Zucchini Boats

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This Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe features zucchini stuffed with seasoned ground beef, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Ready in under an hour, these zucchini boats make an easy weeknight dinner!

Three stuffed zucchini boats on a plate

Easy Zucchini Boats Recipe

These stuffed zucchini boats are such a low-fuss weeknight dinner. I’m a huge fan of these in the summer months when zucchini is everywhere but they’re so tasty that the family requests them year-round!

Fresh zucchini are carved out then filled with a mixture of ground beef and marinara sauce, then topped with mozzarella cheese and baked to perfection. Simple yet super tasty!

One thing I love about stuffed zucchini boats is how easy they are to customize. I’ve shared my buffalo chicken zucchini boats in the past but you can easily take this zucchini boats recipe and customize the filling as desired too.

Five stuffed zucchini boats on a plate

Why You’ll Love These Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Here are a few reasons why we love these stuffed zucchini boats.

  • Easy weeknight dinner. You can have these zucchini boats with ground beef on the table in less than an hour, making them perfect for those busy weeknights.
  • Great way to use up zucchini. If you find yourself with an overflow of garden fresh zucchini in the summer, these stuffed zucchini boats are an excellent way to use several in one meal.
  • Super tasty filling. Though zucchini itself doesn’t have tons of flavor, the filling does! Ground beef is combined with just the right amount of seasonings, plus marinara sauce and cheese. Yum!
Stuffed zucchini boat ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

These stuffed zucchini boats are filled with ground beef, marinara sauce, and lots of cheese. See the recipe card below for measurements.

  • Ground beef – I used 80/20 lean ground beef.
  • Onion & garlic – Add flavor to the meat mixture.
  • Zucchini – You’ll want medium zucchini for this recipe – big enough to carve and stuff but not super huge. Also try to use zucchini that are roughly the same size, so they finish cooking at the same time.
  • Tomato – I used a roma tomato.
  • Marinara sauce – You can grab a jar at the store or use homemade marinara sauce.
  • Seasonings – Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Mozzarella – You could also use a shredded Italian cheese blend.

How to Make Zucchini Boats

Here’s an overview of how to make zucchini boats. Scroll down to the recipe card below for detailed instructions.

  • Cook the beef. Brown the beef in a pan. Drain and set aside.
  • Prepare the zucchini. While the beef is browning, cut the ends off the zucchini and cut in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the center of the zucchini, creating a “boat”. Chop the zucchini you scooped out into small pieces.
  • Prepare the filling. Saute the onion for 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Once fragrant, return the beef to the pan then add the tomatoes, marinara, chopped zucchini, and seasonings. Stir and remove from heat.
  • Assemble. Place the zucchini boats on a sheet pan. Spoon the meat mixture into the center. Top with mozzarella.
  • Bake. Bake for 25 minutes, until the zucchini is tender. Enjoy!
Stuffed zucchini boats on a baking sheet

Tips & Variations

Here are a few tips for preparing stuffed zucchini boats, as well as ways to customize them,

  • Don’t carve too much out. You want to create a decent size “boat” in the center but you don’t want to scrape all the way to the skin on the bottom or the sides. If you scoop too much, the zucchini can become flimsy.
  • Avoid overbaking. The exact time these zucchini need to bake will depend on the size of the zucchini and how much you scooped out. 25 minutes is a good guideline for medium zucchini. You want the zucchini tender but not mushy.
  • Customize the filling. Feel free to use ground turkey or sausage in place of the beef and adjust the seasonings. You could even skip the marinara sauce and use taco seasoning instead for taco-inspired stuffed zucchini!
  • Does this recipe work with other squash? Yup! You can use yellow summer squash or even eggplant in place of the zucchini. The cooking time may vary.
A zucchini boat cut in half on a plate

Serving Suggestions

The wonderful thing about these stuffed zucchini boats with ground beef is that you really have everything you need for a filling meal in one dish.

You could keep things simple and serve these with just a slice of crusty bread or you can add other sides like a side salad or roasted potatoes.

Overhead view of zucchini boats with ground beef on a serving tray

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Fridge. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheat. The best way to reheat zucchini boats is in the oven. You may want to cover them with foil to prevent the cheese from burning. You can also reheat them in the microwave but the squash may be a bit mushy.

Can You Freeze Zucchini Boats?

I do not recommend freezing stuffed zucchini boats. Zucchini naturally has a lot of moisture and when you freeze then thaw it, it typically becomes quite mushy. These are best enjoyed right after preparing them!

More Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini Boats feature
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Zucchini Boats

This Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe features zucchini stuffed with seasoned ground beef, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Ready in under an hour, these zucchini boats make an easy weeknight dinner!
Servings: 8 halves
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 medium onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 4 medium zucchini washed and dried
  • 1 roma tomato diced
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup mozzarella shredded


  • Cook ground beef over medium until browned. Drain beef and set aside.
  • While beef cooks, prepare the zucchini. Cut the ends off zucchini and cut in half. Use a small spoon and scoop out the zucchinis creating a boat. Chop the zucchini that is scooped out into small pieces.
  • Add onion to the pan after draining beef and saute 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant; about 30 seconds.
  • To pan, add ground beef back to the pan and then the tomatoes, marinara, chopped zucchini, Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Set zucchini boats onto a sheet pan and spoon meat mixture into the boats. Top with mozzarella and bake for 25 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Serve immediately.

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Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 465mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 493IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 1mg


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1 thought on “Zucchini Boats”

  1. Super yummy and healthy! I see this as a dinner, appetizer (cut up) and even making it with other squash or mushrooms. It’s like having lasagna without all the extra work of calories! Thank you for this recipe!!