Close view of stuffed zucchini on a long white serving platter garnished with chopped fresh basil.

Looking for a meal that is yummy, delicious, warm, and filling? These stuffed zucchini boats are perfect as a main dish served with any variety of sides, or they could stand alone as a perfect family lunch or dinner! Load your fresh zucchini up with ground beef, veggies, and marinara, and watch your friends and family devour them.

Close view of cheesy baked squash boats garnished with chopped fresh basil.

What is a zucchini boat?

You’re definitely not trying to sail the seven seas in a fresh summer squash, so what is a zucchini boat? A zucchini boat uses zucchini shells and loads them up with a meat filling that includes ground beef, cheese, veggies, and other goodies! It’s a great way to use up your extra zucchini in the summer before it goes bad too!

Stuffed zucchini boats are an ultra-flavorful, gluten-free recipe. Kids love that they’re called boats, and they only love them more once they taste them! It’s the perfect way to combine all the yummy goodness we love about summer vegetables in one recipe.

Protip: Use your favorite ground meat!

If you aren’t a big fan of ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken is a perfect alternative for your meat filling!

Top view of cheesy baked zucchini boats on a dark baking sheet.

What do I need to make these stuffed zucchini boats?

Ready to make this easy stuffed zucchini boat? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Zucchini
  • Ground beef
  • Yellow onion
  • Marinara sauce
  • Italian seasoning
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil

Protip: Swap smart!

If you’re in a pinch, yellow squash is also a great option instead of zucchini for this zucchini boat recipe!

How do I make this zucchini boat recipe?

We’re giving you the easy way (and the best way) to make this zucchini boat recipe. This recipe is simple, even if it’s your first time making it. You’ll love this great addition to any dinner table.

Collage of six steps to make stuffed zucchini boats. A text overlay reads, "How to Make Stuffed Zucchini Boats."
  1. Preheat the oven and grease or line a baking sheet. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, so you end up with two long pieces. Scoop out the zucchini pulp from each half using a melon baller or a small spoon. Set the empty zucchini boats on the baking sheet.
  2. Brown the ground beef in the oil in a large skillet.
  3. Add the onion to the skillet to soften for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except for the cheese, and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  5. Spoon the beef mixture into the zucchini boats and top with shredded cheese.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes and sprinkle with fresh basil as they cool, if using.

And now you’re ready to serve! These zucchini boats pair well with just about any of your favorite summer side dishes.

Protip: Any size squash will work!

We know that in the summer, you’re not promised one uniform zucchini size (especially if your zucchini are homegrown), but this recipe works with four large zucchini, six medium zucchini, or eight small zucchini!

What are the serving suggestions for stuffed zucchini boats?

Stuffed zucchini boats can be served beside any of your classic summer dishes, like:

Tight view of cheesy stuffed zucchini plated and garnished with chopped fresh basil.

A great addition to any summer meal

Stuffed zucchini boats aren’t just a fun way to use your fresh summer zucchini; they are also a delicious meal the whole family will love. It’s quick and easy to prepare and the perfect recipe for a weeknight family dinner. This dish is a great way to make your meal more interesting and ultra-flavorful.

Can stuffed zucchini boats be frozen in advance?

While our site has plenty of recipes for meal prepping and freezing, this recipe is not one of them. Freezing zucchini boats creates a little bit of a disaster. However, this recipe does create great, yummy leftovers. So, have it for dinner one night and enjoy it for lunch the next day!

Close view of stuffed squash on a baking sheet.

What kind of marinara sauce do I need to make these stuffed zucchini boats?

I used a high-quality, store-bought marinara sauce to make this recipe. However, you can also use homemade marinara as well! Especially if you have a favorite you already use for your recipes.

A delicious meal for everyone!

These easy stuffed zucchini boats are the perfect summer meal. Serve it at dinner or make it ahead for an easy lunch as a main course. This dish is welcome at any table, and you’re sure to enjoy it too!

Close view of stuffed zucchini on a long white serving platter garnished with chopped fresh basil.

Beef Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Beef-stuffed zucchini boats make for a quick, healthy, and delicious weeknight meal.


  • 6 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a baking sheet.
  2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, and scoop out the zucchini pulp, leaving the zucchini skins intact. Chop the zucchini pulp and set aside. Set the zucchini boats on the baking sheet.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium, and add the ground beef, crumbling as it cooks. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the ground beef is mostly browned.
  4. Add the onion and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and zucchini pulp. Simmer over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Spoon the mixture carefully into the zucchini boats, then top with the shredded cheese.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, then sprinkle with fresh basil and serve!


  • You can use 4 large zucchini, 6 medium zucchini, or 8 small zucchini for this recipe.
  • You could substitute yellow squash for the zucchini if needed.
  • Store-bought or homemade marinara works equally well in this recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 566Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 899mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 5gSugar: 11gProtein: 46g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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