You will love these taco boats because they are a healthy alternative to a typical taco with a tortilla.
As a Dietitian, I love putting an emphasis on ways to consume traditional foods we love (tacos) by butting a fun twist on the recipe; like tacos and zucchini taco boats.
For me, cooking and baking are both stress relievers. With cooking I have freedom — the freedom to add extra garlic if I want or add different vegetables to a soup. The creativity and imagination is endless with cooking!
And when I am baking it’s a time to be somewhat of a perfectionist while also testing my patience; remembering not to over mix the dough or adding in only 1 teaspoon of salt and not mistaking it for 1 tablespoon.
The specifics that go in to baking takes my mind off of everything else going on in my world due to the intense focus baking requires.
When cooking these stuffed zucchini boats today I had so much fun looking at the spice rack and thinking, ok what else can I add? And that is the beauty of cooking.
Zucchini taco boats ingredients
Don’t let the lengthy ingredient list fool you, most of what you’ll need for these Mexican zucchini boats are spices! For this zucchini taco boat recipe, you’ll need:
Zucchini: be sure to purchase decent sized zucchini.
Salsa: we like to buy spicy salsa, but of course you can use your favorite.
Ground turkey: you can substitute ground chicken or beef in these too!
Taco seasoning packet
Spices: I like to add a few extra seasonings in additional to the taco packet for more flavor!
White or yellow onion
Bell pepper: a red bell pepper, or your favorite color.
Tomato sauce: an 8 oz. can works great!
Jalapeño: seeded and membrane removed
Shredded cheese: we like using the Mexican 3 cheese blend on these!
Toppings of choice
How to make zucchini taco boats
To make these stuffed zucchini boats, you’ll first need to cut each zucchini in half, length-wise and cook for 1 minute in boiling water. Then scoop out the seeds from the zucchini and place inside a baking dish that has a thin layer of salsa spread over the bottom.
Once you’ve prepped the zucchini halves, make the taco filling. You’ll first need to brown the ground turkey, then add in the chopped veggies, spices, tomato sauce, and water. Scoop the taco filling into the zucchini boats, then sprinkle with cheese and bake until the zucchini is tender.
I like to top my zucchini taco boats with diced avocado and chopped scallions, but you can enjoy yours however you’d like!
Can I use another type of meat?
Of course! Any ground meat can be used in these Mexican zucchini boats. Ground beef, Italian sausage, or ground chicken would all work here.
Can I make these vegetarian?
If you don’t eat meat, you can substitute canned black beans for the turkey. Make sure to drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the filling. You’ll also want to sauté the veggies before adding the beans to the skillet (since the beans are already cooked).
Tips for making zucchini boats
Don’t throw out the insides you’ve scooped from zucchini boats! Chop up the bits of zucchini you’ve removed to make the boats and add it back into the taco filling.
If possible, try to purchase relatively fat zucchini for this recipe. Skinny zucchini can’t hold as much filling, and you’ll want lots of filling!
If you prefer spicier zucchini taco boats, leave the jalapeño seeds in the filling. Just be careful not to touch your eyes after slicing the jalapeño because the juice from the pepper really stings.
4med/lg.zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2cupsspicy salsa (or salsa of choice)
1lb.lean ground turkey
1oz.taco seasoning packet (1 packet)
1/2small white or yellow onion, minced
1largered bell pepper, diced
8oz.can tomato sauce (unsalted)
1tsp.red pepper chili flakes
1/2cupshredded cheese (I like a cheddar and jack)
1/4cupchopped scallions for topping
parsley for garnish
Prevent your screen from going dark
Preheat oven to 400° F. Place 1 cup of spicy salsa on the bottom of a large 9×13 inch baking dish.
Blanch the zucchini halves. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Place the zucchini halves (seeds removed) in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and set halves in the prepared baking dish.
Cook the ground turkey over medium heat in a large skillet, breaking it up up while it cooks. If sticking to pan, add in 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil. When meat is almost fully cooked add the taco seasoning, spices, onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, salsa, tomato sauce and water and mix well. Let this come to a simmer and cook 2-3 minutes more.
Using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats with the meat, dividing the taco meat equally. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes or until zucchini is cooked through. Top with avocado, tomatoes, parsley or any other fixings you like!
Prep this dish in advance! Assemble your zucchini boats earlier in the day, then store them covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them! Easy peasy.
Welcome to my tiny “korner” on the Internet! I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who loves cookies as much as kale. (OK, maybe I like cookies a little bit more but shh, don’t tell anyone). I am so glad you’re here! Follow along for hassle free, realistic and approachable recipes.
This is my absolute favorite meal ever since trying it the first time. It is so delicious and has made me like zucchini!
Aw I am soo so glad. Great way to use up all the summer zucchini we have right now too. Thank you!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed, thank you! 🙂 xo, Tawnie
I loved these! I wanted to try something new no was not disappointed. Quick question: can they be frozen?
Thanks so much Sara, I’m so glad! I don’t recommend freezing them. They would be pretty mushy after thawing! xx, Tawnie
Hi! Making these for a family I know. What would go well alongside this dish?
Hi Kristen! Thank you! We love having them with this cilantro rice: https://krollskorner.com/recipes/cilantro-lime-rice/ or even just a nice side salad. Hope they love it!
We loved these! Followed recipe exactly, and it turned out great.
Hi ALyssa! OMG I am so glad! Thank you!!