by Olena

Zucchini Boats

by Olena

4.8 from 5 reviews

Zucchini Boats stuffed with scrumptious meat filling, topped with cheese, then baked until zucchini is tender and cheese is golden and bubbly.

This is my new go-to low carb dinner. Obsessed!

Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchini boats have been on my To-Do list for years and they didn’t disappoint.

As soon as my family left on a boys’ trip, I set to test out stuffed zucchini boats because I suspected I would love to have them all to myself. And sure thing, that’s how it went. 🙂

This is super easy, fun to cook and flavorful dinner. You can make boats as healthy or not depending on a type of meat and amount of cheese you use.

While zucchini boats do not freeze well, they are quick to make and leftovers last for up to 3 days. You can even eat them cold.

Zucchini Boats with melted cheese and basil on top

How to Make Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  • Prep: Cut zucchini in halves and scoop out seeds to make a cavity with a tablespoon. For larger zucchini, I like to use a no-trigger ice cream scoop. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, pour water or broth into large baking dish and arrange zucchini halves in a single layer. hollowed out zucchini halves
  • Filling: Saute veggies with spices first. Then add ground meat and cook until small pieces. Then season with wine, half tomato sauce and cook down a bit. filling for Zucchini Boats in a skillet on the stove
  • Stuff: Divide filling between 6 boats, top with tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese – all evenly. Zucchini Boats stuffed and sprinkled with cheese
  • Bake: Bake uncovered on the bottom rack for about 25 minutes for soft yet with firmness zucchini. For very soft shells, bake for 35 minutes but add cheese halfway through baking time to prevent it from drying out. Zucchini Boats baked in white dish

Full recipe card is below.

Tips and Variations

  • Garden zucchini: If you have large footlong garden zucchini, cut them in half to make shorter or bake longer. Squash will work just as well.
  • When baking longer: Make sure to add cheese halfway through baking time so it doesn’t dry out.
  • Veggies: If you don’t have celery, skip it or add chopped bell pepper or mushrooms.
  • Seasonings: Use any combination of Italian flavor dried herbs you have on hand. Even a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon, will make filling “cozy”. I always do that with a meat sauce.
  • Wine and broth: Wine added a lot of flavor to the filling. You can use broth or simply skip.
  • Ground meat and cheese: I used ground turkey for more lean filling. You can use beef (drain fat after cooking), chicken or even Italian sausage. I prefer Mozzarella cheese in this recipe, however cheddar, havarti, provolone or even half amount of Parmesan will work just as well.

Zucchini Boats served with jambalaya on white plate

Serving and Storing

  • Serving: On its own, zucchini boats make easy and delicious low carb dinner. For more hungry family members, serve over some spaghetti or pictured Instant Pot jambalaya.
  • Storing: First of all, zucchini boats do not freeze well and I don’t recommend to make them ahead because meat isn’t fully cooked. Refrigerate leftovers tightly covered or in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Zucchini boats taste great hot or warm. If it is a hot summer day, they taste amazing cold. To reheat, add boats to a baking dish with a splash of water, cover and place in preheated 350 degrees F oven for about 15 minutes. This way they warm through and do not dry out.

More Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini Boats recipe in baking dish garnished with basil and pepper


Zucchini Boats

zucchini boats

4.8 from 5 reviews

Zucchini Boats stuffed with scrumptious meat filling, topped with cheese, then baked until zucchini is tender and cheese is golden and bubbly.

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Ukrainian


  • 3 lbs or 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1/2 tsp basil, dried
  • 1/4 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup red or white wine
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup broth or water
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Basil or parsley, for garnish


  1. Prep zucchini by slicing in half and scooping out the seeds and core in the middle with a tablespoon or ice cream/cookie scoop. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, add 1/4 cup broth or water to 9 x 13 baking dish and lay zucchini in it. Set aside.
  3. Preheat large skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion, celery and garlic, saute for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Then add dried oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper and saute for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add ground turkey and cook for 7 minutes, constantly stirring and breaking into small pieces.
  6. Add wine and half can of tomato sauce. Stir, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Turn off heat.
  7. Divide meat mixture between zucchini boats evenly, spoon remaining tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes uncovered.
  9. Remove from the oven, garnish with basil or parsley and serve hot, warm or cold. So good either way!

Store: Refrigerate leftovers covered tightly for up to 3 days. I do not recommend to freeze boats before or after cooking. Zucchini doesn’t freeze well due to its high water content.


  • You can use ground chicken or ground beef (I recommend to drain it).
  • Instead of wine, use more broth or skip.
  • Instead of celery, you can use bell pepper or skip.
  • Dried herbs can be any of Italian flavor, even Italian seasoning.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

12 comments on “Zucchini Boats

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  1. Hi there! I enjoyed this recipe! I swapped out fresh spices for the dried and used leftover marinara sauce. Turned out well. I think I’ll add a little hot Italian sausage next time.

  2. We loved these. My hubby is Italian and he was so happy to have these. I did use spaghetti sauce as a substitute because that’s what I had. Our temperature was 113 today so cooked these on our Traeger grill, and 25 minutes was great. We will definitely have these again.

  3. We love zucchini boats. Tried your recipe and it’s delicious. I usually add some herbed bread crumbs to the cheese topping and a larger variety of veggies (whatever is left over in fridge).

    1. Yum! I had my fave zucchini boat recipe that I have used for years – but I am changing to yours. Delicious! Thank you! NOTE: Plant the seeds which may not produce but can make beautiful green vines.

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