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Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Sausage and Tomatoes

These Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Sausage and Tomatoes have a crispy parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumb topping and are an easy and delicious summer dinner!

So many zucchini, so little time! Zucchini boats are one of the best ways to enjoy your garden zucchini – you can fill them so many different ways – and these super tasty sausage-stuffed zucchini boats are my all-time favorite!

For the past few weeks – and probably for a few more to come – we have literally been eating zucchini for breakfast, lunch, dinner, side dishes, and dessert (it’s so versatile!).

And that’s after we’ve given a bunch away to any family, friends and neighbors that want some!

When it comes to dinner during zucchini season, I make these sausage-stuffed zucchini boats more than anything else. We love them so much and never get tired of them!

The stuffing is made with sweet Italian sausage, the zucchini that you scoop out of the middle to make the boats, onions, garlic, Italian seasoning, and fresh tomatoes (maybe you’ve got some of those in your garden too!).

Then you sprinkle on some grated parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs mixed with some olive oil for the best crispy, crunchy, golden brown topping (my favorite part!).

Add a little fresh basil after they come out of the oven for the perfect finish, and you’ve got yourself a super flavorful and satisfying dinner that’s ready in less than an hour!

stuffed zucchini boats with sausage and tomatoes on a baking sheet sprinkled with basil with a serving fork on the side

A Few Fun Facts About Zucchini:

  • Zucchini is a member of the gourd family and is a summer squash that grows well in warm temperatures (it originated in Central America).
  • They can grow to be very large (we’re talking 3 feet long or even more!), but they are best in flavor and texture when you harvest them at about 6 to 10 inches long.
  • It is also known as courgette and baby marrow.
  • Botanically, it is a fruit, but we most often use it as and refer to it as a vegetable.
  • You can eat the flowers (they’re often stuffed and deep-fried…Yum!).
  • Zucchini is good for you! It’s high in water, low in fat and calories, and is full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Yay!

Now let’s get to making these zucchini boats!

4 stuffed zucchini boats with sausage and tomatoes on a serving dish with a serving fork

Ingredients you need:

  • Zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • Sweet/mild Italian sausage (bulk sausage if you can get it; or links with the casing removed)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fresh tomatoes (I use plum/Roma tomatoes)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking spray
  • Fresh basil (for garnish; optional)

Here’s a look at how to make Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Sausage and Tomatoes:

Note: This is just a quick overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

two images; one a graphic of an oven with text that says preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit; the other of zucchini sliced in half on a cutting board with a knife and the stem and end pieces of the zucchini with text that says remove stem and bottom from zucchini, halve lengthwise
two images; one of the zucchini halves on a cutting board with the centers scooped out and in a bowl with a melon baller and a spoon on the side with text that says scoop out center of zucchini leaving a quarter-inch border; the other of chopped zucchini on a cutting board with a knife with text that says chop the scooped-out zucchini into smaller pieces
two images; one of browned sausage in a pan with a wooden spoon with text that says brown the sausage until cooked through; the other of sausage, zucchini and onions in a pan with a wooden spoon with text that says add chopped zucchini and onion, cook until veggies have softened
two images; one of garlic and Italian seasoning being added to the pan of sausage and veggies with text that says add garlic and Italian seasoning, cook for another minute; the other of tomatoes added to the sausage mixture in the pan with text that says off the heat, stir in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper
two images; one of the zucchini boats on a baking sheet with text that says place zucchini boats on a baking sheet; sprinkle with salt; the other of the zucchini boats filled with the sausage mixture with text that says fill the boats with the sausage mixture
two images; one of the filled zucchini boats topped with parmesan cheese with text that says sprinkle tops with parmesan cheese; the other of the filled zucchini boats topped with breadcrumbs with text that says combine panko and olive oil; sprinkle on top of the boats
two images; one a graphic of an oven with text that says 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until...; the other of the finished zucchini boats on a baking sheet with text that says zucchini is crisp-tender and top is golden brown, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • I like using a melon baller to scoop out the center of the zucchini; it works great!
  • Make sure to leave about a ¼-inch border all around the zucchini, including the bottom, so they keep some structure, as the skin is very thin.
  • Like spicy? Use hot Italian sausage instead of mild, or add some crushed red pepper flakes to the filling.
  • I use plum tomatoes because they are often less watery than other tomatoes, but you can really use any kind of fresh tomato you like or have on hand. In a pinch, you could even use drained canned diced tomatoes.
  • I love the crunch of the panko breadcrumbs, but regular breadcrumbs can be used too (they just won’t be quite as crispy).
  • Store any leftover zucchini boats, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
    • Reheat on a baking sheet in a 325°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through (you may want to cover them lightly with foil in the beginning so the bread crumbs don’t get too dark).
  • I don’t recommend freezing these, as zucchini gets very soggy and watery after being frozen.
two stuffed zucchini boats with sausage and tomatoes on a plate, one of them cut in half, with a knife and fork and more zucchini boats on a serving dish in the background

This recipe makes 4 zucchini boats and can serve 2 to 4 people depending on what side dishes you are serving with it, who you’re serving, and their appetites.

The good news is you can easily double this recipe if you’d like a bigger batch. I often do this just so we will have leftovers for another day (we’ve even had these for breakfast alongside some eggs…so good!).

I hope you try this recipe for Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Sausage and Tomatoes and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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four stuffed zucchini boats on a white plate with a serving fork

Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Sausage and Tomatoes

These Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Sausage and Tomatoes have a crispy parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumb topping and are an easy and delicious summer dinner!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 boats
Estimated Calories: 312

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, each about ¾ to 1 pound and 8 to 10 inches long
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • ½ pound bulk sweet (mild) Italian sausage, or links with casings removed
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup Italian-seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray
  • fresh chopped basil, for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Cut the stem and bottom end off of the zucchini; discard. Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise.
  • Scoop out the center of each zucchini half to make a boat, leaving about a ¼-inch border all the way around (on the bottom too). I like using a melon baller to do this, but a spoon works too.
  • Chop the scooped-out zucchini into smaller pieces (about ½ inch in size); set aside.
  • Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently and crumbling it up into small pieces as you go, until cooked through and lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Drain off any excess grease, if needed.
  • Add the chopped zucchini and onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften (about 5 more minutes). If the zucchini has released a lot of water and it hasn't cooked away, drain off the excess water.
  • Add the garlic and Italian seasoning; cook, stirring frequently, for another minute.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped tomatoes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (this is optional, but makes for easy clean-up); spray with cooking spray. Place the zucchini boats on the baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt.
  • Divide the sausage filling evenly among the zucchini boats.
  • Sprinkle ½ tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese on top of each boat.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the panko bread crumbs and the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil until well-combined; divide evenly among the tops of the zucchini boats.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the zucchini is crisp-tender and the topping is golden brown.
  • If desired, sprinkle the boats with chopped fresh basil; serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you like things spicy and with some heat, you can use hot Italian sausage instead of mild, or you can add some crushed red pepper flakes to the filling.
  • I use plum tomatoes because they are often less watery than other tomatoes, but you can really use any kind of fresh tomato you like or have on hand. In a pinch, you could even use canned diced tomatoes (drained).
  • I love the crunch of the panko breadcrumbs, but regular breadcrumbs can be used too (they just won’t be quite as crispy).
  • This recipe makes 4 boats, which will serve 2 to 4 people depending on what side dishes you are serving with it, who you are serving, and appetites. 
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