Tender zucchini is layered with a cheesy ricotta mix, hearty meat sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese! It’s a healthier way to get your past a fix in without all the carbs!
Once the cooler weather hits, I’m all about the comfort food! But seeing as how it’s the New Year and everyone (including myself) is making resolutions to become “healthier”, I’ve been trying to find new ways to indulge in those comfort food cravings. And this simple meal did just that! These lasagna stuffed zucchini boats are easy, hearty and every bit delicious!
Ingredients for Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini Boats
First things first, here are the only ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Zucchini – Look for medium sized zucchini that are similar in size. This helps to ensure that they will cook at the same time.
- Ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese – I found that grated works the best for this.
- Fresh basil (or dried basil) – I used 4 fresh basil leaves for this recipe. However you can also use 1/2 – 1 tsp of dried basil instead.
- Ground turkey – You can also try using ground beef or ground sausage/chicken sausage too!
- Marinara (store bought or homemade) – See below for my homemade marinara recipe!
- Mozzarella cheese
How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce
I love making sauces from scratch and this marinara sauce is no exception! It’s a little spicy, full of flavor and is incredibly easy to make.
- 1 15oz can tomato sauce (no salt added)
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsps Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Start by sauteing the garlic and onions in a saucepan over medium heat until the onions turn translucent. Then add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and red flakes and stir. Heat it until it’s warm all the way through.
From there you can either serve it right away or store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to eat!
Can I prep any ingredients before hand?
Absolutely! You can easily prep the meat sauce, cheese mixture and even the zucchini boats at least 1 day in advance. Simply make the sauce and cheese mixture according to the directions below and store each of them in an airtight container in the fridge. For the zucchini, just hollow each of them out and store them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
How can I make these zucchini boats dairy free?
This couldn’t be any easier babes! Because so many people now are developing an intolerance to dairy, there’s actually quite a few really good brands for non-dairy cheese. For this recipe, simply replace the ricotta for dairy free ricotta and use non-dairy mozzarella for the top! (You don’t need to add the parmesan if you’re making a dairy free version!) Here are the brands I used for my dairy free lasagna stuffed zucchini boats:
- Kite Hill Ricotta
- Trader Joe’s Brand Non-dairy Mozzarella
Tips/Notes for Making Lasagna Zucchini Boats
- Use a sharp spoon to scoop out the insides of the zucchini. (A melon baller will work too, but I had more luck with a spoon.)
- Don’t worry about “over stuffing” the zucchini. The filling stays pretty secure because it’s sandwiched between the ricotta layer and melted mozzarella. (Plus over stuffing them makes them heartier too! 😉 )
- Always look for wider zucchinis when you’re planning to make these boats.
- I would suggest serving a small salad with these if you’re looking for a side dish.
I hope you enjoy this recipe loves and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!
More Easy Recipes Like This:
- Easy Spinach Lasagna Rolls
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
- Green Chile Turkey Burgers
- Spiced Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]
Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini Boats
For the Zucchini Boats:
- 2 zucchinis, sliced in half lengthwise (4 halves in total)
- 1¾ cup marinara sauce (or use my homemade sauce below)
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- ½ cup ricotta
- ¼ cup grated parmesan (omit if dairy free)
- 4 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Salt & pepper, to taste
For my Homemade Marinara Sauce:
- 1 15oz. can tomato sauce (I use "no salt added")
- ¼ cup onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsps Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
To Make the Homemade Marinara Sauce:
- Heat a pot over medium high heat. Once it's hot, spray the pot with non-stick cooking spray and add your garlic and onions. Saute them for 1-2 minutes or until the onions turn translucent.
- Add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir. Keep the sauce on the stove until it's warmed throughout.
To Make the Zucchini Boats:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix the ricotta, parmesan and chopped basil together. Set aside.
- Season the ground turkey with salt and pepper. Place it in a large pot and saute it until it's completely cooked. Add the turkey to your marinara sauce and stir. Set aside.
- Take a large spoon and scoop out the insides of your zucchinis. Take a small spoonful of the ricotta mixture and spread a thin layer inside your zucchini boats. (Make sure to go all the way up the sides!)
- Fill your boats with the meat sauce and place them in a prepared 9×13 baking pan. (Overfilling them is fine.) Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Once they're done, uncover the pan and sprinkle some mozzarella cheese over the top of each zucchini. Place the pan back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until the cheese has melted.
All the great flavors of lasagna, stuffed into a zucchini boat, baked with melted mozzarella cheese on top!
It’s just the way I like it! 🙂
Loved it and my husband even loved it and he doesn’t like zucchini. So easy to make and if need an appetizer, just cut them into smaller sizes after baked. Yum!
Hi Karen! I’m so glad he liked it! And I love that idea for an appetizer too! So fun! 🙂