Best Italian Stuffed Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats
Looking for the perfect meal to serve for dinner? My Italian Stuffed Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats recipe is just what you need! This healthy dish is loaded with lean ground turkey, delicious marinara sauce and tons of flavor! Italian Stuffed Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats are great for the whole family and for meal prep.
Why you will love this healthy recipe
It’s low carb, versatile for any meal plan and it’s packed with nutritious ingredients! Turkey stuffed zucchini boats are naturally gluten free and make great leftovers so you can enjoy a quick lunch the next day. Who says healthy has to be boring?!
More Ground Turkey Recipes to Try: Shakshuka with Ground Turkey
Ingredients needed for Italian Stuffed Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats
- 1 pound of ground turkey. I recommend 93/7 as you want to keep some of the fat for flavor.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- White onion. Red or yellow onion and sweet onion can be used as substitute.
- Green bell pepper. Green peppers are my personal preference for this dish. Any bell pepper will work.
- Dried herbs and seasonings. I put together my own spice blend for this but Italian seasoning is also good.
- Fresh Italian parsley.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese or a blend of parmesan cheese and mozzarella.
- Marinara sauce.
- Nonstick spray.
How to make this zucchini boat recipe
1. Start with preheating your oven at 400 degrees.
2. To make the turkey filling, grab a large skillet. Over medium heat, add about a tablespoon of olive oil. When the pan is ready, add the green bell peppers and the diced onion. Let them cook for about 6-7 minutes or until they start to sweat their juices.
3. Add the ground turkey. Break it up with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Season with some salt and pepper and it looks for 5 minutes. Then add in the seasonings and continue to the cook turkey until it is brown, (about 10 minutes. For ground turkey, you want to make sure it fully cooked to 165 degrees.
4. Pour in the marinara sauce and add the parsley. Give it a stir and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
5. While the meat mixture is finishing, start on prepping the zucchini. Cut the whole zucchini in half, lengthwise. Then scrape out the insides of the zucchini halves. Place the prepared zucchini boats inside the baking dish lined with parchment paper coated with non-stick cooking spray. Then add the turkey mixture to the boats. Place it in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Once they are done, add the cheese and place back in the oven for a couple of more minutes to melt the cheese.
One thing you will love about this recipe is the different ways you can enjoy it. Keto turkey zucchini boats can be made by omitting the cheese and using sugar free tomato sauce or marinara. It can also be adjusted to Whole 30 or Paleo. Lean ground beef, ground chicken or Italian sausage is yummy in this. Add in corn, black beans and some chili powder for a southwest stuffed boat or taco seasoning to a make a Mexican inspired turkey zucchini boat. Top it with fresh cilantro and sour cream and use cheddar cheese.
Try meat lovers pizza boats by adding pepperoni or salami on top with marinara, black olives and melted cheese.
Mediterranean flavors are good as well if you want to top with red bell peppers, feta and red onions.
Easy zucchini boats can also be made vegan or vegetarian by omitting the meat. A mixture of beans such as garbanzo, black and red beans is so tasty! You can also use various veggies or crumbled tofu.
Next time you prepare this, try any of your favorite toppings!
Looking for more dinner ideas? Check out my: Bison Meatloaf and also my Four Pepper and Cauliflower Chili.
Storing and reheating
The best way to store leftovers is in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. These also freeze well. Make sure to use a freezer-safe container.
What to serve with zucchini turkey boats
Zucchini boats are great to serve with pasta, rice, quinoa, and salads. They can be an appetizer or main dish. If you want to serve as a an appetizer, after you cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, cut it again in half diagonally.
What to do with the zucchini pulp
Once you scrape out the inside of the zucchini, you can use it in sauces, make risotto or bake with it to make sweet zucchini quick bread or moist zucchini muffins.
Tips for making Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats
Medium-sized zucchini is the best for this recipe. Larger zucchinis will work too.
I recommend 93/7 ground meat as you want to keep some of the fat for flavor. If you use 99% fat free ground turkey, it is a bit dryer but will retain some moisture from the marinara sauce.
Any kind of marinara will work here. I prefer Sonoma Heirloom Tomato sauce which is actually labeled for pizza sauce but is dang delicious in this recipe.
A baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a 9×13 baking dish can be used to bake the zucchini boats.
Different types of lean protein will be scrumptious. Leftover vegetables that need to be used up can be mixed in as well.
Use a melon baller or spoon to scrape the inside of the zucchini.
If using as meal prep, the meat and sauce mixture can be made the day before. The flavors will be more vibrant!
Pro Tip: Do you have a food processor? To make dicing your bell pepper and onion a breeze, throw it in the food processor on “chop” mode for about 5-7 seconds and let it do all the chopping for you!
Why I created this recipe
Trust me when I say I do in fact eat carbs, but I enjoy low carb dinners. One of my favorite things about this easy dinner is that it’s great for my entire family. The family has theirs with pasta and I have mine as is or with a salad. I can’t resist the flavorful filling and love that these are common ingredients I normally have in my fridge.
I love Italian food and this a great way to enjoy the flavors without all the carbs. This is simply clean and delicious.
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Best Italian Stuffed Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats
- large sheet pan or baking 9×13 baking dish if using a sheet pan, line it with parchment paper
- large pan
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced (see note)
- 1/2 cup white onion diced ( see note)
- 1 1/2 cup marinara
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more if needed
- non -stick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line the sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a large pan, add the olive oil. When it's ready, add the green bell pepper and onion. Season with a touch of salt and black pepper and let it cook for about 6-7 minute or until the juices release.
- Add the ground turkey. Season with another dash of salt and pepper. (optional) Break up the turkey with your spatula and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add the seasonings in and stir.
- Let the turkey cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
- Pour in the marinara and add the fresh parsley. Stirring occasionally, let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes on low.
- While the meat sauce is finishing, start on the zucchini by cutting them in half, lengthwise. Scrape out the insides.
- Spray the non-stick cooking spray on the baking dish. Place the prepared zucchini boats inside the dish. Season with a touch of salt and pepper.
- Divide and spoon the turkey filling into the boats evenly. Top with cheese.
- Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!
Making this? I would love to see! Tag me on Instagram @whensaltyandsweetunite and #whensaltyandsweetunite
My family enjoyed this. Good flavor!