These Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats are the perfect meal when you're in the mood for something light and delicious. Warm zucchini is stuffed with juicy ground turkey, flavorful pasta sauce, and fluffy couscous.
Table of Contents
About these Zucchini Boats
Almost four years ago, I ate a SunBasket meal that inspired me to make these Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats. I loved the idea of stuffing a vegetable with my favorite fillings. It's a great way to enjoy the flavors and foods you love as a lower carb meal and also sneak in more veggies!
I stuffed my zucchini boats with juicy ground turkey, tomato sauce, and Trader Joe's couscous. If you haven't had their couscous, you need to buy it immediately. I personally think it's the best in the market.
After stuffing, I topped my Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats with shredded cheese and let it get all melty. The whole meal felt like a gourmet Bolognese. It's so good and your whole family will love it! Plus, it's a great recipe for zucchini season so the next time you end up with too many courgettes on hand, make sure to try these stuffed zucchini.
- Zucchini: Larger is better! They won't break when you try to hollow them out.
- Couscous: Again, I highly recommend the Trader Joe's brand!
- Ground Turkey: I used 93% lean ground turkey for this recipe. The extra fat makes this dish SHINE!
- Pasta Sauce: Use your favorite marinara. I used Mid’s Garlic and Onion.
- Shredded Cheese: I used an Italian blend with parmesan, asiago, and also mozzarella cheese.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
There are so many different ways to enjoy this zucchini boat recipe. Change it up and try:
- Zucchini - Try this recipe using yellow squash, bell peppers, or with portobello mushrooms as your boat.
- Meat - Ground chicken, lean ground beef, or Italian sausage can also be used. Or keep it plant based and use black beans.
- Sauce - Try an alfredo variation or make the recipe with buffalo sauce (I suggest cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream if you're going to make buffalo turkey zucchini boats).
- Grain - Instead of couscous, orzo would work great because it has a similar texture. You can also try brown rice, quinoa or Right Rice if you’re gluten-free. If you follow a low carb diet, skip the grain or use cauliflower rice instead.
How to Make This Recipe
1. Let’s start by preparing the zucchini. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Halve the zucchinis long ways and carefully remove the insides with a spoon. Then, spray the zucchini halves with cooking oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet or baking dish (ensuring they do not overlap) and bake for 25 minutes. You can save the zucchini pulp for another recipe or freeze and sneak into smoothies!
2. While the zucchinis bake, prepare the couscous according to the box instructions. While the couscous cooks, let's work on the ground turkey. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium heat. Add ground turkey, diced red onion, and also the dried basil.
3. Sauté ground turkey until fully cooked, breaking up into smaller chunks with a meat masher it cooks. Pour in pasta sauce and mix so all of the meat is coated.
4. At this point, the couscous should be done. After draining and rinsing, add the pasta to the pan with the meat.
5. Using a spoon, add the turkey filling into each zucchini boat. You want them almost overflowing.
6. Top the boats with shredded cheese and put them back into the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. These reheat well in the microwave making them a great option for meal prep. I advise against freezing them as zucchini have a high water content, which will cause them to become soggy after thawing.
If you have a melon baller, use it to scoop out the zucchini. If not, a spoon will also work. I recommend taking a sharp knife and tracing around the edges of where you plan to scoop to make the scooping easier. Fresh zucchini is VERY delicate, so scoop gently and try not to poke through to the zucchini skin. I broke a few of my boats when making them for the first time.
Besides the melted cheese noted in the recipe, I like to add fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or fresh cilantro if I have them on hand or some diced onion (red or green). I also like a drizzle of balsamic glaze over top, some cracked black pepper and toasted bread crumbs.
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Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats
- Chef's Knife
- Cutting Board
- melon baller optional
- Meat masher
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Oven safe dish
- 3 large zucchinis
- salt + pepper
- ⅔ cup cooked couscous
- cooking spray or oil
- 1 lb 93/7 ground turkey
- ¼ red onion, diced
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 16 oz pasta sauce of choice
- ½ cup Italian blend cheese
- Let’s start by preparing the zucchini. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Halve the zucchinis long ways and carefully remove the insides with a spoon or melon baller. Then, spray the zucchini halves with cooking oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
- While the zucchini bakes, prepare the couscous according to the box instructions.
- While the couscous cooks, let's work on the ground turkey. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium heat. Add ground turkey, diced red onion, and also the dried basil.
- Sauté ground turkey until fully cooked, breaking up into smaller chunks with a meat masher it cooks. At this point, the couscous should be done. Add it to the cooked meat.
- Then, pour pasta sauce into the skillet and mix.
- Using a spoon, add the meat mixture into each cooked zucchini boat.
- Top the boats with shredded cheese and put them back into the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted to your liking.
- Serve & enjoy! 😊
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