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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!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 4 boats
Calories: 312kcal
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!


  • 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


  • 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.

Recipe 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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