Make these stuffed zucchini boats for an easy summer dinner! Lemon, thyme & Parmesan make the simple, delicious filling zesty, fresh & bright.
Zucchini season is upon us! For me, this time of year is always a race to enjoy summer squash in as many ways as possible. I bake it into cake, blend it into soup, toss it into pasta, layer it into lasagna, and eat it right off the grill. This year, I’m adding a new recipe to my usual rotation: stuffed zucchini! I first made these a few weeks ago for my family and even my little 2-year old nephew, who is going through a no-zucchini phase, gobbled his up.
These easy stuffed zucchini boats are a simple, fresh, and delicious showcase for peak-season summer squash. I don’t let any of the zucchini go to waste here, as I load up the zucchini shells with a bright, lemony filling that includes the scooped zucchini flesh. This recipe works best with medium-large zucchini (larger squash = more space for filling), so it’s one that you can continue to make as the season progresses and the squash get bigger. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini Recipe Ingredients
This stuffed zucchini recipe requires just a few every day ingredients and comes together in under 30 minutes. Here’s all you need:
- Zucchini, of course! I use it 2 ways, stuffing the shells with a zucchini-loaded filling.
- Egg binds the filling together.
- Coarse breadcrumbs create a delicious body for the filling – the top gets toasty, while the inside stays moist.
- Parmesan adds melty, cheesy texture and umami flavor.
- Garlic punches it up.
- Cherry tomatoes dot the filling with sweet, juicy bites.
- Pine nuts add crunch and richness.
- Lemon zest and thyme give it a bright, fresh finish.
That’s it! Let’s cook.
How to Make Stuffed Zucchini
- Cut the zucchini! Halve them lengthwise and hollow out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick rim around each half.
- Make the filling. Chop any large pieces of scooped flesh and transfer it all to a kitchen strainer. Press out any excess moisture, and then add the zucchini flesh to a bowl with the egg, breadcrumbs, cherry tomatoes, thyme, lemon zest, Parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, and salt. Mix until everything’s well combined.
- Load up the zucchini. Drizzle the zucchini shells with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spoon in the filling.
- Bake! Transfer the stuffed squash to a 475-degree oven and bake until the filling is set & nicely golden brown, 16-18 minutes.
Stuffed Zucchini Recipe Tips
We made this stuffed zucchini recipe (originally inspired by the stuffed zucchini in the Ottolenghi Simple cookbook) a few times this summer. Following these tips yielded the best results every time:
- Squeeze out as much water as you can from the zucchini flesh before stirring it into the filling. You don’t want it to be watery! Chop any bigger zucchini chunks into small pieces before adding them to the seedy, pulpy innards and pressing them over a kitchen strainer.
- Don’t scoop too much. Make sure you leave a sturdy border of zucchini flesh to support the yummy filling. If you scoop too much, your stuffed zucchini boats will be flimsy.
- Make your own breadcrumbs. Better bread = better bread crumbs, so find a good baguette or loaf of crusty bread for this recipe. Tear it into chunks and pulse them in a food processor to create coarse crumbs for the filling. Enjoy the remaining bread on the side!
- Top them with pesto. These stuffed zucchini boats are great on their own, but a drizzle of pesto really takes them over the top. Make your own or use store-bought pesto in a pinch.
What to Serve with Stuffed Zucchini Boats
We like these stuffed zucchini boats as a main or side dish. If you make this recipe with 3 medium zucchini, it serves 6 as a side, if you make it with 2 large zucchini, it serves 4 as a main course along with a side dish. They’d be delicious served with refreshing gazpacho or watermelon gazpacho, this easy summer pasta salad, pesto pasta, or any of these yummy summer salads:
- Best Broccoli Salad
- Rainbow Orzo Salad
- Grilled Corn Salad
- Fennel & Peach Salad with Mint & Pesto
- Eggplant Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
- Strawberry Salad with Avocado
- Or click here for more summer salad ideas!
If you love this stuffed zucchini recipe…
- 2 large or 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup torn crusty bread, crumbled
- ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Pesto, for serving
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 475°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a small spoon to hollow out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a little more than ¼-inch thickness around the edges. Place them cut side-up on the baking sheet.
- Make the filling. Place the scooped-out zucchini flesh into a mesh strainer and gently press out any excess water. You should be left with 1 cup flesh. Chop any coarse pieces and transfer to a medium bowl with the egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, tomatoes, lemon zest, thyme, pine nuts, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix until combined, using your hands if necessary.
- Drizzle the hollowed-out zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon in the filling and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until the filling is set and is golden brown and crisp on top.
- Serve with pesto.
Inspired by the stuffed zucchini recipe in Ottolenghi Simple.