Quick and Easy Zucchini Boats

When I’m not hangry and have a little time to play around, one of my favorite things to do at the end of the week is to try to use up all of those random leftovers in the fridge.

Hangry definition

This is exactly the situation I found myself in one random Saturday night when I didn’t have anything planned for dinner and needed to figure out a healthy, but filling meal using whatever was in the fridge, and relatively quickly! I saw that we had a couple of zucchinis that needed to be used ASAP, some cooked lentils, and some tomato sauce, and I thought, “zucchini boats!”

Zucchini boats idea

Like my stuffed peppers recipe, best thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever is in your fridge. Have some meat instead of lentils? Use that as your protein! Want to put more of a Mexican twist on it with your spices and toppings instead of the pseudo-Italian one I have going on? Go for it!

Here’s what I found myself doing (full recipe at the end):

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Halve the zucchinis and place on a baking sheet. Once the oven is pre-heated, pop them in for 20-30 minutes.

While the zucchini is cooking, cut up and sauté your veggies. I went with garlic, pepper, and onion.

Chopped garlic pepper and onion

While those were sautéing, I chopped up some tomato.

Chopped tomato

Once the veggies were well cooked, I threw in the (already cooked) lentils and added some tomato sauce to warm it all up.

Chopped veggies with lentils and tomato sauce

By then the zucchini was all cooked.

Cooked zucchini

I then proceeded to scoop out the pulp in the middle. Some recipes have you do this before you cook it and it’s probably to make sure they aren’t as watery. I didn’t find it to be a problem, though.

Zucchini middle scooped out

I don’t like throwing away perfectly good food, so I saved the scooped-out part to have the next day with the rest of the zucchini boats.

Zucchini scoops

Once everything was ready to go, I put the sauté mixture into the middle of the scooped-out zucchini, topped with tomato and some cheese, and put it back in the oven on a low broil until the cheese melted, about 5-10 minutes.

Gluten free zucchini boats

And because I have to add a green to every meal, the finished product:

Zucchini boats with spinach

Bon appétit!

(Gluten-Free) Zucchini Boats

2 zucchinis, halved
Sautéed vegetables of choice (e.g., onion, pepper, garlic, etc.)
Additional vegetables of choice (e.g., spinach, tomatoes, etc.)
Protein of choice (e.g., quinoa, ground turkey, lentils, bison, tempeh, etc.)
~ 1C tomato sauce
Cheese of choice (e.g., fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, fresh provolone, etc.)

Preheat oven to 425. Cook halved zucchinis for 20-30 minutes.

Sauté your vegetables of choice while cooking your protein of choice (if protein uncooked). Cook veggies until soft and mix with the protein. Add desired amount of tomato sauce and mix all well.

Once zucchini is cooked, remove from the oven and scoop out the middles. Keep pulp if desired. Top with cheese and any other uncooked veggies. Broil on low until the cheese is melted.


Questions: Do you enjoy going through your fridge leftovers at the end of the week to make interesting concoctions or do you wish you had a menu plan? Do you try to use everything perishable in your fridge by the end of the week? Do you have a favorite thrown-together meal?


10 thoughts on “Quick and Easy Zucchini Boats

  1. I’m pretty good at planning in advance what I’ll do with everything on the fridge, but if I have leftovers I don’t eat within a day or two then I end up throwing them out.
    Zucchinis are one of my favorite vegetables, your recipe sounds really good.

  2. Zucchini boats! How clever! Zucchinis are shaped more like canoes or kayaks. More aero and water dynamic. These treats would be perfect for crew teams along after they finish a meet on the Charles River! What do you do with the guts of the zucchini?

    • I agree–they’re more like zucchini kayaks. You crack me up.
      I just ate the guts after microwaving them. May have thrown some cheese or tomato sauce on top.

  3. Hi Steph,
    Very creative dish you put together Stephanie.
    However, In our house I/we aren’t as efficient with our left-overs, don’t get me wrong I too hate throwing away food. But, Sometimes in our household we run across, Lets just call it, ( Palate Discrepancies ). That being said, There is room for improvement for us. Work in progress.

    Tune-up Stay Strong,
    U Steve

  4. Looks great. I love zucchini, lentils, peppers, onions… At the end of the week I try to use everything up in my fridge, even if it makes weird combinations. I hate throwing food away. Today my combination was chili, zucchini noodles, guacamole, roasted peppers. So good.

  5. I’ve done something similar! Right now I’m doing a “clean your pantry” week and didn’t buy anything but fresh fruit and veggies. I’ve been using up my canned salmon, finishing off quinoa and cous cous, and planned my weekend date night around a yummy jar of pasta sauce I’ve had for months! Writing about it is on the blog to-do list (but we all know how those go half the time!)
    Thanks for sharing!

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