Zucchini Boats are a delicious dinner that you will fall in love with. Full of flavor and made with a homemade sauce, this stuffed zucchini recipe can’t be beat.
With zucchini season in full swing, I wanted to make sure to give you another recipe to add to your collection. Stuffed Zucchini is a great all in one meal.
This recipe is a twist on my grandmother’s amazing Stuffed Eggplant. With a spicy sausage filling made with the zucchini itself, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese and then a homemade tomato sauce on top, the depth of flavor will leave you wanting seconds.
I made the Zucchini Boats for dinner tonight. They were WONDERFUL!! My husband couldn’t stop making yummy sounds!! This will definitely be put in the regular rotation, thanks!
How to Make Zucchini Boats
- Prepare the zucchini. Please see our notes in the section below on this.
- Make the filling. Combine sausage, half the chopped up zucchini, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, fresh parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Stuff the zucchini. Add the filling to the hollowed out zucchini. You may have left over filling. Or you may want to grab another zucchini from your garden to stuff.
- Bake the stuffed zucchini.
- Make the sauce. While the zucchini is baking, simmer crushed tomatoes and seasonings on the stove for an easy homemade sauce.
- Finish them off. Top the zucchini with sauce, cheese, and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes.
Preparing Zucchini for Stuffed Zucchini
You can see how the zucchini looks hollowed out in the picture above. I used a melon baller. If you don’t have one of those, I suggest cutting a border with a knife and then scooping out the insides with a spoon.
Once you have scooped out the zucchini, you will want to roughly chop the insides into small pieces. You will want to use only half of the zucchini you have scooped out for the filling. You could shred the remaining zucchini in a food processor and use it in Zucchini Banana Bread or Zucchini Muffins.
Using Ground Turkey or Beef
If your family doesn’t use pork, you can most definitely replace the pork in this recipe with ground turkey or beef. There is even Italian seasoned ground turkey that would work fantastic in this recipe.
Please note that the meat, whichever you use, goes into this zucchini boat recipe raw.
Making Zucchini Boats In Advance
This is a great recipe to make ahead of time. Simply make the stuffed zucchini boats up to the point that you are going to put them in the oven. Then cover them and put them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. (See instructions for freezing them below.)
When you are ready to bake these, take them out of the refrigerator and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Top with spaghetti sauce and top with cheese.
Freezing Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
- Follow the recipe up to the point of putting them in the oven.
- Instead, place the baking sheet in the freezer for 4 hours.
- Transfer the flash frozen zucchini to an airtight container. Store in the freezer for up to three months.
- When you are ready to bake, the zucchini can be placed (still frozen) on a rimmed baking sheet and baked.
- Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.
- Top with sauce and cheese and bake for 15 more minutes.
Keto Zucchini Boats
You can easily turn this into a keto friendly recipe by swapping the bread crumbs for pork rinds. Then add in 2 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning. I love it when easy swaps make recipes accessible for those with speciality diets.
This is tricky because “healthy” is a relative term. That being said, of your dinner options, finding one with 356 calories per serving is great. These are a little high on fat because of the pork, but you could swap that out for lean ground turkey to make them lighter. You could also make them low carb. See our note right above.
There is a range in this recipe because zucchini are all different sizes. I was using 4 zucchini and some were on the smaller side. I ended up with left over filling. Four medium zucchini would be perfect, 3 large zucchini, or 2 very large zucchini are your best bets for this recipe.
Put these in a 350 degree oven in a covered baking dish for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are heated through.
Other Savory Zucchini Recipes
If you make these Zucchini Boats, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
- 3 to 4 medium zucchini cut in half
- 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (read how to make these keto friendly)
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage if you are using links, remove the casings (see our note in the post about using turkey)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 4 cloves garlic minced (divided – some for the filling, some for the sauce)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
- 1 cup mozzarella shredded
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop out the insides of the zucchini with a spoon or melon baller, leaving about 1/4 inch around the outside of the zucchini. Chop up the zucchini that you pulled out.
- Combine half the chopped zucchini (see note), bread crumbs, sausage (raw), cheese, eggs, parsley, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Fill the zucchini with the mixture, place onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes.
- While the zucchini cooks, make a sauce. Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté for about 30 seconds. Then add in the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Add in the basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Continue simmering for 15 minutes. At the end of the simmering time, taste the sauce. If it seems a little tart, add a teaspoon of sugar. This will even out the acidity of the canned tomatoes without making the sauce sweet.
- After 40 minutes, top the zucchini with the sauce and mozzarella cheese. Put it all back in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.