Healthy Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats – low carb baked zucchini boats stuffed with lean ground turkey sausage, tomatoes, and topped with crispy basil breadcrumbs. An easy, healthy, all-in-one dinner that your whole family will love! Recipe at | @wellplated
4.8 from 5 votes
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Italian Zucchini Boats

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
Healthy Zucchini Boats stuffed with lean Italian turkey sausage and tomatoes, topped with Parmesan breadcrumbs. A quick, easy, and delicious low-carb dinner!


  • 4 zucchini — 5 to 6 inches long
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil — divided
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian turkey sausage — casings removed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper — diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan — plus additional for serving


  1. Place a rack in the upper third of your oven. Preheat to 425 degrees F.
  2. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and discard the seeds. Then, scoop out the soft center flesh to create shallow zucchini “shells,” with walls about 1/2 inch thick, reserving the center flesh. Arrange the zucchini shells in a baking dish. Roughly chop the center flesh and set it aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add the sausage, onion, and bell pepper. Using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, break apart the sausage, sautéing it together with the vegetables, until the onions are soft and the sausage is browned and fully cooked, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook 1 additional minute, until tomato paste is broken down and incorporated. Add in the reserved zucchini flesh and heat through for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Taste and add additional salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes as desired.
  5. Toast the bread slices, then tear them into large pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the basil and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Pulse until the bread is broken into large crumbs. Add the Parmesan and pulse just until incorporated, 2 or 3 times.
  6. Fold half of the basil bread crumbs into the sausage mixture. With a small spoon, mound the sausage stuffing into the shells, then sprinkle the tops of the stuffed zucchini with the remaining bread crumbs. Roast in oven until the zucchini is heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • Tip: Grate cheese the easy way! Before starting the recipe, grate an entire wedge of Parmesan cheese right in your food processor. Cut the wedge into chunks, place them in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, then pulse until ground. Measure out and set aside the 1/2 cup needed for the recipe. Store the remainder in your refrigerator for weeks. You'll always have fresh Parm on hand! Then proceed with making the stuffed zucchini, no need to wash the processor bowl in between.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a casserole dish the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. If the bread crumbs start to brown too much, loosely tent the dish with foil. I do not recommend freezing this recipe, as the zucchini will likely become mushy.
  • To make the recipe gluten free, use gluten-free bread. To make the recipe dairy free, omit the Parmesan (or try replacing it with nutritional yeast).
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Healthy Low Carb Meal, Italian Zucchini Boats

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 4)) — Calories: 321, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 541mg, Carbohydrates: 18g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 18g

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