This idea has been around for a long time. My sister-in-law, Natalie, remembers a summer when her mom made zucchini boats for weeks-on-end to stretch a tight budget. (I don’t think Natalie will be making this recipe. Apparently she’s eaten enough zucchini boats for a lifetime). For the rest of us, this is a light and easy summer meal, especially when made with low-fat Italian turkey sausage. Ideally you want to use small to medium sized zucchini, no more than 8″ long.
I added onion, fennel, Italian style diced tomatoes, and fresh herbs from my garden along with parmesan and mozzarella. Marvin thought these were surprisingly good.
His exact words, “Wow. These these taste a lot better than they look.” That man knows how to give a compliment!
If you want to make a heartier meal out of it, serve the zucchini boats on a bed of spaghetti and ladle marinara sauce over the top.
- 3 medium zucchini
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel
- 1/2 lb. sweet Italian turkey sausage
- 1 can Italian style diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut in half, lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scoop out most of the flesh inside each zucchini half. Make a deep pocket, but don’t scoop all the way to the skin. Chop the zucchini pulp and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the zucchini pulp, onion, fennel and turkey sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up the sausage, until the onions are soft and the sausage is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain off any excess juice and transfer the sausage mixture to a bowl.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, and 1/2 cup parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
- Place the zucchini “boats” on the baking sheet. Fill with the sausage mixture and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake, covered with foil, for 15 minutes, then uncover and continue baking for 15 minutes more, until the zucchini is soft and the cheese is melted.
- Serve plain or with a ladle of hot marinara sauce.