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Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

These taco stuffed zucchini boats are a fun and healthy twist on your typical taco night. Fresh zucchini halves are stuffed with a savory turkey and vegetable filling, topped with cheese and baked until tender. This recipe is a great way to incorporate more veggies into your meals and make use of abundant summer zucchini.

Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe
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Most of the ingredients used in this recipe are commonly found in your home. However, if you're not a regular cook, you might need to check for ground turkey, Mexican blend cheese and scallions. Also, depending on the season, fresh zucchini might not always be readily available at your local supermarket. Make sure to pick zucchinis that are firm to the touch and have a glossy skin.

Ingredients for the Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchinis: This is the main ingredient that serves as the 'boat' for the taco filling. Ensure they are ripe but firm.

Salsa: This adds a tangy taste to the recipe, providing a contrast to the savory turkey.

Ground turkey: A healthier alternative to ground beef, it brings the 'taco' to the recipe.

Garlic powder: Adds a depth of flavor to the turkey filling.

Cumin: Gives the recipe a smoky flavor.

Kosher salt: Used to enhance all the flavors.

Chili powder: Brings some heat to the dish.

Paprika: Provides a sweet-peppery flavor.

Oregano: Adds an earthy flavor to the recipe.

Onion: Brings a slightly sweet flavor when cooked.

Bell pepper: Adds a crunch and sweet flavor to the dish.

Tomato sauce: Brings a tangy taste that balances out the spices.

Water: Helps to dilute the sauce a bit.

Mexican blend cheese: Adds a creamy, cheesy goodness to the dish.

Scallions: Used as a garnish, they add a pop of color and a hint of oniony flavor.

One reader, Ava Bandy says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This taco stuffed zucchini boats recipe is a game-changer! The zucchini boats are a healthy alternative to taco shells, and the flavors are incredible. The blend of spices and the melted cheese on top make it a delicious and satisfying meal. I highly recommend trying it out!

Ava Bandy

Cooking Techniques for Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

How to hollow out zucchini halves: Use a small spoon or melon baller to carefully remove the center of the zucchini halves, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell on each half.

How to brown turkey: In a large skillet, cook the ground turkey over medium heat, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks, until it is no longer pink.

How to fill the zucchini boats: Use a spoon to evenly distribute the taco meat mixture into the hollowed zucchini boats, pressing firmly to pack the filling.

How to top with cheese: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese on top of each filled zucchini boat before baking.

How to serve with salsa: Serve the taco stuffed zucchini boats with salsa on the side for dipping.

How To Make Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

If you’re looking for a taco night variation, try these taco-stuffed zucchini boats. The ground turkey keeps the calories low and the flavors intense.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes



  • 32ozzucchinis,(4 medium), cut in half lengthwise
  • ½cupmild salsa
  • 1lbground turkey,(93% lean)
  • 1tspgarlic powder
  • 1tspcumin
  • 1tspKosher salt,or to taste
  • 1tspchili powder
  • 1tsppaprika
  • ½tsporegano
  • ½small onion,minced
  • 2tbspbell pepper,minced
  • 4oztomato sauce,(1 can)
  • ¼cupwater
  • ½cupMexican blend cheese,shredded, reduced fat
  • ¼cupchopped scallions,or cilantro, for topping


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Place ¼ cup of salsa in the bottom of a large baking dish.

  3. Using a small spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving ¼-inch thick shell on each half.

  4. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside ¾ of a cup to add to the taco filling, (squeeze excess water with a paper towel) discarding the rest or saving to use in another recipe.

  5. Drop zucchini halves in boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from water.

  6. Brown turkey in a large skillet, breaking up while it cooks. When no longer pink, add the spices and mix well.

  7. Add the onion, bell pepper, reserved zucchini, tomato sauce and water. Stir and cover, simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

  8. Using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats dividing the taco meat equally, about ⅓ cup in each, pressing firmly.

  9. Top each with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

  10. Top with scallions and serve with salsa on the side.


  • Calories: 288.07kcal
  • Fat: 13.88g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.94g
  • Trans Fat: 0.12g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 4.25g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.03g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.07g
  • Fiber: 4.30g
  • Sugar: 8.99g
  • Protein: 29.84g
  • Cholesterol: 91.54mg
  • Sodium: 988.33mg
  • Calcium: 182.43mg
  • Potassium: 1135.83mg
  • Iron: 3.37mg
  • Vitamin A: 118.80µg
  • Vitamin C: 51.02mg

Pro Tip for Perfecting Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

When hollowing out the zucchini halves, be careful not to scoop too close to the skin. Leaving a ¼-inch thick shell ensures that the zucchini boats hold their shape during cooking and don't collapse. If you find it difficult to scoop out the flesh, you can use a melon baller instead of a spoon. It's designed to remove the flesh in small, controlled amounts, making it easier to leave a consistent thickness of shell. Also, don't forget to squeeze out the excess water from the scooped zucchini flesh before adding it to the turkey filling. This will prevent the filling from becoming too watery and ensure a more concentrated flavor.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Prep ahead: Prepare the taco filling and hollow out the zucchini boats the night before. This will save time on the day of cooking.

Use pre-made salsa: Opt for store-bought salsa instead of making it from scratch to cut down on prep time.

Multi-task: While the zucchini boats are baking, use that time to clean up the kitchen or prepare a side dish.

Batch cooking: Make a double batch of the taco filling and freeze the extra for a quick and easy meal in the future.

Invest in a melon baller: Using a melon baller to hollow out the zucchini will save time and make the process more efficient.

One-pan cooking: Consider using a large skillet to cook the taco filling and then fill the zucchini boats directly from the skillet to minimize dishwashing.

Substitute Ingredients For Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

  • zucchinis - Substitute with yellow squash: Yellow squash has a similar texture and flavor to zucchini, making it a great substitute for this recipe.

  • salsa - Substitute with diced tomatoes with green chilies: This can provide a similar level of spiciness and flavor as salsa.

  • ground turkey - Substitute with ground chicken: Ground chicken can be used as a lean alternative to ground turkey with a similar texture and flavor.

  • garlic powder - Substitute with minced garlic: Fresh minced garlic can provide a more intense flavor compared to garlic powder.

  • cumin - Substitute with coriander: Coriander has a slightly citrusy, nutty flavor that can complement the other spices in the recipe.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt in equal amounts.

  • chili powder - Substitute with paprika and a pinch of cayenne: This combination can replicate the flavor profile of chili powder.

  • paprika - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can add a deeper, smokier flavor to the dish.

  • oregano - Substitute with thyme: Thyme can provide a similar earthy and slightly floral flavor to the dish.

  • onion - Substitute with shallot: Shallots have a milder, sweeter flavor compared to onions.

  • bell pepper - Substitute with poblano pepper: Poblano peppers have a mild heat and a slightly smoky flavor that can enhance the dish.

  • tomato sauce - Substitute with crushed tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes can provide a similar texture and flavor to tomato sauce.

  • mexican blend cheese - Substitute with cheddar cheese: Cheddar cheese can provide a rich and sharp flavor similar to Mexican blend cheese.

  • scallions - Substitute with chives: Chives have a mild onion flavor and can be used as a garnish similar to scallions.

Presentation Ideas for Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  1. Elevate the zucchini boats: Carefully arrange the zucchini boats on a sleek, rectangular plate, ensuring they are evenly spaced and visually appealing.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle finely chopped cilantro and parsley over the zucchini boats to add a pop of color and a touch of freshness to the dish.

  3. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Create an elegant design on the plate using a vibrant, homemade salsa, drizzling it in a circular motion around the zucchini boats for a visually stunning presentation.

  4. Utilize negative space: Embrace the beauty of negative space on the plate, allowing the zucchini boats to be the focal point while maintaining a clean and sophisticated presentation.

  5. Add a touch of sophistication with microgreens: Carefully place a small cluster of microgreens on top of each zucchini boat, adding a delicate and refined touch to the overall presentation.

  6. Emphasize symmetry and balance: Arrange the zucchini boats in a symmetrical pattern on the plate, ensuring that each element is thoughtfully placed to create a visually balanced and harmonious presentation.

  7. Highlight the vibrant colors: Showcase the natural vibrancy of the dish by using a minimalist approach, allowing the colorful ingredients to shine through and captivate the senses.

  8. Incorporate a touch of elegance with edible flowers: Introduce edible flowers, such as nasturtiums or pansies, to add a touch of sophistication and a subtle floral note to the presentation.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  • Large pot: A large pot is essential for boiling the zucchinis.
  • Baking dish: A large baking dish is needed for assembling and baking the zucchini boats.
  • Skillet: A skillet is used for browning the ground turkey and cooking the taco filling.
  • Spoon or melon baller: A spoon or melon baller is used for hollowing out the zucchini halves.
  • Paper towel: Paper towels are used for squeezing excess water from the chopped zucchini flesh.
  • Foil: Foil is used to cover the zucchini boats while baking.
  • Oven: The oven is used for baking the stuffed zucchini boats at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Food processor: A food processor can be used for chopping the scooped out zucchini flesh into small pieces.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is used for combining the taco seasoning and mixing the taco meat.
  • Cutting board: A cutting board is used for chopping the onion and bell pepper.
  • Knife: A knife is used for chopping the onion and bell pepper, as well as for cutting the zucchinis.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Measuring cups and spoons are used for accurately measuring the ingredients.
  • Spatula: A spatula is used for stirring and mixing the taco filling in the skillet.
  • Cheese grater: A cheese grater is used for grating the Mexican blend cheese.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  • To store leftover taco stuffed zucchini boats, allow them to cool completely to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • When ready to reheat, place the desired number of boats on a baking sheet and warm them in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat them in the microwave, but the zucchini may become slightly softer.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the taco stuffed zucchini boats. Wrap each boat tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Label the container with the date and contents.
  • Frozen taco stuffed zucchini boats will keep for up to 2-3 months in the freezer. When ready to eat, remove the desired number of boats from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To reheat frozen boats, unwrap them and place them on a baking sheet. Cover the sheet with foil and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to allow the cheese to melt and the tops to crisp up slightly.
  • If you plan on freezing the boats, it's best to slightly undercook the zucchini initially, as they will soften further during the reheating process. This will help maintain a better texture once reheated.

How To Reheat Leftover Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover taco stuffed zucchini boats in an oven-safe dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to crisp up the top if desired.

  • Alternatively, you can reheat the zucchini boats in the microwave. Place them on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Be careful not to overheat, as the zucchini may become mushy.

  • For a crispy top, you can also reheat the taco stuffed zucchini boats under the broiler. Preheat your broiler to high and place the boats on a baking sheet. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the top is crispy and the filling is heated through. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can use it to reheat the zucchini boats. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and place the boats in the basket. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until heated through and crispy on top.

  • For a quick and easy reheat, you can also warm up the taco stuffed zucchini boats in a skillet on the stovetop. Place the boats in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and cover with a lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the lid for the last minute of cooking to allow any excess moisture to evaporate.

Interesting Trivia About Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

The zucchini boats recipe is a great way to incorporate vegetables into a taco dish. Zucchinis are a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. They are also low in calories, making them a healthy alternative to traditional taco shells. This recipe offers a creative and delicious way to enjoy the flavors of tacos while increasing your vegetable intake. Plus, it's a fun and unique way to present a taco dish, perfect for impressing guests at a gathering.

Is Making Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats at Home Cost-Effective?

This taco stuffed zucchini boats recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. Zucchinis are budget-friendly and packed with nutrients, while ground turkey is a lean and affordable protein option. The addition of spices and salsa enhances flavor without breaking the bank. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20. Overall Verdict: 9.

Are Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Healthy?

This taco stuffed zucchini boats recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional tacos. The use of zucchini as a vessel for the taco filling is a clever way to increase vegetable intake and reduce the consumption of refined carbohydrates found in taco shells. The recipe also uses lean ground turkey, which is a good source of protein and lower in saturated fat compared to ground beef.

The combination of spices used in the recipe, such as garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and paprika, adds flavor without relying on excessive amounts of salt or unhealthy additives. The addition of onion, bell pepper, and tomato sauce provides a variety of vitamins and minerals, further enhancing the nutritional value of the dish.

To make this recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use a low-sodium tomato sauce to reduce the overall sodium content of the dish
  • Increase the amount of vegetables by adding more bell peppers, onions, or other vegetables of your choice to the taco filling
  • Opt for a reduced-fat or low-fat Mexican blend cheese to decrease the saturated fat content
  • Serve the taco stuffed zucchini boats with a side salad or additional roasted vegetables to increase the fiber and nutrient intake of the meal
  • Replace the ground turkey with a plant-based protein source, such as black beans or lentils, to create a vegetarian or vegan version of the recipe

Editor's Opinion on This Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe

The taco stuffed zucchini boats recipe is a delightful fusion of flavors and textures. The combination of tender zucchini, savory turkey, and aromatic spices creates a satisfying and wholesome dish. The incorporation of salsa and Mexican blend cheese adds a zesty kick, while the scallions provide a fresh finish. This recipe offers a healthy twist on traditional tacos, making it a versatile and enjoyable option for a family meal or gathering. The zucchini boats are not only visually appealing but also a clever way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Overall, this recipe is a winner in terms of taste, nutrition, and presentation.

Enhance Your Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Guacamole: Create a creamy and flavorful guacamole with ripe avocados, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Cornbread: Whip up a batch of golden, buttery cornbread to complement the savory flavors of the taco stuffed zucchini boats.
Mango Salsa: Prepare a refreshing and sweet mango salsa with diced mango, red onion, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice to add a tropical twist to the meal.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Like Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a flavorful herb and garlic mixture before grilling for a delicious and healthy side dish.
Stuffed Bell Peppers: Fill colorful bell peppers with a savory mixture of ground meat, rice, and seasonings for a satisfying and hearty meal.
Mango Salsa Chicken: Top juicy grilled chicken with a refreshing and sweet mango salsa for a burst of tropical flavor in every bite.
Butternut Squash Soup: Simmer butternut squash with aromatic spices and creamy coconut milk for a comforting and velvety soup that's perfect for chilly days.
Berry Crisp: Combine fresh berries with a buttery oat crumble topping and bake until golden and bubbly for a delightful and easy dessert.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for a delicious bite-sized treat.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Whip up a creamy and flavorful dip by combining spinach, artichokes, and a blend of cheeses. Serve with crispy tortilla chips or toasted bread for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any chocolate lover's cravings.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender baked apples and a crispy oat topping. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and warmth.

Why trust this Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a delicious and healthy meal. The zucchinis are a nutritious and versatile ingredient, while the lean ground turkey provides a good source of protein. The combination of garlic powder, cumin, and other spices creates a flavorful and aromatic taco filling. The addition of mexican blend cheese and salsa enhances the dish with a burst of savory and tangy flavors. The careful instructions ensure a well-balanced and satisfying meal, making it a trustworthy choice for anyone seeking a wholesome and enjoyable dining experience.

Have you tried this Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe? Share your experience and discuss any variations or tips in the Recipe Sharing forum.
Can I use a different type of meat instead of ground turkey?
Yes, you can substitute ground turkey with ground beef, chicken, or even a plant-based meat alternative for a different flavor profile.
Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
Absolutely! You can replace the ground turkey with cooked quinoa, black beans, or a meat substitute. Just adjust the seasonings to your taste.
How can I make this recipe spicier?
If you prefer a spicier flavor, you can increase the amount of chili powder or add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the taco filling.
Can I prepare the zucchini boats in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the zucchini boats and the taco filling ahead of time and store them separately in the refrigerator. When you're ready to enjoy them, simply assemble the boats, top with cheese, and bake as directed.
What can I serve with taco stuffed zucchini boats?
These zucchini boats pair well with a side of Mexican rice, a fresh green salad, or some homemade guacamole for a complete and satisfying meal.

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