Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Ground Chicken are a simple, healthy and flavorful dish that is low-carb, keto friendly and perfect for a family meal. They are very easy to make and are packed with ground meat and vegetables: onions, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes.
What is it about Italian cuisine that makes everyone love it? Pizza, pasta, pesto, lasagna, mozzarella, parmesan, prosciutto, antipasti. Try thinking about those without your mouth watering! It’s practically impossible. Though I absolutely love all Italian flavors, a lot of the dishes can be pretty heavy, high in carbs and thickly covered with melted cheese. This is especially true for the American rendition of Italian cuisine. My family adores all things pasta and pizza. In fact, both my sons’ favorite foods of all times are Italian: spaghetti carbonara (my 8 year old) and spaghetti and meatballs (my 6 year old).
My big quest as a mom is to reinvent Italian dishes so they are healthier, nourishing but still super tasty. These healthy zucchini bowls are exactly that! The base of the sauce is your basic quick meat and tomato ragu but I also added mushrooms and spinach which almost makes them taste like pizza. No Italian comfort food would be complete with cheese so I used mozzarella on top and a little goes a long way in this dish to make it lovely and delicious.
ZUCCHINI BOATS INGREDIENTS
Zucchini: this dish is perfect in the summer when you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden, but I enjoy making zucchini boat dishes all year round since zucchini are widely available all year round
Mushrooms: I use baby bella mushrooms but regular white button mushrooms will work just as well in this dish
Ground meat: my version uses ground chicken but feel free to use any meat you like. Turkey, lean beef or pork will all work.
Canned diced tomatoes: regular diced tomatoes or Italian style (with garlic and herbs) will work here. Note that most canned tomatoes are already salted, unless you are using low sodium canned tomatoes. Because of that I recommend waiting with salt until your sauce is ready, then tasting and adjusting the saltiness. I find that it’s very easy to oversalt dishes that use canned tomato products.
ARE GROUND CHICKEN ZUCCHINI BOATS GOOD FOR MEAL PREP?
Yes! After baking, place the zucchini boats in glass or plastic airtight containers and store in the fridge up to 4 days. When ready to eat, heat up in the microwave or in the oven. One or two boats with a light salad are a perfect lunch or dinner!
WHAT’S THE BEST DISH TO BAKE THE ZUCCHINi IN?
Because they are not particularly saucy, I bake Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats on a regular large sheet pan. If you prefer, you can also use a large casserole dish, such as pyrex.
Stuffed zucchini boats are a perfect freezer meal. To freeze, follow the steps in the recipe (pre-bake zucchini shells, make the sauce, stuff zucchini with the sauce) but don’t bake them once assembled. Instead, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, place in a casserole dish with a lid, or cover with aluminum foil. When ready to cook, take the dish out of the freezer the night before and leave in the fridge until ready to bake. I recommend baking the thawed dish at 400 degrees covered with aluminum foil to prevent the cheese from browning. Uncover 5 minutes before the end and serve!
MORE LOW CARB DINNER IDEASPrint
These Easy Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are healthy, keto and low carb. They are stuffed with a delicious ground chicken and vegetable filling and baked to cheesy perfection.
4 medium zucchini
1lb ground chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 oz baby or regular spinach
5 oz baby bella or button mushrooms, chopped
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 heaping tbsp of tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil
1¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh with a melon baller or a sharp spoon, leaving 1/4″ thick This recipe does not use the scooped out zucchini pieces but they’re great for freezing and using in smoothies or soups.
- Place the hollowed out zucchini halves onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Set aside.
- In the meantime, prepare the stuffing. Heat up oil in a large skillet and cook onions and mushrooms for a couple minutes. Add the garlic, spices and chicken. Cook together stirring and breaking up the meat until no longer pink.
- Stir in canned tomatoes and tomato paste and cook together for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook a minute or so until spinach is wilted. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Top the zucchini halves with the meat tomato mixture and bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 more minutes.
- Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley or scallions.
Any ground meat will work for this recipe. I like using ground chicken but turkey, lean beef or pork will also be delicious!
- Category: dinner
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: stuffed zucchini, zucchini boats, healthy zucchini boats, healthy dinner, ground chicken