These Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are a healthy and low-carb dish, filled with a delicious Bolognese sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini – squash is the best substitute when it comes to stuffed boats.
- Olive oil – use another neutral cooking oil like avocado or canola oil.
- Onion – you can use white, yellow or even red onion for this recipe.
- Carrot – swap out for another veggie of your choice like red peppers or parsnips.
- Celery stalks – substitute for another veggie or leave this out altogether.
- Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but jarred minced garlic will work in a pinch.
- Italian seasoning – make your own using a blend of basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley and thyme.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Extra-lean ground beef – you can also try making this recipe with ground turkey, chicken or pork.
- Spaghetti sauce – swap out for your favourite kind of pasta sauce or even a homemade pasta sauce.
- Mozzarella cheese – feel free to use another cheese like Swiss, provolone or cheddar.
- Chopped basil – oregano will provide the same flavour profile.
- Cherry tomatoes – substitute for another kind of tomato or leave this out altogether.
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How to make stuffed zucchini boats
- Scoop out the zucchini.
- Sauté the veggies.
- Add in the ground beef.
- Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
- Scoop the mixture into the zucchini boats.
- Top with cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Garnish and serve!
Health benefits of zucchini
Zucchini is a summer squash and a member of the gourd family. This low-carb veggie is a nutrient-dense food and therefore, is a great option for healthy eating and keeping down your meal’s calorie count.
In addition to the fact that zucchini has nearly no fat and very few calories, here are some other reasons why you should include more zucchini in your diet:
- Improves digestion: Zucchini is high in water content and contains a significant amount of fibre, which helps with digestion. This combination also helps you feel fuller longer after eating, which discourages overeating and in-between-meal snacks.
- Heart health: Aside from aiding digestion, fibre may help in lowering your risk of heart disease. Zucchini also contains pectin, a soluble fibre that studies have shown helps lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
- Rich in antioxidants: Zucchini is full of antioxidants, which help protect your body from damage by free radicals.
- High in nutrients: Zucchini contains significant amounts of vitamins B6, C and K, riboflavin, folate, potassium and manganese.
One cup of zucchini contains:
- Less than 20 calories
- Less than 1 gram of fat
- 1.4 grams of protein
- 1.1 grams of fibre
- 295 milligrams of potassium
Frequently Asked Questions
When you slice a zucchini in half and scoop out the seeds, you can stuff the zucchini with just about anything your heart desires! In this version of stuffed zucchini, we're going with an Italian version of a ground beef-based Bolognese sauce and melted cheese. YUM!
Nope! You just make the sauce, spoon it into the zucchini boats, add cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Zucchini cooks really quickly in the oven so unlike stuffed peppers, you don't need to bake the zucchini ahead of time while you're making the sauce.
Tasty sides and appetizers to serve with stuffed zucchini include garlic bread, your favourite rice side dish or a healthy side salad. You don't even really need a side dish for this recipe though! It's super filling and I'm willing to bet you won't even notice that it's low carb.
Storing and reheating
This recipe is perfect for your weekly meal prep or just as a weeknight dinner! It's low carb so it's a great alternative to heavier pasta dishes but you still get all the same flavours with the easy sauce. You can store any leftovers in the fridge for 3 to 4 days before the cheese starts to get slimy. To reheat, you can pop it in the oven for 10 minutes at 400° Fahrenheit or microwave it until warmed through.
Can you freeze stuffed zucchini boats?
Unfortunately, zucchini doesn’t freeze very well – but you can freeze the Bolognese sauce! One thing I like to do to make this stuffed zucchini a little bit easier is to prep the Bolognese sauce ahead of time. This allows me to get the zucchini into the oven earlier and get dinner on the table faster! You can store the sauce in glass bowls in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to make the stuffed zucchini, let the sauce thaw in the fridge overnight then add it to the zucchini boats, bake and voila.
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More zucchini recipes
- Zucchini Pizza Boats
- Mini Tex-Mex Zucchini Boats
- Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup
- The Best Easy Healthy Zucchini Recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning the stuffed zucchini boats into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my grass-fed ground beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.
The Best Ever Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 4 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
- 2 cups spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil (optional garnish)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional garnish)
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Add to a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery, sauteeing for 1-2 minutes. Add ground beef and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Add in garlic, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper and spaghetti sauce. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
- Add meat mixture to zucchini boats and top with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.
- Remove from oven and garnish with basil and cherry tomatoes. Serve and enjoy!
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Comments & Reviews
Very much looking forward to making this tonight! Picked up some fresh zucchini from the local farm stand and can’t wait to enjoy your recipe! I love Turkey Bolognese and stuffing it into zucchini sounds amazing! Thank you for your recipe!
These were the best. We used our own garden onion, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, basil and small local butcher sausage out of their casings. 4 year aged Reggiano. Very yummy. Our girls said 10 out of 10!
Taylor Stinson says
I’m so happy you enjoyed 🙂
Tommee Walker says
Hi, this looks delicious! I look forward to making it and a few others I’ve found on here. Definitely a bookmark site! 😉 But I do have a question about this recipe and some others, why is the sodium content so high? The calories and carbs are great, but 1500 mg per serving seems like ALOT. Is there something I could substitute to reduce it? Perhaps the parmesan?
Taylor Stinson says
This may be due to the specific tomato sauce being used or cheese or other canned items. Any ingredient that would contain salt naturally or where salt could be added, as well as adding salt itself. What you could try doing is cutting the salt in half and then adding more to taste if needed. Also, the nutritional figures are a best estimate so you may want to double check using something like Myfitnesspal.
Louise Forest says
Sorry for my English, I’m french speaking, but I just take the time to say to you that I love your recipes, my son loves your Taï soup and me either. Thank’s for all the time you take to explain the recipe and also all the Infos you add. I know we are all stress with the life and you take the time for that it’s appreciate.
Taylor Stinson says
Aww thank you so much Louise you are so sweet! Your comment has made my day!