellow and green) grown in our garden. For the Mexican version, I followed directions using elk burger which is a lean meat, black beans, cumin, corn, green chilies, spaghetti sauce, etc and garnished with sharp cheddar and cilantro. YUM! Oh, I loved the dollop of plain Greek Yogurt.