This is my super fast (well, relatively fast) version of stuffed zucchini boats. It’s one of the few ways I’ve been able to make zucchini disappear at the dinner table, it requires minimal prep, and it’s pretty versatile. All of that makes it one my favorite “back pocket” recipes for when zucchini’s on sale and I have extra marinara sauce in the freezer.

Tip: using a really good pasta or marinara sauce is key. 

Prep Time: 30 min | Cook Time: 20 min | Serves: 4


  • 4 medium-large to large zucchini
  • olive oil (for sautéing)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 jar of store-bought or homepage marinara sauce (whichever flavor floats your boat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, diced small
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
  • salt & fresh ground black pepper
  • dried parsley, dried basil and crushed red pepper (all optional and to taste)


Wash zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, melon baller, or similar tool, scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a thin wall behind. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this (without splitting the skin) is to leave a thick wall behind initially then scrape it down thin.

Reserve 3/4s of the scooped out zucchini and chop this up small. Toss this into a large bowl with the chicken and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

While the oven heats up, sauté the onion oven medium-high heat till translucent. Add garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Note: Taste your pasta sauce before completing the above step. If you’ve selected or are using a pretty garlicky sauce or one that already has a good bit of onion in it, you may want to omit this step. 

Remove from heat and mix together with the chicken and zucchini. Add in the pasta sauce and mix well. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and sauce ratio per taste. If the sauce is rather bland, consider adding dried parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, or all of the above.

Place hollowed out zucchini boats on a 9×13 sheet pan and fill (by fill, I mean overflow) each boat with the chicken/sauce mixture.

Top with shredded parmesan cheese and bake until lightly brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving (they’ll be pretty flimsy at first).


  • By no means do you have to use chicken here. You could use ground beef or some italian sausage instead and be perfectly delighted.
  • For the cheese fanatics: add in 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese to the filling.
  • For the toppings fanatics: mix together 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan. Use this mixture, instead of just parmesan, to top off your boats.