Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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Easy Stuffed Zucchini Boats have so much flavor with ground turkey, mushrooms, pasta sauce, and cheese. This is a healthier dinner recipe your whole family will love.

This recipe is a twist on an old family favorite and I hope you love it as much as we did!

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stuffed zucchini with cheese

I remember my Nana making a recipe like this when I was young. I remember my mom and dad looking forward to her Zucchini Boats every time she made them, but I never did, probably because I didn’t like tomato sauce back then. When I was a kid I liked about three things: rice with cheese, pasta with cheese, and bean burritos.

(Gee, I have no idea why Jordan is a picky eater…)

As an adult I started eating pasta sauce and I started trying out new recipes. As a young married woman, I would watch Rachael Ray incessantly and buy all of her books. I think she, at one point, must have made stuffed zucchini because I remember making it for Mel all the time years ago. Then, for some reason, I stopped (probably because Jordan stopped eating everything but pizza and grilled cheese) and I never got back into the groove of cooking with zucchini. Until now, that is.

(Actually, I think I stopped making zucchini that year we had the 5 million 20-pound zucchinis growing in our garden. LOL)

When I was brainstorming a low-carb way to have some sort of Italian food, I remembered my Nana’s zucchini boats and immediately tried to recreate them. We absolutely loved this recipe and I know your family will too!

stuffed zucchini in pan

While this recipe isn’t a 30 minute meal, unless you pre-bake the zucchini, it’s an easy recipe to put together. In fact, you can even make some of it ahead of time and just bake it when you’re ready to eat.

This easy stuffed zucchini recipe is filled with ground turkey that’s cooked with mushrooms and onions and garlic along with lots of herbs and spices. I love using ground turkey and use it instead of ground beef 99% of the time. Believe me, this recipe tastes so good you won’t miss the beef, but if you have a purist in your home, you can substitute ground beef for the turkey.

The cooked meat is mixed with pasta sauce and then stuffed into zucchini boats. The mixture will fill about 4-5 regular sized zucchini, which will serve 4-8 people depending on what else you’re serving. Because we try to eat low carb, the three of us just ate the zucchini boats along with a small side salad and we had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Now, to make sure your zucchini are cooked all the way, I have a few tips for that in the recipe. Really, since the filling is already cooked, all you need to do is make sure the zucchini is cooked to your liking. Then, add the best ingredient: cheese!! The cheese makes these SO good.

Easy Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are made with ground turkey and lots of seasonings. Your whole family will love them!

stuffed zucchini in pan

How to make the perfect Stuffed Zucchini Boats:

  1. To hollow out the zucchini, first cut them in half horizontally. Then, using a teaspoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving a bit at the top and bottom to create a front and end of the boat. Do this carefully so you don’t rip the zucchini.
  2. If you have leftover filling, it’s great on pasta!
  3. Don’t like mushrooms? Skip them!
  4. To make sure the zucchini is cooked all the way, I cover the pan with foil for the first half of baking. Then I sprinkle with cheese and let the zucchini finish cooking to my desired doneness.

Enjoy!

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stuffed zucchini in pan
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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Easy Stuffed Zucchini Boats have so much flavor with ground turkey, mushrooms, pasta sauce, and cheese. This is a healthier dinner recipe your whole family will love.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 228 kcal
Author Dorothy Kern

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium/large zucchini
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 small yellow onion diced (89g)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 ounces 114g white mushrooms, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Trim the ends of zucchini. Slice in half horizontally. Use a small spoon to clean out the centers of the flesh carefully. Place zucchini in pan.
  3. Place turkey in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, breaking up chunks, until almost all the pink is gone. Drain fat.
  4. Add onion and garlic to the turkey and continue to cook on medium heat until the onion is soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and seasonings. Cook 3-5 minutes, then stir in the pasta sauce. Cook just a few more minutes to meld the flavors and taste test for seasoning.
  5. Fill the zucchini boats evenly with the turkey mixture.
  6. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the zucchini is almost your desired tenderness. Top with cheese and cook just until melted.
  7. Serve hot. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Facts
Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Amount Per Serving (1 /6 recipe)
Calories 228 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 68mg 23%
Total Carbohydrates 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 8g
Protein 23g 46%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Zucchini Tart is a great way to have zucchini for lunch.

Turkey Meatballs are my favorite, especially in crockpot tomato sauce.

meatballs in sauce in pan
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5 comments

  1. hey girl- these boats look so tasty!

  2. I keep forgetting about these; I’ll have to try it this way. Nana’s secret ingredient was grated salami (besides the beef in the pasta sauce). Not exactly heart healthy or low calorie… lol

  3. This is something special we can add for special gathering. The idea of stuffed zucchini boats is fresh and exceptional for me and the way you portrayed the whole procedure, i am really inspired by that.

  4. This is something special we can add for special gathering. The idea of stuffed zucchini boats is fresh and exceptional for me and the way you portrayed the whole procedure, i am really inspired by that.

  5. I am a vegetarian so I skipped the beef. It turned out great. Next time I’m going to try meatless crumbles.

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