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Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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These Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are filled with Italian sausage, onion, bell pepper, and tomato sauce then topped with melty mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with some Parmesan before serving for an easy and flavorful low carb meal!

My favorite side dishes to serve are Sautéed Zucchini and Carrots, or Fried Zucchini depending on the meal, so now I am looking for more delicious ways to serve zucchini as a main dish as well.

Check out Zucchini and Squash Recipes for more delicious recipes, and to learn about the different types of squash!

Four sausage stuffed zucchini boats topped with melted mozzarella cheese on a platter.

So far that has included lots of zucchini noodles: Cod and Zucchini Noodles, Zucchini Carbonara, and Zucchini Shrimp Scampi. Don’t get me wrong, those meal are delicious but these Italian stuffed sausage zucchini boats take the prize for a hearty meal that the whole family loves!

Ingredients needed

Ingredients to make Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats.
  • Fresh zucchini that is firm, without any soft spots is needed to hold our Italian sausage filling inside the boats. I used four zucchinis that were on the large size, you may need to adjust your amount depending on the size that you are able to find.
  • I chose mild Italian sausage, but you could substitute spicy, turkey, or even chicken sausage if you prefer.
  • Diced yellow onion, minced garlic, orange and red bell peppers give the filling it’s texture and flavor.
  • I love using pizza sauce but any red, tomato based sauce will work; marinara, pasta, etc.
  • Top them off with mozzarella cheese baked to golden, melty perfection and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below

Looking down on four sausage stuffed zucchini boats topped with melted mozzarella cheese on a platter.

How to make Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Trim the ends off of the zucchini, then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds and flesh out of the center with a spoon leaving about .25 to 0.5-inch around the edges.

Two zucchini halves with the center scooped out sitting on a cutting board.

Place the zucchini halves on the prepared baking sheet.

Eight scooped out zucchini shells on a foil lined baking sheet.

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the diced onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes to soften.

Diced onion and olive oil in a skillet.

Add the minced garlic and cook for one minute, then add the sausage. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, breaking apart the meat as it cooks.

Ground Italian sausage and diced onion in a skillet.

Add the diced bell peppers and cook for an additional 4 minutes, until vegetables are soft.

Diced red and orange pepper, onion and ground Italian sausage in a skillet.

Stir in the sauce and Italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook just until the sauce is heated through.

Italian seasoning, pizza sauce, cooked sausage, peppers and onion in a skillet.

Spoon the filling mixture into the partially cooked zucchini halves.

Eight zucchini halves filled with Italian sausage mixture on a foil lined baking sheet.

Top with the grated mozzarella cheese and place back in the oven.

Eight stuffed zucchini boats topped with grated mozzarella cheese on a foil lined baking sheet.

Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley. Serve immediately with additional sauce on the side.

Four sausage stuffed zucchini boats topped with melted mozzarella cheese on a platter.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • You can use mild or hot Italian sausage, pork, chicken, or turkey sausage in this recipe.
  • I used Rao’s Pizza Sauce, but your favorite marinara sauce will work as well.
  • Mozzarella and parmesan seemed like the obvious choice for cheese, but provolone, Romano, or fontina are delicious as well.

Do you eat the skin of the zucchini boats?

Yes you do. Zucchini skin is soft and thin, just clean well before slicing and you will not even notice it once it is cooked. As with most vegetables, the nutrients are in the skin.

Zucchini contains folate, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C while being low in calories.

Have leftovers?

Allow the zucchini boats to cool completely then store in an airtight container inside the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees or use the reheat setting on your air fryer.

Tools used to create this recipe

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Enjoy!!

Four sausage stuffed zucchini boats topped with melted mozzarella cheese on a platter.

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are filled with Italian sausage, onion, bell pepper, and tomato sauce then topped with melty mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with some Parmesan before serving for an easy and flavorful low carb meal!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian sausage zucchini
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 640kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Equipment

  • Skillet

Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • .75 cup yellow onion diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 0.5 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 0.5 cup orange bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup pizza sauce plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • .25 cup grated parmesan
  • chopped Italian parsley optional garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  • Trim the ends off of the zucchini, then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds and flesh out of the center with a spoon leaving about .25 to 0.5-inch around the edges.
  • Place the zucchini halves on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the diced onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes to soften.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for one minute, then add the sausage. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, breaking apart the meat as it cooks. Add the diced bell peppers and cook for an additional 4 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
  • Stir in the sauce and Italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook just until the sauce is heated through.
  • Spoon the filling mixture into the partially cooked zucchini halves. Top with the grated mozzarella cheese and place back in the oven. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted and golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley. Serve immediately with additional sauce on the side.

Notes

  • You can use mild or hot Italian sausage, pork, chicken, or turkey sausage in this recipe.
  • Use any color of bell pepper that you like. The red and orange are sweeter than the green, which is what I prefer.
  • I used Rao’s Pizza Sauce, but your favorite marinara sauce will work as well.
  • Mozzarella and parmesan seemed like the obvious choice for cheese, but provolone, Romano, or fontina are delicious as well.
Have leftovers?
  • Allow the zucchini boats to cool completely then store in an airtight container inside the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees or use the reheat setting on your air fryer.

Nutrition

Calories: 640kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 1423mg | Potassium: 1157mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2089IU | Vitamin C: 92mg | Calcium: 289mg | Iron: 4mg

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