An easy, low carb dinner that’s delicious and healthy! These Stuffed Zucchini Boats are filled with a hearty ground sausage mixture then topped with cheese and baked. Great for a quick dinner or meal prep for lunches.
Delicious stuffed zucchini loaded with Italian flavors is an easy low-carb dinner that it the best way to use up all the summer zucchini! If you love zucchini you are going to love this recipe.
I really like making zucchini boats. Zucchini has a very mild flavor that pairs with basically anything so it’s really easy to use it to make all kinds of healthier dinners with flavors I know my family will love.
This version is stuffed with saucy Italian sausage and topped with cheese. I’ve also made taco zucchini boats too. Both are always a hit with my family!
Why This Recipe Works
- It is a GREAT way to eat more veggies at dinner. You get one whole zucchini for each serving!
- The flavors all work really well together. The filling is really savory and filling and topped with cheese that gets all melty in the oven.
- If you like to meal prep this is a great recipe to add to your rotation. Stuffed zucchini keep well in the refrigerator for several days and are easy to warm up for easy lunches and dinners.
If you’re craving Italian flavors but want to skip the heavy pasta, these easy sausage stuffed zucchini boats are the answer!
- Whole zucchini – Pick medium-sized ones.
- Olive oil – Could use butter or vegetable oil for this.
- Italian sausage – I like to use mild, but you can use hot Italian sausage if you want some spice. You could also sub Italian turkey sausage if you want something leaner.
- Finely diced onion – Grab frozen diced onion to keep on hand. No chopping onion and crying!
- Minced garlic
- Dried Italian seasoning
- Marinara sauce – pick your favorite jarred sauce to make it easy!
- Shredded mozzarella cheese – You can also use shredded provolone.
- Chopped fresh parsley – Another option is chopped fresh basil or a combo of both.
How to Make the Filling
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and break it up as it cooks.
When the sausage is cooked through, add the onion and cook it until it is translucent and soft. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning stir to combine.
Once the herbs and garlic are fragrant (after about 30 seconds or so) add the marinara and bring the mixture to a simmer.
How to Stuff Zucchini Boats
Trim off the ends of the zucchini and slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop the flesh out of the zucchini with a spoon. Another trick is to use a melon baller to scoop out the flesh!
Spoon the filling into the zucchini boats and top each with some shredded cheese. Place them on the prepared sheet pan.
Bake them at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes. They are done when the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted.
Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top for serving.
Short on time? You can make the filling ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator. When it’s time for dinner just prep the zucchini, stuff them, and bake!
Love to Meal Prep? This is a great make-ahead meal. Prepare the boats as instructed and then let them cool. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days. Warm them up in the microwave for an easy lunch or dinner!
Variations: Swap the sausage for ground beef, pork, or turkey and increase the Italian seasoning to one teaspoon. You could also use shredded cooked chicken – just mix it with the sauce, add the seasonings, and then stuff the zucchini.
If you have a weekly Italian night like we do, you have to give Italian zucchini boats a try. The savory cheesy topped filling is so hearty you won’t miss the pasta! Give it a try – I think you will love it!
More Italian-Style Recipes
- Italian Salmon Orzo is an easy one-pot dinner with whole wheat orzo, delicious salmon, and a simple sauce flavored with herbs and Parmesan.
- Or try my Shrimp Rice Skillet, which is also light and delicious!
- Italian Meatloaf is loaded with flavor and stuffed with melted cheese. It’s the best dinner when you’re craving something comforting.
- You can’t go wrong with Spaghetti and Meatballs! This classic is always a family favorite.
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If you make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram @julieseatsandtreats or #julieseatsandtreats. That way I can see your amazing dish!!!
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage casings removed
- ½ c onion finely diced
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp dried Italian seasonings
- 1 ½ c. marinara sauce
- ¾ c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with edges with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
- Trim off the ends of the zucchini then cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop the flesh out of the zucchini with a spoon. Place zucchini halves on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan of medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 4-5 minutes, breaking up meat with a spatula.
- Add the onion and cook for an additional 4 minutes or until the onion is translucent and soft. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Pour marinara sauce into the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Spoon the meat mixture into the zucchini shells and top with shredded cheese.
- Place zucchini in a preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until zucchini is tender and cheese is melted and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.