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Zucchini Boats

Easy, loaded Zucchini Boats start with hollowed-out zucchini and are filled with a flavor-packed marinara and sausage filling. Zucchini Boats are topped with melty Cheddar cheese and baked to tender perfection.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Zucchini Boats
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 584kcal
Author Chelsea Lords


  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely diced yellow onion ~1 large onion or 2 small ones
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic ~3-4 cloves
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) mild (or hot) Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon of each)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups good-quality marinara sauce (We're obsessed with Raos Marinara in this recipe!)
  • 4 small to medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 and 1/3 cups freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, optional


  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • ZUCCHINIS: Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to carefully scoop the flesh out of the zucchini, leaving a good border along the edges of the zucchini. Place the zucchini halves in the prepared baking dish (See Note 1) and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the zucchinis. Rub the oil into the zucchini and add a small sprinkle of salt and pepper (the filling is salted, so just a pinch here!). Bake for 5 minutes and remove.
  • SAUSAGE MIXTURE: Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion and cook, 3-5 minutes or until onion is beginning to become translucent. Add in the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Move onion and garlic to edges and add sausage to the middle of the pan. Cook and stir, breaking up with a wooden spoon into small crumbles, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Drain off any grease if needed.
  • SAUSAGE MIXTURE CONT.: Add all the seasonings (oregano, thyme, Italian seasoning, beef bouillon powder, and salt and pepper to taste), tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir, cooking over medium heat, for 1 minute or until very fragrant. Add in the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • FILL ZUCCHINI SHELLS: Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the zucchini shells, it should fill 8 medium-sized zucchini halves. Add the freshly grated cheese evenly on top.
  • BAKE: Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until zucchini is crisp tender (it should still have a bite too it, not be mushy!) and cheese is melted. If desired, add fresh parsley and serve immediately.


Note 1: If all the zucchini won't fit into one pan, no worries! Either fit zucchini along the sides of the pan or use another pan such as an 8x8 or 9x9 pan to hold the overflow.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 584kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.3g | Protein: 25.7g | Cholesterol: 112.7mg | Sodium: 1551mg | Fiber: 3.7g | Sugar: 10.2g