Stuffed Zucchini Boats

My son Brooks acquired a new hobby last summer while we were on vacation: fishing. He hooked up with his East Coast cousins and their fishing neighbor named Eric. Eric had all kinds of gear that he let the kids use, and he taught them how to catch fish off the docks and the jetty of Boston’s South Shore. Brooks spent a lot of time with Eric and those fishing poles that summer. He was on a mission to catch the biggest fish around, and I think he’d have fished all day every day if we’d let him. Brooks came home from fishing one day and told us he’d already eaten dinner- Stuffed Zucchini Boats- at Eric’s house. “Did you say, Zucchini Boats??” I asked him. “Yep,” he said.

Now, you have to understand that my boy would no sooner eat small piece of zucchini floating in a bowl of soup… let alone an ENTIRE ZUCCHINI stuffed with stuff. Yet, he came home from fishing and happily told me how much he looooooved Eric’s Stuffed Zucchini Boats.   Surely he was just being polite, right??

So at this point I decided that obviously Eric had obviously been catapulted into “God” category because he was so generous with his time and fishing equipment. Brooks lived for fishing that summer, and Eric was his ticket to have fun fishing with his cousins.  I decided that I simply must re-create this God-like zucchini dish that Brooks loved so much.  I asked him a bunch of questions about what could have been in that magical zucchini boat he ate, and he gave me some tips.  Here’s what I came up with…

I scraped out the insides of the zucchini and saved them to sauté with a little bit of onion and garlic and sweet Italian sausage.  I drained the mixture after that since the zucchini brings a lot of moisture into the mix. Then I mixed it all with fresh basil, marinara sauce and cheese.  That’s it.

The zucchini boats were stuffed.

A little bit of cheese sprinkled on top too.

And then baked for 30 minutes.

I served these Stuffed Zucchini Boats over a some Parmesan Rice (just the stuff you buy in the box- a quickie).  I could hardly believe my eyes when I observed Brooks eating bite after bite of my zucchini boats.  The kiddo said he loved them and gobbled up more than one.  I’m thinking I might need to bake Eric some cookies next summer to thank him for all of that fishing, but most importantly- to thank him for finding a delicious way to get my son to eat and enjoy zucchini.  Yay for Eric!

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Yield: 6 zucchini boats

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Ingredients:

Three medium (8-inch) zucchini, ends trimmed, then cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3/4-pound lean turkey sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato-basil marinara sauce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.

2. Use a small spoon to scrape out the insides of each zucchini half - the pulp. Don't scrape the zucchini all the way to the skin- just make a deep pocket where you'll be able to put the stuffing. Save the pulp and chop it.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini pulp, onion, garlic and sausage. Cook together 4 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are softened and the sausage is cooked through. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve to drain the excess moisture. Transfer the meat mixture to a medium bowl.

4. In a small bowl, mix the cheeses together. Remove two tablespoons of the cheese and set aside. Add the rest of the cheese to the meat mixture, along with the marinara sauce and basil. Add salt and pepper, as desired.

5. Divide the meat mixture between the hollowed out zucchini, filling and mounding into each one. Set the stuffed zucchini into the prepared pan and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.

6. Bake 30 minutes, or until baked through and tender.

Tips:

*These are delicious on their own, but they're also good served over herbed rice.

*If you are preparing this recipe as gluten-free, just be sure to use sausage and marinara sauce that are known to be GF.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 zucchini boat
Calories per serving: 241
Fat per serving: 13.5g
Saturated Fat per serving: 4.8g
Sugar per serving: 3.9g
Fiber per serving: 3.9g
Protein per serving: 19.2g
Cholesterol per serving: 51.6mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 12.2g

WW POINTS per serving:
Points Plus Program: 6 Old Points Program: 5

Source: RecipeGirl.com

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41 Responses to “Stuffed Zucchini Boats”

  1. 1

    Becki's Whole Life — February 13, 2012 @ 3:55 AM

    Fishing is such a great sport for kids to learn and get into – how fun! I wonder if he ate these to be polite and then he discovered that they were pretty good? Funny how that works. Although anything stuffed with Italian sausage and cheese sounds good to me:-)…these sound fabulous though and a great way to get some veggies in there.

  2. 2

    Blog is the New Black — February 13, 2012 @ 4:44 AM

    Zucchini boats are a fav of mine!

  3. 3

    Marnely Rodriguez — February 13, 2012 @ 6:47 AM

    What a delicious recipe!

  4. 4

    Tracy — February 13, 2012 @ 6:54 AM

    If this will get a kiddo to eat something green, I’m all for it! Great idea!

  5. 5

    Bev Weidner — February 13, 2012 @ 7:37 AM

    Oh. Muh. Gush.

  6. 6

    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — February 13, 2012 @ 7:37 AM

    The boats look awesome and way to go, Mom, for “capitalizing” on a situation where Brooks’ idol served up some veggie-centric food, and it was an automatic winner in his eyes.

  7. 7

    Cookbook Queen — February 13, 2012 @ 8:38 AM

    Doesn’t it drive you crazy when someone else gets your kid to eat something that you never could? On a good note, it sounds like you figured it out and it looks AMAZING!!!

  8. 8

    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables — February 13, 2012 @ 9:34 AM

    These look awesome. I feel like if you stuffed it into an eggplant it would almost taste like eggplant parm!

  9. 9

    Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen — February 13, 2012 @ 9:39 AM

    Omg, this looks incredible!! I love the idea of making vegetables enjoyable for kids (and adults)! :)

  10. 10

    Tabetha Jones — February 13, 2012 @ 11:42 AM

    I have made these for years,only do this way,starts out the same, then cook shells in microwave 2/3 minuets, finely chop zuchinni, add green onions, mushrooms, both finely chopped, to this add a bunch of parmesean cheese and a bunch of seasoned croutons, mix really well, then add at least 1 medium tomato finely diced and drained, mix well again, now stuff boats with mixture add some sliced mozzarlla and some sliced ‘old’ cheddar on top, do all on microwavable tray, nuke for 3-5 min on med-high or until cheeses are melted, allow to sit a few min., and enjoy ! Very good with chicken or pork steak

  11. 11

    patsy — February 13, 2012 @ 2:27 PM

    yum! I’ve been seeing different versions of these all over the place and just might have to give them a try soon… just wish I had really good zucchinis here this time of year… they can be hit-or-miss in the winter months in NJ.

  12. 12

    ciaochowlinda — February 13, 2012 @ 6:11 PM

    I’ve made zucchini boats several ways, but never using sausage. It’s high time to try these delicious looking veggies in a new way.

  13. 13

    Jeny_Nour — February 14, 2012 @ 1:25 AM

    I’ve made these a few times with scrambled eggs as the protein source. I really like the idea of trading eggs for Italian sausage. It seems a bit more robust and more ‘dinner-like’, plus the bed of rice is a great presentation touch.
    I try not to use packaged rice items though -because of the sodium levels. Do you have a recipe for Parmesan Rice that’s made from scratch?

  14. 14

    Lesley — February 14, 2012 @ 6:29 AM

    These look great. I can’t wait for summer to
    use our zucchini in this recipe.

  15. 15

    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — February 14, 2012 @ 6:36 AM

    I love stuffed zucchini and these look so good!

  16. 16

    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — February 14, 2012 @ 7:01 AM

    Yum! I love zucchini and putting the trukey sausage on it, is a wonderful idea! I love it!!

  17. 17

    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — February 14, 2012 @ 7:36 AM

    What a fun and delicious way to serve Zucchini! I love the ingredients used in this recipe! A definite must try!

  18. 18

    lulu — February 14, 2012 @ 7:38 AM

    why didn’t you just ask the person that fixed them at erics (who i am assuming is family) for the recipe?

  19. 19

    Mary Miller / A Passionate Plate — February 14, 2012 @ 7:38 AM

    When I was growing up my mom always had a garden full of zucchini. When we couldn’t eat any more of them, she would work her way around the neighborhood and leave one in every mailbox. Surprise! Too bad she didn’t have this recipe to attach to her gifts. It sounds absolutely delish!!

  20. 20

    Lori Lange — February 14, 2012 @ 8:41 AM

    Eric was a next door neighbor to our relative’s beach house. I don’t know him!

  21. 21

    Bree — February 14, 2012 @ 8:56 AM

    These look fantastic–Love the combinations!

  22. 22

    mel — February 14, 2012 @ 10:38 AM

    I’m not gonna lie, I’ve tried zuccini many ways. baked in casseroles, floating in soups, simmering in sauces and deep fried. Just don’t like the stuff!
    However, I will give it one more try. Cuz this looks amazing!

  23. 23

    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — February 14, 2012 @ 10:56 AM

    I would love this. I am going to have to give this a try with my son – he abhors veggies!

  24. 24

    Shannon — February 14, 2012 @ 2:41 PM

    I’m going to have to try this. I love the use of turkey sausage!

  25. 25

    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — February 15, 2012 @ 10:21 AM

    Love your Italian take on these stuffed zucchini boats, Lori! I’ve done southwestern before too (black beans, rice, moneterey jack, etc.) with great success. Thanks for sharing!

  26. 26

    Marcy Cole — February 15, 2012 @ 12:42 PM

    Sounds delicious and I want to try it soon. Quick, dumb question though since I know little to nothing about Italian Sausage – does the sausage come in a casing or is it ground in bulk form at the grocery. If its in a casing how do you get it crumbled?

  27. 27

    Lori Lange — February 15, 2012 @ 1:09 PM

    It usually comes in a casing in large links… I just crumble it apart with a wooden spoon in the pan, just like I do with ground beef.

  28. 28

    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — February 15, 2012 @ 1:23 PM

    Oh this is my kind of meal! Yum!

  29. 29

    kelley {mountain mama cooks} — February 15, 2012 @ 2:20 PM

    I love stuffed anything! I usually make mine vegetarian but you’ve inspired me to use some Italian sausage next time, it sounds like a great combo!

  30. 30

    Lacey — February 16, 2012 @ 2:42 PM

    I made these for dinner earlier this week. They were very good and the entire family approved. I will definitely put this recipe on my list of dinners to make again. Thanks for sharing!

  31. 31

    Robyn | Add a Pinch — February 17, 2012 @ 12:38 PM

    Love this, Lori! I love how my son can come home and tell me how much he loved something at a friend’s house. It’s always a great way for him to learn to try new stuff!

  32. 32

    RecipeGirl's Mom — February 20, 2012 @ 2:40 PM

    This sounds really good and easily gluten free. Thanks for another winner for my GF file.

  33. 33

    Kim — March 13, 2012 @ 6:33 PM

    I used regular sausage and it was just delist. Thanks

  34. 34

    Janelle — April 20, 2012 @ 10:53 AM

    I’m making this for dinner tonight, and I just copied the recipe into a Word file and noticed that there are two direction #2s!

  35. 35

    Lori Lange — April 20, 2012 @ 10:54 AM

    lol, ugh. Fixed that- thank you! Enjoy the recipe!

  36. 36

    Kelly — April 24, 2012 @ 12:50 PM

    Just wanted to pop in and tell you that this recipe is now among my “favorites”. I’ve made it twice, your version as well a version in your comment section here for a southwest version. I’m making them yet again tomorrow for a birthday dinner. What a fantastic and easy way to make a “veggie”, and healthy meal. Your pictures are amazing by the way!!

  37. 37

    roz — August 9, 2012 @ 6:08 PM

    I have lost my stuffed zucchini recipe and yours sounds like an excellent new replacement! just found your blog and am anxious to read the posts that will now come arrive via email to me!

  38. 38

    Pileofashes — November 26, 2012 @ 4:05 PM

    My boyfriend just consumed an entire half of a zucchini. That’s like, half a zucchini more then he has ever consumed in his life. And it’s all because of this recipe. THANK YOU! Delicious!!

  39. 39

    Lori Lange — November 27, 2012 @ 1:53 PM

    That’s great to hear!

  40. 40

    BlkMommba — December 1, 2012 @ 6:28 PM

    I made this dish tonight with rice on the side and it was friggin’ delicious!!! My husband is very selective about how and what veggies he eats, AND HE LOVED THIS!!! This dish has earned a spot in my recipe book!

  41. 41

    Cynthia — July 5, 2013 @ 8:42 AM

    This is just what I was looking for, thank you. I used ground beef instead of sausage. It was quick and easy to do and tasty.