Green Queen Recipes: Baked Zucchini Boats That The Kiddos Will Love (Plus They Are Gluten-Free!)

We were inspired to create this recipe from a friend who whipped this up within 30 minutes as part of a Christmas starter. It’s healthy, refreshing and light. However, with a little creativity, you can make it as a meal on its own.

Zucchinis are available in Hong Kong all year round and we think the cucumber’s underrated cousin should be given more of a starring role in the kitchen (and not just for zoodles). We do try have a few zucchini recipes in our arsenal already, so make sure you give them a try and sample this veggie’s versatility. From grating it to spiralizing it, the recipe options are endless. Find our Lentil Bolognese here and our Quinoa & Zucchini Patties here. And don’t forget it’s nutritional value – the gourd is high in potassium, which can help control blood pressure, plus it’s packed with antioxidants.

hollowed out zuccini boats

About The Recipe

This gluten- free vegetarian dish can be served as a starter or as a main. It is simple to make, while oozing in flavour. For a vegan take, replace the cheese with a nutritional yeast and almond flour crumble- just sprinkle to it on and bake as per directions.

We create a zucchini boat by cutting the zucchini lengthways in half, removing the soft inner parts with a spoon, being careful not to puncture the skin and then subsequently stuffing the ‘shell’ with a tomato based filling. We’re not one to waste edible food, so we also chopped the inner parts of the zucchini and added it to our sauce. To give it that Mediterranean twist and to help increase its nutrient value, we added some shredded swiss chard, useful for regulating blood sugar levels, didn’t you know? Finally, the grated Cheddar gives it that umami unctuousness that ties it all together. Grate the cheese directly on the boats and then throw them in the oven for a few minutes. You want the cheese to be properly melted.

If you want to make it a more substantial meal, why not crack an egg in it before filling it with sauce for some additional protein. Or you could throw some cooked quinoa into the sauce to increase the nutritional density. We also love the idea of stuffing it with our Quinoa & Mushroom Risotto.

close up of zuccini boats

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main

Ingredients

  • 4 zucchinis, halved lengthways, flesh scooped out and finely chopped
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • pink Himalayan salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3 leaves Swiss chard, stalks removed then shredded
  • 4 tbsp grated aged cheddar cheese

baked zucchini boats

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Slice zucchinis lengthways in half and thinly slice the underside of the zucchini to stabilize it.
  2. Scoop out the soft flesh with a spoon, making sure not to puncture the shell. Finely chop the flesh then set it aside.
  3. Place zucchini shells on an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a pan with the olive oil on medium heat. When it’s hot, sauté the onions, garlic and fresh tomatoes for a couple of minutes. Stir through crushed tomato, paste, vinegar if using, oregano and soft parts of the zucchini. Add salt and pepper to tase, stir and bring to the boil on medium-high heat to reduce the sauce for 5 – 10 minutes.
  5. Remove zucchini shells from the oven and fill the bottom with swiss chard. If you want to crack an egg in, do so now. Scoop spoonfuls of tomato sauce until the boat is full, sprinkle with cheddar cheese (or nutritional yeast and almond flour mix if you are going vegan) and pop it back in to the oven for another 5 -10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
  6. Remove boats from the oven. Serve two boats per starter, three to four per main.