Stuffed Zucchini Boats: Tasty and Healthy

I have been feasting guilt-free on zucchini boats this summer, so I wanted to share my recipes with you. The tomato-based one stuffed with diced meat has only about 200 calories. Yet I always feel full and satisfied because the flavors are so amazing.

These recipes are also a sneak peek at an episode I’ll be filming next week for The Sporting Chef.

three venison stuffed zucchini boats on white cloth on wooden cuttin board with a jar of pickles and Tabasco sauce in background
Zucchini with meat stuffing is a hearty, delicious way to use up your garden squash.

Stuffed zucchini is one of the most flexible dishes on earth. In fact, just about any kind of squash or bell peppers will work with these recipes. Also check out my squash boats and roasted bell peppers stuffed with sausage and cheddar.

A Great Way to Use Up Garden Zucchini

Do you have zucchini coming out your ears like we do? Are you looking for a delicious and healthy way to enjoy your garden’s bounty? Or maybe you’re just looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Look no further! 

basket of fresh vegetables from garden

You can swap out protein and other ingredients to turn a zucchini boat into a completely different dish. The mild squash enhances the flavor of your choice. Zucchini-based dishes are also lower in calories than pasta.

Really, one of the best things about these recipes is the endless variety of fillings you can use. Whether you prefer cheese and veggie, meat-based, or even seafood fillings, there’s a zucchini boat recipe to suit your taste. For a light vegetarian stuffed zucchini as a side dish, try filling your zucchini boats with a mixture of sautéed onions, red bell peppers, mushrooms, and fresh herbs. Herbs to use include fresh parsley, fresh basil, and oregano. Add marinara sauce or other tomato sauce and prinkle on some parmesan or mozzarella cheese for an extra burst of flavor. 

Zucchini Recipes for Meat Lovers

If you’re a meat lover, stuffed zucchini boats can be a hearty and satisfying meal. Try your zucchini boats with venison, ground beef, ground turkey, venison or turkey sausage, or shredded chicken. Mix in some diced tomatoes, garlic, and herbs to create a savory filling that will satisfy even the heartiest appetite. For a seafood twist, fill your zucchini boats with a mixture of shrimp, crab meat, or even flaked salmon. Add some lemon zest, dill, and a touch of mayonnaise to create a refreshing and light filling. 

closeup of venison stuffed zucchini boats on white cloth on cutting board with fork, knife, and jar of pickes

The possibilities are truly endless, so get creative and experiment with your favorite ingredients.

Tips for Making the Perfect Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Here are some tips to ensure your zucchini boats turn out perfectly every time.

  • First, choose zucchini that is firm and free from blemishes. The firmness will ensure that your boats hold their shape during the cooking process. 
  • When cutting the zucchini in half, try to make them as symmetrical as possible. This will ensure even cooking and a visually appealing final dish. 
  • When scooping out the flesh, be sure to leave a thin wall of zucchini intact to keep the boats sturdy. 
  • To prevent the filling from becoming too watery, salt the hollowed-out zucchini boats and let them sit for a few minutes. This will draw out excess moisture before adding the filling. 
  • Finally, adjust the baking time depending on your preference. If you like your zucchini to have a slight crunch, reduce the baking time. If you prefer a softer texture, increase the baking time.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making mouthwatering zucchini boats.

tomato and sausage stuffed zucchini on white plate sitting atop hardcover book

Stacy Lyn’s Venison Stuffed Zucchini Recipes

Like many of the recipes I prepare on Sporting Chef, these two zucchini boat recipes have a wild game focus. They use two kinds of deer meat fillings: Italian sausage and diced venison.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I use a mixture of ground venison and pork for this tomato-based recipe, but feel free to substitute the ground meat of your choice.

tomato and sausage stuffed zucchini on white plate sitting atop hardcover book

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ pounds ground venison
  • 1 ½ pounds ground pork
  • 1 pound of tomatoes fresh, canned, peeled, or chopped with their juices
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Cut the ends off and halve the zucchini zucchini horizontally. Remove the pulp from the zucchini. Place the zucchini halves on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  • In a stock pot, add olive and heat to medium-heat and saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, Italian seasonings, and red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute. Add the ground venison and pork and cook until completely browned. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the salt and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and thick.
  • Fill the cavity of each zucchini with the meat mixture. Cover the meat and zucchini with cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top off each stuffed zucchini. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the zucchini is easily pierced with a knife and the cheeses are browned. Allow the zucchini to cool for about 3 minutes and serve with a side of rice.
If you like this recipe, please give it a star rating to help other cooks find it!
Follow me on Instagram and tag #stacylynharris so I can see all the SLH recipes you make. ♥
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Zucchini Boats with Venison and Cheese Sauce

With venison and bacon, this hearty dish will satisfy the meat lovers at your house.

three venison stuffed zucchini boats on white cloth on wooden table with a jar of pickles and Tabasco sauce in background

Zucchini Boats with Venison and Cheese Sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • ½ pound bacon
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms chopped
  • 1 venison hindquarter roast diced
  • 4 ½ cups milk
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 ½ cups grated white cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups grated mild gouda ½ cup reserved for later
  • 4 medium zucchini halved and pulp removed
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sliced red and green jalapenos for garnish
  • ½ cup chopped parsley for garnish


  • Heat the oven to 400°F.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the bacon to the skillet and cook until done. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the onions and mushrooms. Saute until vegetables are translucent and soft. Remove to a medium bowl.
  • Add the venison to the skillet in batches and brown. Remove the browned venison to the bowl with the onions and mushrooms and combine.
  • In a Dutch oven or large pot, add milk, flour, and mustard. Bring to a boil and continuously mix. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low. Mix well. When heated thoroughly, turn off the heat and add the white cheddar cheese and 1 ½ cups of the gouda.
  • Add scoops of the cheese sauce to the meat mixture until you get the creaminess you desire. Use the rest of the cheese sauce for mac and cheese if you have any left.
  • Halve the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the zucchini flesh and discard. Spoon the venison mixture into the cavity of the zucchini halves. Top with the grated gouda and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. Place the zucchini in the oven in a baking dish for about 30 minutes or until the flesh of the zucchini is easily pierced when a knife is inserted.
  • Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce. In a small bowl, mix yogurt and the juice of 1 lemon.
  • Remove the zucchini from the oven and plate. Sprinkle jalapenos and parsley over the top of the zucchini. Drizzle the yogurt sauce over the top of the stuffed zucchini. Serve immediately.
If you like this recipe, please give it a star rating to help other cooks find it!
Follow me on Instagram and tag #stacylynharris so I can see all the SLH recipes you make. ♥
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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