Stuffed Zucchini Boats

My moms stuffed zucchini boats are the perfect weekday low carb meal. This recipe is so delicious and filled with a hearty meaty 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 goals if you use ground meat such as beef, turkey, or chicken. What I love about this recipe is that it’s so versatile and light. It can be made with eggplant or yellow squash as well so feel free to experiment. This recipe is fun and 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, you can easily hit your protein goals if you use ground meat such as beef, turkey, or chicken.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Servings 9 boats


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or any you like
  • 400 grams ground meat of choice I like pork or beef
  • 1 finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup plain tomato sauce for the meat
  • ¼ cup of water or broth

Additional Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups marinara for the bottom of the baking dish
  • mozzarella or any melty cheese for the top of the zucchini boats


  • Pre-heat 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 them aside. You can use the inside of the scooped zucchini for smoothies or other recipes of choice.
  • In a non-stick skillet on the stove, add the avocado oil and fry the ground meat until the water has evaporated and it begins to brown (medium-high heat) . This should take about 10 minutes. Be sure to break it apart as you fry it.
  • Once the meat has browned, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onions and stir. Add in the spices and stir. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the tomato sauce and stir. Last but not least, add the water (white wine or broth) 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 big enough to fit all of the boats, add marinara sauce to the bottom. We use our homemade sugo but you can use any good quality such as Rao's.
  • Take a zucchini boat, fill it with meat and place it in the baking dish on top of the tomato sauce. 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 in a pre-heated 425F oven until golden. Our oven took 45 minutes but keep an eye on them. 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 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. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
If you love one of my recipes, please leave a review. It would mean so much to me if you did. Thank you for being here and bringing me into your kitchen.

4 Responses

  1. 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!

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