Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Make these stuffed zucchini boats for an easy summer dinner! Lemon, thyme & Parmesan make the simple, delicious filling zesty, fresh & bright.

Stuffed zucchini

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!

Stuffed zucchini boats ingredients

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.

Stuffed zucchini recipe ingredients

How to Make Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed vegetables may seem fussy, but they’re deceptively simple. As with my stuffed bell peppers and stuffed poblanos, these come together in just a few steps. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Cut the zucchini! Halve them lengthwise and hollow out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick rim around each half.
  2. 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.
  3. Load up the zucchini. Drizzle the zucchini shells with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spoon in the filling.
  4. Bake! Transfer the stuffed squash to a 475-degree oven and bake until the filling is set & nicely golden brown, 16-18 minutes.

Enjoy!

Stuffed zucchini recipe filling

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.

Stuffed zucchini boats recipe

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 saladpesto pasta, or any of these yummy summer salads:

Stuffed zucchini boats

If you love this stuffed zucchini recipe…

Try my baked zucchini, zucchini bread, zucchini pizza, zucchini pasta, or zucchini panzanella next!

For more easy dinner ideas, check out this post!


Stuffed Zucchini

 
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We love to make these stuffed zucchini boats for an easy summer dinner! With medium zucchini, the recipe serves 6 as a side dish. With large zucchini, it serves 4 as a main course.
Author:
Recipe type: Main dish or side dish
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Serve with pesto.

Inspired by the stuffed zucchini recipe in Ottolenghi Simple.

8 comments

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  1. Tisleen
    07.22.2019

    Looks great! If I don’t have pine nuts on hand – can I use any other smaller nuts or any recommendations for a substitute?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.22.2019

      Hi Tisleen, I think chopped walnuts would be wonderful!

  2. Hayley
    07.22.2019

    I try to follow a more vegan diet. If I omitted the egg would it cause an issue? It’s more there for binding you said so possibly just adding a couple tablespoons almond milk may make up for it is what I was thinking.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.22.2019

      Hi Haley, I haven’t tried it without egg so I’m not sure if it would just be too goopey or watery. There’s also cheese in here, and since there are so few ingredients, I’m not sure replacing them 1:1 would work. But I do love to make stuffed zucchini, so I’ll keep you posted if I create a vegan version this summer!

      • Hayley
        07.22.2019

        Thanks for responding. I think I will go ahead and try it anyways without the egg and see what I think. I have a good vegan Parmesan cheese replacement which had worked well in similar dishes before. Will update after I make it!

  3. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    07.22.2019

    nice dish, whether as a side dish or with larger zucchini as a main course, pesto is a great addition!

  4. Cori
    07.23.2019

    Wonderful recipe, it was a big hit. I just bought your new cookbook, it is fantastic. The recipes I make during the big heat way were awesome.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.