Sausage stuffed zucchini boats are a favorite in our home! Hollowed-out zucchini are stuffed with a delicious filling of sausage, breadcrumbs, onion, cheese, and garlic, topped with marinara and mozzarella, and baked until bubbly. This dish is perfect for weeknights, and is great leftover too!
Zucchini may be one of our favorite summer vegetables. It grows in great abundance and is available nearly everywhere in our area.
We're often asked for suggestions on new ways to use zucchini and if you've been to Sip and Feast before, you know there's no shortage of zucchini recipes!
But zucchini stuffed with sausage is often our go-to when we're not sure what to make and just want something simple.
In fact, this dish is filling enough that you don't really need to serve anything along with it.
Maybe a delicious green salad, then you're all set!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Preheat your oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level. Bring a pot of water to boil (this will be for the zucchini). Cut 4 medium zucchini in half lengthwise then remove the seeds using a spoon leaving about ¼-inch interior walls. Dice 1 medium-sized onion, mince 3 cloves of garlic, and shred ¾ cup of mozzarella cheese. Chop ½ cup of fresh basil.
- Once the water is boiling, cook the zucchini boats in the water for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water and set aside.
- To a frying pan, add a ¼ cup of olive oil and saute the diced onion over medium-low heat until soft (about 5-7 minutes). Add the minced garlic and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes until golden.
- Add 1 pound of bulk Italian sausage, turn the heat to medium, and saute for 10 minutes until mostly cooked through. Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage into smaller pieces.
- Turn off the heat and add ½ cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, ½ cup of chopped basil, ½ cup Pecorino Romano, and a ½ cup of marinara sauce. Mix well.
- Dry off the zucchini with paper towels and season the inside of the zucchini with salt and pepper to taste. Place a thick layer of marinara sauce into a large baking dish.
- Stuff each zucchini boat and place them in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of each boat and sprinkle with the remaining Pecorino Romano and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake the zucchini boats until tender in the oven for (about 25 minutes) covered with foil. Once tender, remove the foil and broil for 2-3 minutes more to brown the top. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Allow to settle for a few minutes and then serve. Enjoy!
Top tips for perfect sausage stuffed zucchini boats
- The zucchini. Medium-sized zucchini are recommended for stuffed zucchini boats as they're more tender and taste better than the large zucchini. Also, be sure to season the parboiled zucchini boats with a good pinch of salt and pepper before filling them with the stuffing as this will make the whole dish taste even better. This is the secret to making stuffed veggies better and we do the same in our stuffed cubanelle peppers and sausage stuffed Italian peppers too.
- The sausage. If you can find bulk sausage, this will cut down on your prep time making this dish even simpler. If you can't find it, not to worry! You can simply buy sausage links and remove the sausage from the casing. We used mild Italian sausage but use whatever sausage you like and can access.
- The marinara. We use our own quick homemade marinara sauce but feel free to use any marinara you like.
- The stuffing. Breadcrumbs are added to the sausage stuffing, but you could easily make this a gluten-free stuffing by either omitting the breadcrumbs entirely or by replacing them with rice.
More zucchini recipes you'll love!
If you love zucchini as much as we do, check out these other awesome recipes featuring our favorite squash!
- Zucchini rollatini - Sliced zucchini rolled up with ricotta, mozzarella, and marinara.
- Zucchini alla parmigiana - Strips of roasted zucchini layered with mozzarella and marinara.
- Ricotta stuffed zucchini - Zucchini boats stuffed with a lemon ricotta filling.
- Spaghetti alla Nerano - Pasta tossed with caciocavallo cheese and fried zucchini in a buttery sauce.
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- 4 medium zucchini cut lengthwise - interior scooped out
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 4 cups marinara sauce use this recipe or store-bought sauce, divided
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion diced
- ¾ cup Pecorino Romano grated, divided
- ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup basil chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level. Bring a pot of water to boil (large enough to fit the zucchini boats).
- Remove zucchini seeds with a spoon, leaving ¼-inch interior walls. Boil the zucchini boats for 2 minutes then drain and run under cold water until cool and set aside.
- Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium-low heat until soft (about 5-7 minutes) then add in the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes until golden.
- Add in sausage, turn heat to medium, and saute for around 7 more minutes or until mostly cooked through. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into small pieces.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add in the breadcrumbs, basil, ½ cup mozzarella, ½ cup Pecorino Romano, and a ½ cup of marinara sauce. Mix well.
- Place a thick layer of marinara sauce into a large baking dish.
- Dry off the zucchini with paper towels. Season the inside of the zucchini with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff each zucchini boat with the stuffing and place each boat into the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of each boat and sprinkle with the remaining Pecorino Romano and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake the zucchini boats until fork tender (around 25 minutes) covered with foil. Remove foil and broil for 2-3 minutes more to brown top. Watch carefully for burning. Enjoy!
- Use medium to small zucchini. They are more tender and have more flavor than large zucchini which tend to be waterlogged.
- Season the zucchini before adding the stuffing. Salting the inside of the zucchini ensures that the zucchini themselves will not be bland.
- Leftovers – The sausage-stuffed zucchini can be stored for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat in the oven at 350f until hot all the way through (approximately 15-20 minutes).
Excellent recipe. Great flavor.
Thank you, Susan! So happy you liked this one!
I made a few changes to the filling it was delicious. Will make again.
Thanks for sharing, Kathy! Happy you enjoyed it!
Imade this and it was great shared with some friends and they loved it and want the recipe. 😊
Hi Jackie, thanks for the comment and review. So happy to hear this one was a hit!
This is delicious! Thank you!!
Hi Vicki, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed it!
I made this but used ground beef instead as a substitute. Very flavorful and delicious!
Hi Susan, so happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for the comment.
I made the stuffed Zucchini yesterday to great success. As inspired by Jim, I made it my own with a few tweaks (more cheese, more breadcrumbs, longer pre-cooking of zucchini) which were probably not necessary. My Italian boyfriend was enthusiastic and despite his perennial waist watching, asked for seconds. I served it on pasta which made it more of a Sunday night supper. This is my fifth Sip and Feast recipe and they’ve all been outstanding.
Hi Denise, thanks for the comment and so happy you're enjoying the recipes!