|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||9%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||19%|
|Total Carbohydrate 22g||8%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||9%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Zucchini is readily available throughout the year, but the squash is especially abundant from farmers markets and neighborhood gardens during the summer months. If you've had enough zucchini bread and have run out of creative ideas for your bumper crop, this easy main dish is an excellent option.
Using turkey or chicken sausage keeps the dish light while a combination of tomatoes, bell peppers, and cheese gives it plenty of flavor and texture. Stuffed zucchini is a versatile dish as well and the recipe is easy to adjust for vegetarian family members—fill the zucchini with extra cheese and breadcrumbs or replace the protein with meat replacement crumbles, cooked pulses, or tempeh.
Serve the zucchini boats with a tossed salad and some crusty bread for a hearty and satisfying meal.
- 4 medium zucchini, about 6 or 7 inches in length
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage (turkey, chicken, or pork, removed from casings)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs (about 2 slices bread, pulsed in a food processor)
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Optional garnish: chopped basil
- Optional garnish: chopped parsley
- Optional garnish: marinara sauce
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the soft flesh in the center of each half. The shell should be thick enough to hold the filling, about 1/4-inch. Discard any large seeds and reserve about 1 cup of the scooped flesh.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage, onion, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sausage is no longer pink.
Chop the reserved zucchini flesh and add it to the sausage along with the garlic; continue to cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the bread crumbs, chopped tomatoes, about two-thirds to three-quarters of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and the Italian seasoning. Taste and add salt and pepper, and then add the lightly beaten egg. Mix well.
Arrange the zucchini shells in two shallow 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dishes and fill with the sausage stuffing mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Add about 1 cup of hot water to each baking dish.
Bake the stuffed zucchini boats in the preheated oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the tops are lightly browned. Remove the zucchini to a platter and garnish with chopped basil, parsley, or a drizzle of marinara sauce if desired.
How to Store and Reheat
- Refrigerate leftover zucchini boats in airtight containers for up to three days.
- To reheat, wrap the zucchini boats in foil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until they register at least 165 F in the center.
- Instead of sausage, use ground beef. Brown as directed and season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the baked zucchini boats crosswise into 1-inch slices and serve them as an appetizer with pizza sauce or marinara sauce for dipping.
- If substituting breakfast sausage, add an extra clove of minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil.
How Long Does Fresh Zucchini Last?
When stored in the refrigerator crisper, fresh zucchini will last from 1 to 2 weeks. Place unwashed fresh zucchini in a plastic or paper bag, leaving one end open for air circulation.
Is Zucchini Skin Okay to Eat?
The skin zucchini is thin and tender, so it is fine to eat. Wash the zucchini before you prepare it and don't peel it unless instructed by the recipe.