Vegan zucchini boats are a delicious summertime dinner dish. Fresh zucchini is stuffed with a meatless tomato sauce and veggies, topped with dairy-free cheese and crispy breadcrumbs, and baked to perfection. This stuffed zucchini boats recipe is easier to make and healthier than traditional lasagna, but every bite of these beauties is loaded with the classic Italian flavors you love!
Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta. Spaghetti, linguini, macaroni… Yes, please!
And one of my favorite pasta dishes is lasagna. There is something incredibly satisfying about layer after layer of tender noodles, zesty tomato sauce, and gooey cheese all snuggled up and baked together. But during the summer, I’ll be honest – it’s hard to want a dinner that’s so heavy, no matter how yummy it might be.
Enter the stuffed zucchini boat. These bad boys are overflowing with that tomato-y, meaty (plant-based!) cheesy goodness you know and love, but instead of noodles, they’re made with tender and delicious fresh zucchini. And although they are still baked, the zucchini boats are only in the oven for about 25 minutes. In fact, even with prep time, the entire vegan zucchini boat recipe is ready in just over 30 minutes.
Give this magnificent meatless dish a try for an easy and healthy(ish) summertime dinner!
- Impossible beef – or other vegan beef substitute
- Yellow onion
- Red bell pepper
- Garlic cloves
- Marinara sauce
- Italian seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Vegan mozzarella cheese
- Italian breadcrumbs
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
How to Make Vegan Zucchini Boats
Are you ready for how quick and easy this tasty, healthy, super fabulous recipe is to prepare? Follow these 3 simple steps below to make the BEST yummy and healthy stuffed vegan zucchini boats!
Step #1: Prep the Zucchini
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t worry, it won’t be on for long 🙂
Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides of the zucchini. You want to remove and discard all of the seeds and pulpy-ness. Place the zucchini halves on a baking sheet, and set them aside.
Step #2: Make the Plant-Based “Meat Sauce”
Next, cook the Impossible beef in a large skillet. Stir and crumble the beef with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 7 to 10 minutes. Once it resembles cooked ground beef, transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet add the diced onion and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or so, until the onions become translucent. Then add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
Lastly, stir in the marina sauce, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes (if using). Mix well, and then remove the sauce from the heat.
Step #3: Stuff and Bake the Zucchini Boats
Scoop a generous amount of the vegan meat sauce into each zucchini half. They should be just slightly overflowing but not spilling out over the edges.
Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
Meanwhile, mix together the breadcrumbs with olive oil. When the 15 minutes is up, remove from the oven and top each boat with vegan cheese and the breadcrumbs.
Bake again for 10 more minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven and let cool for just a minute. Sprinkle on some fresh chopped basil just before serving warm, and enjoy!
Vegan Zucchini Boats Recipe Variations
This tried-and-true vegan zucchini boats recipe is my personal favorite. But there are lots of little tweaks you can make to create zucchini boats that, well, float your boat!
- Make these as stuffed Mexican zucchini boats: Swap the marinara sauce and Italian seasoning with your fave salsa and taco seasoning. Use dairy-free shredded cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella.
- Sub Italian breadcrumbs with panko for a crunchier breading.
- Use whatever veggies you like in your tomato sauce! I included diced red bell pepper and mushrooms, but you can basically load them with any pizza-inspired toppings. Try sliced black olives, green peppers, banana peppers, or even pineapple if that’s your thing!
- Up the “cheesiness” with grated vegan parmesan. Mix it in with the breadcrumbs or panko just before topping the boats and baking.
Serving and Storage Suggestions
Enjoy homemade stuffed zucchini boats with Italian-inspired side dishes. These are pretty low carb on their own and so you can definitely pair with some pasta goodness, like spaghetti or orzo, if you want a heartier meal.
Vegan risotto or a Vegan Tomato Galette with Pesto are also great to serve for a complete dinner.
Vegan zucchini boats will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven for the best taste.
Because cooked zucchini doesn’t do well when frozen and then defrosted, I do not recommend freezing this dish.
If you tried this vegan zucchini boats recipe, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes! Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to see what I’m currently cooking up!
Vegan Zucchini Boats
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 12-ounce package impossible beef can use any plant-based beef substitute
- 1/2 yellow onion diced finely (about 1 cup)
- 1 red bell pepper diced (about 1 cup)
- 4 ounce mushrooms diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese I like Follow Your Heart brand
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- fresh basil for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prep zucchini: Slice zucchini in half length-wise. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides of the zucchini, removing the seeds. Discard. Place zucchini on a baking sheet and set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook the Impossible Beef (about 7-10 minutes). Crumble the beef with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add onion and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add mushroom and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Add marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Mix and remove from heat.
- Stuff zucchini halves with filling. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- While zucchinis are baking, mix breadcrumbs with olive oil.
- When zucchini is done baking, top with vegan cheese then breadcrumbs. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil. Serve warm.
Please note this post may contain affiliate links which does not impact the cost to you, but gives me a small commission. Thank you for your support!