Years ago, when my daughter was in middle school, we both came up with a list of the top 5 foods we couldn’t live without if we could only eat 5 foods. Zucchini was at the top of her list (coffee was at the top of mine). Because of her love for zucchini, I usually prepare some sort of dish with it each time she comes home from college. I made these Best Stuffed Zucchini Boats for her most recent visit home, and they were a hit! They’re also relatively easy and quick to make.
I made these Best Stuffed Zucchini Boats dairy-free and gluten-free. The recipe below offers the option to make them with or without dairy and gluten — it’s simple to make them either way.
Like me, my daughter doesn’t eat dairy, although she doesn’t eat it because she has a lactose intolerance. We’re quite a pair — me with a dairy allergy; her with a lactose-intolerance. My poor husband ends up having to eat dairy-free most of the time at home too, but he LOVED these and asked me to make them again (so you don’t have to feel too sorry for him). 🙂
I used ground turkey (a house favorite), but you could use ground beef instead if you prefer. In the photos, you’ll also see some yellow squash. They work just as well as zucchini, and we had some left from a recent farmer’s market visit.
Scooping out the insides of the zucchini can be slightly tricky the first time you do it, but after one or two, you’ll get the hang of it, and it will be easy. It’s kind of like scooping out the middle of a cantaloupe. Except you can save the insides of the zucchini. I chopped up what I scooped out into about 1 inch pieces and sauteed them in a small pan with some olive oil and a little salt and pepper. They aren’t exactly pretty, but they are really delicious! So instead of throwing away what you scoop out, try sauteing it. 🙂
When scooping out the zucchini flesh, use a small spoon and start about a half inch back from the edge of your zucchini. The first time I ever made these, I made the mistake of scooping out the insides from edge to edge … creating a very leaky zucchini “boat.” You want to leave the edges on each side alone, so it will hold the filling.
The first couple times I made these, I didn’t use bread crumbs. But the last time I made them, I thought: what if I top with bread crumbs and get them a little crispy, and THEN melt the cheese on top? My instinct was right on! They kind of taste like zucchini pizzas. 🙂
One of my “secret ingredients” in this Best Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe is a gluten-free product called Hol-Grain Chicken Coating Mix. I used to be able to find it at Whole Foods, but I haven’t been able to find it in a store recently, so I buy it online via Amazon. There’s only 1 Tbsp in this recipe, so you can omit it, but I promise you it will taste better with it. And you will want to use this stuff on a LOT of things you cook, even if you don’t have to eat gluten-free. My husband doesn’t have any food issues, and he LOVES this stuff, calling it my “magic sprinkle stuff.” Note: if you buy from the Amazon link, the cost is the same to you, but I make a tiny commission, which helps keep my blog going. 🙂