Margherita Zucchini Boats

Margherita Zucchini Boats bring all the flavors of your favorite margherita pizza to the table in a healthy way. Pile a halved zucchini with fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and wait for the flavor explosion to happen. These are super easy to make and can be a side dish, an appetizer or even a meatless main meal.

Plated zucchini boats with ingredients

Zucchini has long been my go-to for healthier, lower carb recipes. I’ve used it in place of spaghetti in my Zucchini Carbonara, as a healthy addition to bran muffins and now as a tasty side dish. It’s the perfect summer dish especially if you have your own garden. I used tomatoes and basil from mine and the fresh flavors really made this side the star of the dinner table. 

Zucchini Health Benefits

Did you know that zucchini  was a member of the summer squash family? Yep, and it delivers loads of Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6 and potassium with smaller amounts of Vitamin A, magnesium, calcium and iron. All this for only 33 calories for the entire zucchini! Of course, now that I told you how low in calories this vegetable is, I am going to up the count by adding some delicious cheese but still keep it on the healthy side with the addition of tomatoes and fresh basil. If you close your eyes when taking a bite you might almost swear it was a margherita pizza! One with plenty of taste and a lot less calories!

Ingredients for margherita zucchini.

These zucchini boats are super versatile and can be loaded with just about anything you want. You can even turn them into a meaty main meal. Think pizza toppings like pepperoni or Italian sausage or, maybe go Mexican, and top with taco seasoned meat, cheese and salsa. Whatever way you decide to make it, the amount of ingredients is up to you and your family’s tastes. I like to use quite a bit of garlic and fresh basil when I prepare this dish. I also make it a little spicier by adding some red pepper flakes to the olive oil-garlic mixture. Check below for more variations.

Closeup of zucchini boats.

Variations

Zucchini boats can be stuffed with a variety of fillings. Try your favorite taco filling or your favorite Italian meat sauce with ground beef, ground turkey or sausage. But don’t stop there! You can make a low carb steak and cheese sandwich minus the bread or maybe opt for an Asian-inspired filling with soy sauce, peppers, cabbage and chicken.

Serve as an appetizer (a particular favorite with kids) by slicing the zucchini into small circles like a small pizza. Lay on a sprayed cookie sheet and layer with ingredients from recipe. The cooking time will be cut down to about 10 minutes prior to melting the cheese under the broiler. It’s like a bagel bite only healthier!

Frequently asked questions

Can I eat the skin on these zucchini boats?

Absolutely! The skin will bake up nice and tender and is completely edible. I would recommend purchasing an unwaxed organic variety of zucchini as the waxed versions tend to have a bitter taste.

Can I freeze leftovers?

I wouldn’t advise trying to freeze these. They tend to get very mushy and don’t reheat very well. If you happen to have leftovers, which I haven’t found to happen in my house, you can remove the stuffing and freeze it. When ready to add to your dinner, scoop out fresh zucchini and place thawed stuffing on top and place back in oven to reheat.

Directions

1st 2 steps in zucchini prep - scraping out zucchini and rubbing with oil.

  1. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and, using a teaspoon, scoop out seeds and just a little bit of the flesh so that it can hold the other ingredients. (photo 1)
  2. Place on prepared cookie sheet and spoon on olive oil mixed with garlic, salt and pepper. (photo 2)

Layer of tomatoes on top of oiled zucchini.

  1. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top of the garlic spread then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Pop in the oven to bake the zucchini and tomatoes. This will take about 30 minutes.

Lay mozzarella on cooked tomatoes.

  1. Remove from oven and place slices of mozzarella over tomatoes.

Sprinkle basil and parmesan cheese on top of mozzarella.

  1. Sprinkle with half of the chopped basil and half of the Parmesan cheese. If you like more Parmesan cheese or basil, feel free to add to your heart’s content. It’s all good! Then drizzle the remaining oil on top.  

Browned under the broiler.

  1. Place stuffed zucchini boats under boiler to melt and brown cheese. Now it’s ready to serve with a little extra sprinkle of  basil and Parmesan cheese on top.

Zucchini boats pllated on white plate with basil garnish and cheese grater to side.

These margherita zucchini boats are an easy and delicious side to serve with any grilled or baked chicken, pork chops or seafood. I like to add this tasty treat to my Italian Meatloaf, grilled salmon skewers and even my air fryer pork chops. Enjoy!

More Zucchini Recipes

Blue Cheese Zucchini Beef Burgers by 2CM – Shhh! No one needs to know that there are actually vegetables in their burgers. Yep, it’s a cookout gone healthy! 

Zucchini Ribbon Salad by What A Girl Eats –  ribbons of zucchini are flavored with lemon and mint then tossed with feta for a light, summery side salad.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread by 2CM – A quick bread that is easy to make, rich and full of delicious chocolate. And your kids will never know that it’s packed with veggies!

Baked Zucchini Bites by Curry Trail – a  healthy side dish or snack that’s crunchy on the outside,  soft and delicious on the inside, and absolutely perfect for zucchini season.

Love quick & easy recipes? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter for all the latest recipe inspiration! Plus join my email list here and receive a free e-book.

 

Zucchini boats on white plate with green plaid towel on side.

Margherita Zucchini Boats

Margherita Zucchini Boats taste like your favorite pizza, only healthy! Zucchini topped with tomatoes, basil & cheese make an easy side or meatless meal.
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 234kcal
Author: Linda Warren

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini halved
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons minced garlic or to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons Panko or breadcrumbs you can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 lb. fresh mozzarella sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or spray with non-stick spray.
  • Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and, using a teaspoon, scoop out seeds and just a little bit of the flesh so that it can hold the other ingredients.
  • Place on prepared cookie sheet. If you need to, cut a little off the bottom of each zucchini half so that it sits flat.
  • In a small bowl, mix 1-1/2 Tablespoons olive oil and minced garlic together. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Brush over the top of each zucchini.
  • Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top of the garlic spread then sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and place slices of mozzarella over tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with half of the chopped basil and half of the Parmesan cheese.
  • Drizzle remaining olive oil over the top and place under broiler until cheese has melted and browned.
  • To serve, top with remaining basil and Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Variations
Zucchini boats can be stuffed with a variety of fillings. Try your favorite taco filling or your favorite Italian meat sauce with ground beef, ground turkey or sausage. But don't stop there! You can make a low carb steak and cheese sandwich minus the bread or maybe opt for an Asian-inspired filling with soy sauce, peppers, cabbage and chicken.
Serve as an appetizer (a particular favorite with kids) by slicing the zucchini into small circles like a small pizza. Lay on a sprayed cookie sheet and layer with ingredients from recipe. The cooking time will be cut down to about 10 minutes prior to melting the cheese under the broiler. It's like a bagel bite only healthier!

Nutrition

Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 368mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 818IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 266mg | Iron: 1mg

This post has been updated with step-by-step directions and new photos. It was first published on June 24, 2013.

Margherita Zucchini Boats
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