Zucchini is in full swing this time of year so I wanted to share a recipe that would show case zucchini and get us all super excited about eating it!
These turkey stuffed zucchini boats are perfect, right?
Not only do they use up a ton of zucchini but they are super family friendly (my kids love them), can be prepared ahead of time and make great leftovers. Whats not to get excited about?
The only catch with this recipe is that it does require a bit of preparation time, but I promise you they are super easy to make, they just ask for a bit of your effort and attention.
You can easily swap out the turkey for ground beef, bison, or chicken and if you prefer a vegetarian option, quinoa or lentils could make a great stuffing as well. So as always, make them work for you.
And most importantly, enjoy.
Turkey Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 4 medium zucchini about 2 lbs.
- 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1/2 green pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup reserved zucchini meat from the center of zucchini
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 cup strained tomatoes
- 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese shredded
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and pre-heat oven to 350.
- Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon (or melon baller) to scoop out the center, leaving about 1/4 inch zucchini shell all around (see video for demonstration). Be sure to save the zucchini you scooped out.
- Place zucchini in pot of boilingwater for one minute.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat before adding in ground turkey. Using a wooden spoon or spatula to break the meat into smaller pieces and cook until lightly browned.
- Add in garlic, onion, green peppers, zucchini meat, Italian seasoning, strained tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender and all the flavors have come together.
- Place zucchini halves in a baking dish and fill each zucchini boat with about 1/2 cup filling. Top each turkey stuffed zucchini boat with 1 tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and everything has heated through. Enjoy!
I am a vegetarian. Is there any possible way to substitute the turkey with a vegetarian option? Thanks!
I agree with Darren – you can do lentils, beans, quinoa, barley, faro, etc. OR perhaps some tofu or tempeh:)
Maybe I missed something in the recipe, wondering why you need a large pot of boiled water?
It is to bar boil zucchini before stuffing. You can skip it if you don’t want to do the extra step but your zucchini will be more al dente!
Exactly! Kept rereading the directions! Makes no sense! Coming from someone who has to follow the directions to a “t” the boiling pot doesnt fit with anything in the directions.
I was wondering the same thing! How long do you put the zucchini in the water?
Sorry for the confusion. I just fixed the recipe – the zucchini goes into the water for just one minute!
Darren Stehle says
Great recipe and so easy to make!
Suhani, why not use a firm tofu that you can crumble in place of the ground turkey? Or you could mix ground nuts with beans, or lentils, barley or bulgur.
all great ideas!
Jen Standridge says
Made these tonight, we can’t stop talking about how good and flavorful they are, and such low calories!
awesome! so glad to hear it!
Thanks both Darren and Dani. I am looking forward to using those choices to make this dish. 🙂
Hello, what kind of Italian seasoning do you recommend? Is there a specific brand? Thank you =]
Wow! These are delicious! We’re cutting out carbs for dinner and this was the first recipe I tried. So good, it’ll definitely be on high rotation. Next, I’m going to try a variation with zucchini noodles, turkey meatballs (using the meatball muffin recipe), tomato sauce (from this recipe) and cheese. Yum.
So glad you liked them! I’ve been dying to try zucchini muffins myself…
I feel silly even asking this, but “strained tomatoes”? Is that canned diced tomatoes that have been drained or crushed tomatoes? Probably won’t make or break the final product but I wanted to check. 🙂 thanks!
/yes – very similar to crushed tomatoes but without the seeds. Honestly – crushed tomatoes would be perfect!
When do you boil the zucchini and for how long?
I look forward to your emails every time and have passed many of your recipes along to friends and family. I have made the Zucchini Boats twice now. Didn’t have ground turkey so I used ground beef and just drained off the grease. The second time I made them I didn’t pull up your recipe. It is such an easy recipe I was so proud of myself for remembering how to do it. Something was lacking the second time though….what could it be?? I pulled up the recipe and realized I forgot the garlic!!! :/ How on earth did I forget that!? (Like you, I don’t think there is any dish I have ever made without fresh garlic.) So I gave them a good douse of garlic powder. It helped a lot but not quite the same. I won’t forget the garlic next time. Also, I like the idea of substituting the lentils or beans for meat (my boss is vegan) I’m so glad I found you!
Thanks for this recipe! All my family loved this yummy boats!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this recipe. We talked about this recipe for 3 days after we made it, it was so flavorful and delicious. I can’t wait to make this again.
Came out gr8…
Glad to hear it, Sherry!
Why not use a blueberry pancake and deep fry it you vegan retards – I feel bad for Dani to have to see everyone’s “what ifs” and “what about my sensitive gastrointestinal issues?”
Made these for lunch today. They were awesome very flavorful. Will be making them again for sure. Great addition to my recipe book.
So glad you liked them Judi!!
Made the zucchini boats last night and they were very well received and filling die my family. Delicious!! Love your site! Thank you.
Thanks Penny! I love those zucchini boats too:)
Just made these tonight! They were so delicious. Would highly recommend. Served with brown rice and the meal was great. Even my 1.5 yr old devoured! Thanks for the recipe. We didn’t have the green peppers and it didn’t seem to make a difference. Also used a bit of garlic powder in the meat mixture. Yum!
So glad you all enjoyed them! They are a favorite in my house as well!
I was wondering if anyone has frozen these and, if so, how they proceeded and what the results were? 🙂
Cindy giron says
Can I use Marinara sauce instead of tomatoes?
What tomatoe sauce do you recommend?
Hi Cindy – that would definitely work. But you will have a saucy end result:) As for sauce I usually try to find brands that have under 6 grams of sugar per serving. Hope that helps!
Natalie E Kittrell says
I’ve just finished my first week of CLEAN Eating… and THIS recipe has been an eye opener on how delicious and fun that simple, clean, whole foods can be. I’ve fixed this twice in this past week and I love it! Thank you for all the work you put into your videos…. PS – I love the Bloopers you add at the end… they make me laugh and realize you’re really just a normal, everyday woman like the rest of us, and not some perfect-Martha-Stewart-wanta-be. (lol) You’re just the best!!
Awe! Thanks so much Natalie – I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipes!!
Any chance you can add the part about putting the zucchini shells in the boiling water and for how long? I follow recipes to the “t” and this step is missing. Thank you. I found out what you were supposed to do with them in the comments but it didn’t say how long.
Can’t wait to try them tonight.
Mine cane out very watery. I used Italian sausage instead could that be why? I also skipped the tomato part cause I forgot to buy it but it still turned out good I just had to take the extra water out of my boats
Hmmm, I’m not sure why that would be. Ground turkey is pretty lean so maybe it was the sausage.
Jessie V says
The extra water comes from the vegetables (mostly the zucchini). You can drain the excess after cooking and before stuffing the boats. When you bake them the boats will release more water. Carefully tip each boat to the side and drain each one.
can we freeze zucchini boats?
I haven’t tried it yet, but my guess is that you can!
Randi NW says
What can you serve as sides with these?
I love a simple green salad with lots of crunchy veggies!
debbie Fremming says
Thanks for the great ideas. My zucchini plant got alway from me while I was out of town so now I’m looking for a good option to use up a couple of them. I also have tomatoes and bell peppers in my garden but will probably use a canned tomato product for less watery consistancy. Spaghetti sauce over the top and a different cheese would work also. I want the zucchini al dente but don’t want the extra water so will probably par boil as suggested.
Sounds good!! Enjoy them:)
How long do these keep in the fridge for (cooked)?
All the recipes I’ve tried are amazing !!! 🙂
Loved this recipe! I have made it twice and everyone loved it including my husband who doesn’t normally enjoy many veggies. Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s perfect for my low carb way of life! I also love watching your videos!
Awesome!! So glad to hear how much you loved this recipe. This is a staple in our house, especially when zucchini is in season!!
Very good. My partner loved this. Even hustled all of our leftovers for his lunch at work.
LOL! Love that you all enjoyed it so much. Thanks for taking the time to let me know:)
At what oven temp. ?
350 degrees Farhenheit
Karen Berry says
Did you leave the seeds in the zucchini meat that you scooped out?
yes! I did 🙂
Sabrina Fulton says
1st time ever doing zucchini boats! Super excited to try this new recipe for my family! Only thing I have forgot was to boil for a minute.
These were SO good!!!! Thanks so much for an awesome recipe! We used the butterball ground Turkey from Costco and the ratios were perfect we just adjusted them for a higher amount of turkey. This recipe was so easy to follow and it tastes great. I also made my own Italian seasoning because 1/2 way through I realized I didn’t have any:) I will definitely be looking for more recipes from this author!
Dani Spies says
YAY! This is a family favorite in our house – so I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed them.
Yummy! This is the 2nd time we have had this great recipe, tonight we are having it again! Love it! & love your video Dani, such a great help! Boiling for a minute or so works great too! Hubby & I love how tender they are. Your video explains everything, not sure why some don’t get it on here lol. I love I can make it ahead of time too.
Dani Spies says
Hi Renee! I am so glad you are enjoying this recipe. It’s on of our favorites as well!
My family and I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe. I made a few modifications and it was still delicious. This will be a bi-monthly meal! Thanks, Dani, for a wonderfully simple recipe.
Dani Spies says
I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Orma! Thanks for letting me know.
Your recipe is terrific! I added cajun seasoning and fresh jalapeño because I have to and that sent it over the moon for me. Thank you for a healthy, delicious and filling recipe that has been added to my rotation.
Jennifer Garrett says
I stumbled across this recipe while looking for my go-to zucchini boats recipe which is only a tad different. It turned out great, so thanks, I will have to add this recipe to the rotation!
Dani Spies says
Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe – thanks for letting me know.