These Stuffed Zucchini are filled with Italian sausage and a flavorful tomato-couscous mixture, then topped with cheese and baked until tender. Easy, hearty, and filling! Serve as a side or complete meal for the entire family.
For a low carb, keto meal, try our Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Boats!
I’m willing to bet a lot of you have an abundance of summer squash from your CSA coming, if not already. Or your own garden is about to explode with some. So before it goes bad in your crisper drawer, use it up with this fantastic Stuffed Zucchini recipe.
Why We Love It
- Easy and uncomplicated
- No need to peel the zucchini skin
- Humble ingredients, but impressive in presentation and taste
- Light, but satisfying
- Delicious Italian flavors
- Serve as a side or main meal
Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
Ingredients you need for this Zucchini Boat Recipe:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Zucchini: If you’re lucky enough to have your own garden filled with zucchini, definitely use that! If not, zucchini from your local market is absolutely fine. Use zucchini that is all similar in size, which ensures they’ll cook the same. You’ll be hollowing out the squash to make a “shell” and using the insides as part of the filling, so nothing is wasted!
- Italian Sausage: Seasoned Italian sausage lends so much flavor to this dish and also makes it more filling. (For a vegetarian dish, simply omit this and sauté some chopped up mushrooms and bell pepper with the zucchini insides.)
- Couscous: This tiny little pasta has a nutty, sweet flavor and pairs perfectly with roasted vegetables.
- Chicken stock: Instead of water to cook the couscous, we use low-sodium chicken stock, which adds more flavor.
- Garlic: For aromatics and flavor.
- Diced tomatoes: Petite canned diced tomatoes, undrained. The juices add more flavor and will keep the filling moist.
- Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses: Two different types of cheese for double the flavor. Buy fresh and grate it yourself, if you’re willing. The added flavor is so worth it!
- Olive oil: Used to sauté the sausage and chopped up zucchini innards.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, fresh parsley and basil.
Recipe Variations for Zucchini Boats
Zucchini has a mild flavor, which lends itself to pair with so many other ingredients. Here are just a few other ideas.
- For bacon lovers: Swap out sausage for some cooked, crumbled bacon or use both.
- Vegetarian: For a vegetarian dish, simply omit the sausage and sauté some chopped up mushrooms and bell pepper with the reserved zucchini insides.
- Taco: Use your favorite taco fixin’s for the filling.
How Do You Hollow Out Zucchini?
For stuffed zucchini boats, you’ll cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and then remove the seeds and center flesh of the vegetable to make room for the filling. Depending on the size of the zucchini, you might find a lot of seeds or very few.
- Gently scrape: The easiest way is to gently scrape using the tip of a small spoon or a melon baller. First remove the seeds and discard them, then scoop out the center flash, which gets chopped up and used in the filling mixture.
- Don’t remove too much of the insides: You want to remove enough flesh so the squash can cook properly, but not so much that the zucchini frame is too thin and weak to hold the filling.
How to Store Stuffed Zucchini
Sadly, stuffed zucchini doesn’t freeze well. Contrary to what some say, they really don’t. As it thaws, the zucchini becomes watery and mushy and not really edible. But there’s still hope with the leftovers!
- To store leftovers: Once cooled, if you have any leftover, these Italian Stuffed Zucchini can be stored in the refrigerator, in a tightly sealed container, for up to 3 days. (Any longer than that and the cheese gets sort of slimy.) You can store them individually in meal prep containers or several together in a casserole dish.
- To reheat: pop the casserole dish in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese is melted again and boats are warmed throughout.
How to Make Stuffed Zucchini
With a combination of flavorful Italian sausage, nutty couscous, juicy tomatoes, and vegetables throughout, these stuffed zucchini boats are a great complete meal in one. To make them, follow the steps below included in the printable recipe card. Make sure to refer back to the article for more information and possible variations.
Video: How to Make Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Other Zucchini Recipes
There’s so much you can do with squash! Here are some of our other favorite zucchini recipes:
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fries
- Sauteed Zucchini and Corn
- Zucchini Lasagna Rolls
- Mini Chocolate Zucchini Cakes
- Zucchini Corn Fritters
- Zucchini Bread (of course!)
- Ratatouille (<< seriously make this if you haven’t yet. It’s amazing!)
Stuffed Zucchini with Sausage
- 6 medium to large zucchini
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 3/4 cup plain couscous
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 15 ounce can petite cut diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano (undrained)
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves , finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Freshly grated Parmesan , for serving
- Freshly chopped basil , for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Using the tip of a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Then scrape out the flesh and finely chop it up; set aside. (You want to remove enough flesh so the squash can cook properly, but not so much that the zucchini frame is too thin and weak to hold the filling.)
- Place zucchini shells in the baking dish, cut side up. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a small saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- In the meantime, in a medium sauté pan, warm olive oil over medium-high. Add in the sausage and reserved chopped zucchini; cook, breaking up the sausage into small crumbles with a wooden spoon. Cook until zucchini is soft and the sausage is cooked through and no longer pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drain off any grease.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl, along with the cooked couscous, tomatoes (with their juice), and parsley.
- Divide mixture among the zucchini shells (it's ok if some spills over into the dish.) Sprinkle with the mozzarella.
- Bake until squash is tender and cheese is golden, about 25 minutes.
- Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil before serving.