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ZUCCHINI BOATS

Ingredients

  • 4 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1/3 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • 3 hot sausage links, casings removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 C tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • kosher salt/pepper
  • 1 1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 TBLS fresh parsley, chopped
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
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With only few more visits left this season to my local farmer’s markets, I thought I would try out another zucchini recipe. These Zucchini Boats are super easy to prepare, and are so versatile. You can even substitute eggplant and/or yellow squash for the zucchini. Use my filling, or create one of your own. Take this recipe vegetarian, Mexican, or maybe even Asian. The possibilities are endless!

If you want to check out a quick video on how to make these amazing Zucchini Boats, click here. If you love zucchini and yellow squash, you may want to also check out my recipe for Zucchini Rollatini!

My extra large Lodge cast iron pan worked perfectly. If you do not own a cast iron pan, you need one today. Frequently, I suggest this 12″ pan. You will get the most use out of this size. It’s a perfect addition to your kitchen.

eight zucchini boats filled with meat and cheese in a cast iron pan

HOW TO MAKE ZUCCHINI BOATS

THE SAUCE/FILLING

As mentioned earlier, feel free to make the filling your own. I used hot sausage, but you can definitely use mild if you do not want the heat. Ground turkey and/or ground chicken are also great substitutes.

Start with the sauce as it will take about twenty minutes to simmer. Place the sausage and ground meat in a pan. You may wonder why I use link sausage with the casings removed. In my opinion, the flavor of link sausage is so much better than bulk. No need to add oil as the fat in the beef will provide all you need.

Once the meat mixture is nearly browned and cooked through, add in the garlic, shallots, crushed red pepper and seasoning. If you have access, or can order online, I suggest using this garlic and tomato seasoning blend from Delallo. Allow the garlic and shallots to soften, not brown, for just a few minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce. Hunts is my go-to! Avoid the “no salt added” as it tends to be a bit on the sweet side. Allow the sauce to simmer for at least twenty minutes.

ground meat and sausage browning in a pan

PREP THE ZUCCHINI

Try to choose zucchini that are fairly uniform in shape and size. This will not only ensure the “boats” will not fall over while they are baking, but it will also guarantee a more even baking time. Medium-sized zucchini will work best.

Cut off the ends of each zucchini. Slice each down the middle, lengthwise. With a spoon, remove the seeds and create a boat. Try not to cut out too much of the flesh. The boats need to be sturdy. Place the Zucchini Boats in a prepared baking pan, or cast iron pan. Use olive oil or non-stick spray. Season the insides of the hulled out zucchini with kosher salt and black pepper.

TO FILL AND BAKE THE ZUCCHINI BOATS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously fill each zucchini boat with the sauce. You may even want to add a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese to the boat prior to adding the sauce. This was an afterthought of mine. Top each with a good amount of shredded mozzarella. Fill the gaps in the pan with any leftover sauce. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. As if there was not enough cheese already, I did add a touch more towards the end of the baking time. Turn the broiler on for the last minute or so to brown up the cheese.

TO SERVE

Plate the Zucchini Boats. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve alone or with a side of pasta, mashed potatoes or even a salad. Leftovers are perfect and may even be better the next day. Freezing is not recommended as the zucchini may get a bit mushy!

two zucchini boats filled with meat and cheese on an Italian platter

LET’S GET SOCIAL!

I am more than just recipes. I love fashion and style too! Most importantly, I love my Family (my Hubby and my Fur Babies). My Husband (aka my “Kitchen Bitch”) means the world to me. He’s pretty damn cool too. Not only is he one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he also has had a lengthy career in professional hockey. Not only winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early ’90’s, but most recently winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, amongst many other accolades. If you live in Charlotte and play hockey, or have a family member who plays, be sure to contact him. He is known as one of the best skate sharpeners in the world!

Our life has changed dramatically in the past few years with the passing of our two goldendoodles, Vegas and Viva. We were lucky enough to have Vegas for five years (totally wish it was longer). Most recently, losing our Viva to a brain tumor in July of 2020. We welcomed our mini goldendoodle 7, almost seven years ago. We just added the amazing Hazel! Of course, I am always posting tons and tons of photos! Be sure to check out my recipe for Pet Bone Broth! This broth is super rich in nutrients and will provide your pet with a multitude of health benefits!

Be sure to follow me on social media! I’m always talking food, fashion, and family! I also love sharing some of my favorite Amazon Finds too. Click here to check out my Amazon page! Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Pinterest!

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