Pizza zucchini boats are an easy, nutritious alternative to your weekly pizza night. Halved and cored zucchini are filled with cooked and crumbled sausage, marinara sauce, melty cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings.
Pizza zucchini boats are perfect for those busy weeknights because they're ready in about 30 minutes. Plus, they're easy to customize with your favorite pizza toppings like pepperoni, onion, olives, or mushrooms.
Fresh zucchini is halved and cored, then filled with cooked and crumbled sausage, marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and your favorite pizza toppings. Today, we've added pepperoni.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need about 3 medium sized zucchini (or 4 small zucchini) for this recipe. I used a 9x13 casserole dish, so I looked for zucchini about 9 inches long that would fill the pan nicely.
- Olive oil - Any neutral cooking oil works.
- Italian ground sausage - Mild or hot sausage works - choose your favorite. Sausage can also be substituted with plain ground meat, like ground turkey or ground beef. I recommend lightly seasoning your plain ground meat with some salt, pepper, and paprika to make up for the lost flavor of substituted sausage.
- Salt and pepper - Lightly seasons your zucchini boats.
- Pizza sauce - Feel free to use homemade or store bought pizza sauce or marinara sauce. I don't recommend substituting with plain tomato sauce unless you plan to add your own seasonings.
- Italian seasoning - Enhances the flavor of your marinara sauce.
- Cheeses - I used a combination of freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. I highly recommend grating your cheese fresh from a block for best flavor and texture. Pre-grated cheese are often coated in anti-clumping powders that can become grainy when melted.
- Pizza toppings - I used pepperoni today, but feel free to add your favorite toppings, like olives, sliced onions, peppers, or mushrooms. If using large pepperoni, I recommend quartering them into smaller pieces.
Optional pizza toppings
Customize your zucchini boats with your favorite pizza toppings. This recipe makes it easy for everyone to customize their own zucchini boat.
- Bell pepper
- Extra cheese
- Fresh basil
- A dash of hot sauce (after baking)
Do I need to peel my zucchini?
No, there's no need to peel your zucchini to make zucchini boats. In fact, the skin contains many nutrients and fiber you'd otherwise be missing out on. The skin also helps hold the shape of your boats as they bake.
The skin of zucchini boats is perfectly edible and can be enjoyed with the rest of the zucchini boat.
Can zucchini boats be frozen?
Technically yes, zucchini boats can be frozen. However, zucchini releases quite a bit of water and gets a little soggy after being frozen and thawed.
For best quality, I highly recommend eating your zucchini boats fresh instead of freezing and thawing.
What to serve with zucchini boats
Want to stretch your zucchini boats recipe a little further? Serve one zucchini boat per person along with a side dish or two, like a side salad and some garlic bread. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Side salad
- Garlic bread
- Roasted vegetables
- Steamed cilantro rice
- Corn on the cob
For more ideas, check out my full post: 25 side dishes to serve with zucchini boats
Pizza Zucchini Boats
- 3 medium zucchini, about 9-10" long
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 12 ounces (340 g) Italian ground sausage
- 8 ounces (226 g) pizza sauce
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup (113 g) freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup (25 g) freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 12 pepperoni slices, cut into quarters
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
- Cut the stems off your zucchini, then slice in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, carefully scape out some of the flesh from each zucchini half and discard (or save for another recipe). Place into prepared 9x13 pan, cut side up. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add crumbled Italian sausage and cook until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat, add marinara sauce and Italian seasoning, and stir until combined.
- Once boats have par-baked, remove from oven and top with sausage filling. Sprinkle tops with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Last, top with pepperoni (or your favorite pizza toppings).
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until zucchini can easily be pierced through with a fork.
- Calories shown are for one boat (or one zucchini half), if your recipe makes six boats.
- Leftover zucchini boats will keep for 3 to 4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until warmed throughout.