Zucchini Boats – Life Above the Cafe

Zucchini Boats

A vegetable-based dinner vessel!
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Zucchini Boats

Zucchini Boats
Apr 11, 2020




10 mins.

30 mins.


These Zucchini Boats came into our lives because I’m a stay at home dog mom now that both of my kids are out of the house. Basically, I live vicariously through the daily events of my husband because he works and doesn’t take his lunch.

Every night, when he gets home from work, I make small talk or as my son liked to say when he lived at home, “You interrogate us,” but basically it goes like this, “How was your day?” “Did you eat lunch?” “What did you have for lunch?” Really though it’s interrogation for a purpose. I need new dinner ideas and what better way to find ideas than by using items sold in restaurants or mass produced for cafeteria lines.

Every once in a while, the hubs will talk about something new in the cafeteria that he really enjoyed. My husband, who when we got married basically ate 7 different things, 4 of them being different types of meat, is now an adventurous eater.

The day that he told me that he had Zucchini Boats for lunch and that he liked them, I knew that it was a meal that I had to recreate at home. I know it doesn’t seem very outside the box for lunch options but trust me it made my heart smile to hear that the man opted for a vegetable-based vessel as his lunch that day.

These Zucchini Boats have lots of filler like rice and beans so I didn’t use as much meat but if you prefer to use less of the filler then use 2 to 3 cups of meat. I used chicken for the Zucchini Boats pictured, but ground beef is a great option for these as well so use your families favorite protein.

I hope that you’ll try a new family favorite tonight and that you leave a comment below. For daily updates, follow @lifeabovethecafe on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest using the social media icons found on this page.


  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced in half
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper diced (any color)
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves diced or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 jalapeno diced finely seeds and veins removed
  • 1 cup of diced chicken or cooked ground beef
  • 1 cup of cooked rice (your choice I used Mexican flavored)
  • 1/2 can of black beans drained
  • 1/2 cup of corn (if using canned drain it)
  • 1 cup of medium chunky salsa (picante style)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried cilantro or 1/4 cup fresh cilantro diced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, colby jack)


I used 1 cup of leftover diced cooked chicken but you can substitute it for ground beef or leave out the meat for a vegetarian option.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray.

Slice four zucchini in half and use a spoon to scoop out the center to make a well to hold the filling.  Dice the scooped out part of the zucchini into small pieces to use in the filling.  Note** if your zucchini need to be trimmed so that they will stay flat on the pan, slice a thin piece off of the rounded bottom side so that they will lay flat and hold the filling without tipping over.

Place the zucchini cut side down on the baking sheet, lightly brush them with oil or spray with cooking spray, and bake them for 15 minutes.  Make the filling while they bake.

In a large non stick skillet add 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. of oil and saute the bell pepper, jalapeno, and onions for 3 minutes. Add the diced zucchini filling and cook it for 1 minute and then add the garlic and cook everything for 1 more minute.

Next add diced chicken, cooked rice, corn, drained black beans, salsa, salt, dried cilantro, cumin, and chili powder.  Continue cooking the mixture until everything is warmed through, or about 4-5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the empty zucchini boats from the oven.

Flip your semi baked zucchini over, drain any excess water from the pan, and then fill each boat with the chicken mixture and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 more minutes in the oven.

If you want to crisp the top turn the oven to broil and broil the cheese for a 1-2 minutes. Watch it closely so the cheese doesn’t burn.

If your family doesn’t like salsa try using enchilada sauce in place of the cup of salsa. This is a great meal for using up leftovers from taco night.

Serve these with salsa, sour cream, and diced green onions.

Additional Photos:

Zucchini Boats
Zucchini Boats

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