Weeknight dinner does not get easier than chicken stuffed zucchini boats with spices, marinara sauce, and cheese. These are so tender, saucy, and good. Made with less than 10 ingredients too!
Try them with our Chopped Autumn with Honey Apple Cider Dressing for a fall-inspired meal.
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Making the Best Chicken Stuffed Zucchini
What makes these zucchini boats the best? They’re made with simple steps, less than 1o-ingredients, and you can make them year-round. It’s a classic dish that never goes out of style.
There are many ways to make it and customize to your liking. But we like to keep it super simple by stuffing the zucchini with ground chicken, spices, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
The result is a tender, saucy, and satisfying meal that is guaranteed to become a weekly staple.
Ingredients You Will Need:
Here are the ingredients you will need to make the chicken stuffed zucchini boats:
- Zucchini: Medium zucchini work the best for this recipe. They’re big enough to stuff but small enough to fit several boats on one sheet tray.
- Ground chicken: Ground turkey can be used instead.
- Spices: Italian seasoning and red chili flakes make up the spice mixture.
- Onion: I like using yellow onion but white onion would work here too.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is the way to go.
- Marinara sauce: Good quality marinara sauce is the key. I love Rao’s brand. It tastes 100% homemade.
- Mozzarella cheese: Monterey jack could be used in place of mozzarella.
- Olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh black pepper.
Preparing Zucchini for Zucchini Boats
Wash and dry your zucchini. Halve each one lengthwise, keeping the ends and skin on. Next, using a small spoon, carefully scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving 1/4-inch rim on all sides to create boats.
Place the zucchini cut side-up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the hollowed-out side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 minutes in a 400 F oven.
Making the Chicken Filling
The key to this filling is using a large non-stick skillet so the meat is not crowded. You want the chicken to quickly brown and not steam out.
You’ll start by browning the chicken with spices. Stir in the onion and garlic. Season the mixture thoroughly with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are soft. Pour in the marinara sauce and cook until heated through and slightly thickened.
You’re looking for semi chunky sauce consistency. You want any liquid from the chicken and veggies to steam out and only sauce remaining.
Stuffing the Zucchini Boats
Divide the chicken filling evenly between the zucchini boats. Be generous. You should be able to use up all of the filling between the 8 zucchini halves. Top with mozzarella cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and zucchini is tender, about 10-15 minutes. If desired, broil for a few minutes until golden brown.
Few Notes & Tips
Stuffed zucchini boats are quite simple to prepare. There are just a few tips and notes to remember:
- Leave a sturdy border. Make sure not to scoop too much of the zucchini flesh, otherwise, zucchini boats will be flimsy.
- Use a baking sheet and not a casserole dish. Zucchini is high in water content so you want plenty of room for steam to escape. If you crowd them too much, they will release water.
- Feel free to change them up. Zucchini boats are easy to customize. Use ground turkey instead of chicken. Monterey jack instead of mozzarella. For more flavor add Parmesan cheese, more spices, fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil.
- Leftovers are best refrigerated. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days. Stuffed zucchini boats do not freeze well. You can however freeze the filling for up to 3 months.
Chicken stuffed zucchini boats are best served with refreshing salad or a simple side, such as:
- Zucchini Corn Salad
- Avocado Caesar Salad with Cucumbers
- Roasted Garlic Green Beans
- House Salad Recipe
- Roasted Broccoli
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Weeknight dinner does not get easier than chicken stuffed zucchini boats with spices, marinara sauce, and cheese. Made with less than 10 ingredients for delicious meal!
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling zucchini
- 4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, about 2 lbs.
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a small spoon, hollow out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving about ¼-inch thickness around the edges. Place cut side-up on the baking sheet.
- Lightly drizzle the hollowed-out side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, Italian seasoning, and red chili flakes. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a spatula.
Add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 2-4 minutes or until onion is softened, stirring frequently.
Pour the marinara sauce into the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. You want any liquid from the chicken and veggies to steam out and only thick sauce mixture remaining.
Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the zucchini shells, then top with the shredded cheese.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and zucchini is tender. If desired, broil for few minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Baking: For best results, use a baking sheet and not a casserole dish, otherwise, the zucchini will release a lot of liquid if crowded too much.
- Leftovers: Leftovers will last in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container. I do not recommend freezing as the zucchini does not hold up well when reheated.
Keywords: easy dinner, sheet pan meal, family friendly