These easy Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are the perfect appetizer to serve even the pickiest crowd – they're gluten-free and vegetarian!
How to make this recipe
- Cook lentils and quinoa.
- Slice zucchini in half lengthwise, then scoop out flesh.
- Season with salt and pepper then bake for 8 min.
- Saute all filling ingredients except for cheese and cilantro.
- Remove from heat then add in cheese and cilantro.
- Stuff cooked zucchini with filling, then sprinkle with more cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven, then cut each zucchini boat into four different pieces if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini – zucchinis will give the boat shape effect for this recipe, but feel free to use any other squash. Yellow summer squash would work especially well
- Olive oil – any neutral oil such as canola oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil can replace olive oil in this recipe
- Red lentils – use any other lentil (like brown or black) as a substitution
- Quinoa – barley, farro, rice or couscous can be used in place of quinoa
- Chili powder – crushed chili peppers, taco seasoning, or cayenne powder can all be used in place of chili powder
- Red and yellow bell peppers – use any bell pepper colors of choice or replace with another vegetable of choice
- Plum tomatoes – roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes or diced tomatoes can be used in place of plum tomatoes
- Yellow onion – feel free to use another onion of choice like red onion, white onion or sweet onions
- Garlic – use fresh or jarred minced garlic in this recipe or garlic powder in a pinch
- Salsa – use a store-bought or homemade salsa of choice
- Cheddar cheese – any shredded cheese blend that you like can be used
- Cilantro – parsley can be used instead (to garnish)
Storing and reheating
This recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner! The zucchini is a low carb and it's stuffed with delicious vegetarian flavours that make it a lighter dinner option that tastes amazing.
To store any leftover zucchini boats, place them in an airtight container. The stuffed zucchini can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days, making them a great meal prep dinner idea for the week. When ready to enjoy the zucchini boats, place them on a baking sheet in the oven until warmed or microwave for 1-2 minutes.
More stuffed zucchini ideas
Stuffed vegetables are the perfect way to get in your vegetables in a fun and exciting way. They can also be easily customized with the flavours that you're craving. So, if Tex Mex or vegetarian zucchini boats aren't what you're craving then you can easily swap out some of the ingredients to your (or your family's) liking.
Here are some easy ideas below:
- Make the dish heartier by adding protein from a ground meat of choice (ex: extra lean ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork or ground turkey)
- Experiment with other cheeses of choice than cheddar cheese
- Replace the zucchini altogether with hollowed bell peppers or another squash of your liking
- Replace spices to achieve a new flavour
What to serve with baked stuffed zucchini
This dish is hearty on its own and doesn't need a side dish. But if you're looking to make a delicious dinner spread, try pairing these zucchini boats with a side dish of your choice. Tasty sides and appetizers to serve with stuffed zucchini include:
- Garlic bread
- Rice side dish
- Side salad
- Grilled chicken
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More delicious vegetarian recipes
- Creamy Asparagus Risotto
- Sweet Potato, Squash and Kale Buddha Bowl
- Roasted Vegetable Flatbread
- Warm Tahini Kale and Quinoa Bowls
- Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
Meal prep tools
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls to store leftovers
- These Foil Containers are great for freezing individual servings then reheating in the oven
Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 3 in medium-sized zucchini cuthalf lengthwise
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups brown, black or red lentils
- 1 1/4 cups quinoa
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 each red and yellow pepper diced
- 1 medium-sized plum tomato deseeded and diced
- 1/2 small yellow onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 3/4 cup salsa
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese 2 tbsp reserved for garnish
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro or parsley minced
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Cook lentils and quinoa each according to package directions.
- Slice zucchini in half lengthwise, then scoop out flesh. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then season with salt and pepper. Bake for 8 min until zucchini is just tender.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large frying pan on med-high heat. Add all filling ingredients except for cheese and cilantro. Saute for 5-6 min, then remove from heat, stirring in cheese and cilantro.
- Remove zucchini from oven and stuff with filling, then sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp cheese. Bake for another 2 min until cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven, then cut each zucchini boat into four different pieces. Serve immediately and enjoy!