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.


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!

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Stuffed Zucchini

rate this recipe:
5 from 47 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
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.



  • 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 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.


5 from 47 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. April

    5 stars
    Great recipe – definite WINNER!
    Easy to make – did not require a lot of prep time. My husband who is not a zucchini lover loved it! Will definitely make it again…..

    • Phoebe Moore

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  2. Cee

    5 stars
    So quick, so easy so good – even with boxed bread crumbs and a mishmash of cheese scraps. The thyme and lemon zest take it over the top

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  3. Maxwell Gregory

    5 stars
    I love stuffed zucchini & this was a great recipe. Easy, tasty & I was also to make part vegan with Just Egg & Violife Parmesan

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it with those vegan modifications – thank you for sharing!

  4. Sylvia Brayton

    5 stars
    Made these tonight as a main dish for family. They LOVED it. I loved the recipe because it was easy and fast. Thinking of trying with shrimp or crab meat the next time. Thanks for a great base recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  5. Jeanne W

    5 stars
    These were yummy with some gazpacho. As I’ll be making them for a friend who doesn’t eat bread I sprinkled 1 1/2Tbs of ground flaxseed into the filling, figuring it would absorb some excess liquid. (It’s not as pretty as with bread crumbs.) I used some excess filling in mushrooms (with the stems chopped in.) That was great, but nothing can top your stuffed mushrooms with sun-dried tomates.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  6. Linda S

    5 stars
    These were scrumptious. I wouldn’t change one thing about the recipe. If I’d eaten these at an upscale vegetarian restaurant, I’d have been very satisfied. I’ll make this again many times.

  7. Sam B

    5 stars
    This recipe was a delicious way to use my garden herbs and veggies! I only have lemon thyme in my garden, but it worked really nicely in this recipe. Thanks for another great recipe, Love & Lemons!

  8. Leslie

    5 stars
    Made this last night with the cold cucumber gazpacho and grilled salmon. The boats were a huge hit! Asked to make again & bring to a dinner party tonight! fresh & summery!

  9. Joanne Bender

    5 stars
    We really enjoyed this recipe as a way of using up garden zucchini. The lemon zest added a wonderful flavor to the filling. The zucchini I used didn’t have much flesh for filling, so I supplemented with corn, which worked well, but I’d like to try again with a fleshier zucchini.
    I also used seasoned roasted cherry tomatoes.
    Will definitely make recipe again.

  10. Noelle

    Hi, I made this and it was delicious! however, I’m pretty sure 475 is too high of a temp to use parchment paper so I used tinfoil!

  11. Esther

    5 stars
    Love all your recipes. Where can I get the nutrition value of the meal. I’ve looked but can not find.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m sorry, we don’t calculate nutritional info, but you can plug the ingredients into a site like my fitness pal.

  12. Mike

    5 stars
    This recipe was a hit with my kids! We added some goat cheese on top of a few to try it out too. D
    Highly recommended!

  13. Renee

    5 stars
    What a winning recipe! Super flavorful! I cut the zucchinis into thirds and served them as an appetizer.

  14. Debora

    Can this be prepared then frozen to be cooked

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Debora, I haven’t tried so I’m not sure. The zucchini might get watery once frozen and thawed.

  15. Mk

    5 stars
    Delicious, light and refreshing.

    Since the recommendation for topping with pesto was included I subbed the pine nuts and garlic for that in the recipe. It worked great.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved the zucchini!

  16. Judith

    5 stars
    I just made these and they were absolutely delicious. I used some gluten free sourdough for the bread crumbs, increased the garlic, and used pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts. I especially liked the flavor from the lemon zest. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Judith, I’m glad you loved them!

  17. Cori

    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.

  18. Sabrina from

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

  19. Hayley

    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

      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

        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!

        • Gwen

          I use the juice from canned garbanzo beans as a binder in recipes. ,Instead of eggs. It works great I’ve never tried any other beans juice as a binder. With this recipe If probably just use 2 to 3 tablespoons.

      • Melissa

        Can you make on the grill? If so, how long do you recommend? Thanks!

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          Hi Melissa, I haven’t tried it on the grill, but I think the filling really needs to bake in the oven to set.

    • Sue Neeper

      I use plain yogurt in the place of the egg, because I’m allergic to eggs.

  20. Tisleen

    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

      Hi Tisleen, I think chopped walnuts would be wonderful!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
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.