Stuffed Zucchini Boats

5 from 6 votes

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My mom’s stuffed zucchini boats are a perfect easy, weekday, low-carb meal. This recipe is so delicious: melt-in-your-mouth zucchini are hollowed out and stuffed with a hearty meat sauce that gets topped with cheese and baked to perfection! There are so many different ways to enjoy zucchini but one of my favorite ways is stuffed and served as a main course. These easy stuffed zucchini boats are light and can easily fit into your protein or dietary goals if you use ground meat, such as beef, turkey, or chicken. Ground meat is quick-cooking, which helps this meal come together in minutes on busy nights; plus you can use store-bought tomato sauce – so effortless!

What I love about this recipe is that it’s so refreshing and versatile: it can be made with eggplant or yellow squash. Feel free to experiment. This recipe is perfect if you’re looking at getting more veggies into your diet.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchini Boats with Meat

These easy stuffed zucchini boats are light and can easily fit into your protein or dietary goals if you use ground meat, such as beef, turkey, or chicken. Ground meat is quick-cooking, which helps this meal come together in minutes on busy nights; plus it uses store-bought tomato sauce – so easy!
5 from 6 votes
Servings: 9 boats
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


  • 4 medium zucchinis, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 400 grams (1 pound) ground meat of choice, I like pork or beef
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup plain tomato sauce for the meat
  • ¼ cup water, white wine, or broth

Additional Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups marinara for the bottom of the baking dish, I use my sugo recipe or a high-quality store-bought brand, such as Rao's
  • mozzarella or any melty cheese for sprinkling on top


  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Take a spoon and scoop out the inside of the zucchini carefully (making them look like a boat), so that you have enough room to add in the filling.
  • Once cleaned and scooped, set aside. You can use the inside of the scooped zucchini for smoothies or other recipes of choice.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the avocado oil. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the water has evaporated and the meat begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onions and stir. Add the salt, paprika, oregano, and garlic and stir. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the tomato sauce and stir. Last but not least, add the water and let it evaporate and thicken completely as you stir.
  • When you can easily run a wooden spoon through the meat without leaving any liquid behind, it's ready to take off the heat.
  • In a baking dish large enough to fit all of the boats, add marinara sauce to the bottom.
  • Take a zucchini boat, fill it with meat and place it in the baking dish on top of the marinara. Do this for each one until the meat has finished.
  • When the baking dish is full of the filled zucchini boats, top it with your favorite melty cheese. You can use any cheese you like but make sure it melts well and tastes delicious (nothing pre-grated) for best results.
  • Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they bake to make sure they do not burn. The zucchini boats should still have a bite to them when cut. Enjoy!



Feel free to use any ground meat of choice. Be mindful that ground chicken or ground turkey is very lean and won’t brown like pork or beef. 
If you are plant-based, you can absolutely use a plant-based ground “meat” of choice. 
Use a good-quality melty cheese that tastes good. I don’t like anything pre-grated. Fontina, Provolone, or Mozzarella are wonderful options. Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano is also lovely in combination with any of these cheeses.  
We make our homemade sugo and use that sauce for this recipe but you can use any good quality marinara like Rao’s if you like. I will link our sugo recipe here: Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce (Sugo) – The Modern Nonna
Can you freeze these boats: I don’t recommend it as the zucchini will be extremely mushy when thawed but you can freeze the meat filling and have it ready any day of the week. 
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this with rice as the filling and it was a hit with the family. Love this, great way to use zucchini!

    1. I am so sorry I must have completely missed that in the ingredient list so thank you for asking this question. This recipe made 9 boats for me so I used 4.5 medium zucchini’s. It will really depend how big/small you buy them so I suggest you purchase 5 or 6 to be safe and see how many you need 🙂

  2. Just made this recipe for the second time and can’t tell you how much we love it. So easy to put together and so incredibly delicious. You are now my go to person when planning my weekly meals. Thank you for sharing it – love your recipes

  3. 5 stars
    Made this using a pound of ground of ground meat (turkey) with 4 large zucchinis, and I seasoned the zucs before adding in the filling. Added cheese with my heart 🙂 Another hit recipe!