These bright Mediterranean stuffed zucchini boats make the perfect appetizer or side dish in less than 20 minutes! We’ve got healthy, vegetarian zucchini with Mediterranean favorites like cherry tomatoes, feta, fresh herbs, and a little lemon zest. You can grill the zucchini outdoors or right in your skillet, delicious either way. And if you want to change up your zucchini boats filling, be sure to check out all the ideas below!
Stuffed zucchini is not really a new idea. My mom has been making her famous stuffed zucchini for years–a recipe that’s been passed down for generations (if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend you check it out here.)
Ideas evolve, at least good ones do. And food is no exception. I, for one, enjoy seeing beloved traditional recipes take on a new life turning into equally delicious, but, perhaps, more accessible options.
Case in point: stuffed zucchini for the modern cook = zucchini boats!
There’s a reason people go nuts for zucchini boats. They are easy to make–no special “cheffy” skills needed–and they just make the perfect carrier for whatever filling you like! Just for fun, when you hop on Instagram next, just do a quick search for #zucchiniboats and you’ll get something north of 13,000 ideas!
How to Make These Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Making these grilled vegetarian zucchini boats is super simple. Here’s how it goes:
1. Brush zucchini halves with Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil, and season to your taste (I used salt, pepper and dry oregano)
2.Grill, either outdoors or even in your skillet or griddle. Tip: grill zucchini until tender and nicely charred, this brings out the delicious flavor!
3.Turn grilled zucchini halves into boats by simply scooping the flesh out (do not discard the tender charred flesh, it’s so tasty).
4. Make a filling/stuffing for the grilled zucchini boats. The possibilities for the filling here are endless here (see more examples below), but I kept my filling simple, leaning more towards fresh and vegetarian options.
To make filling, Combine zucchini flesh with Mediterranean favorites like tomato, feta, green onions, and fresh herbs. I love using a couple different herbs here like mint and parsley…so fresh! And if you like a little extra zest, then do as I have and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Other Filling Options for Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Just a few more Mediterranean filling ideas for your zucchini boats here, if you ever want to change things up:
- You can change up the existing filling/stuffing in this recipe by simply adding more vegetarian items like: a handful baby spinach, olives, marinated artichokes. And if you like things spicy, add a pinch of hot pepper flakes (Oooh or even a little harissa, which is not necessarily spicy but will add an interesting kick!)
- You can turn this into Zucchini Boat Antipasti (say that with an Italian accent, it’s fun!) Just give your filling/stuffing a little Italian flare using baby mozzarella, fresh basil, and maybe a little cured meat like Prosciutto or salami.
- If you’re up for a little extra work, then make the meat and rice stuffing from this stuffed pepper recipe (it does make more than you need for 6 zucchini halves, but then you’ll have more rice to eat later. Or, make more zucchini boats!) I like this option more if you were serving them for dinner.
Serve them as an Appetizer or Side
Mediterranean grilled zucchini boats are an obvious choice for mezze or appetizer hour. If you’re serving a larger crowd, you can cut the zucchini halves crosswise to create smaller “boats” that are much easier to pick up (no fork and knife needed.) A dollop of Tzatziki sauce on top doesn’t hurt a bit! Mezze platter; Chickpea Egg salad; Smoky Eggplant Dip; Kibbeh and the like are great items to add a long for a full grazing table.
More Recipes to Try
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Easy grilled zucchini boats filled with Mediterranean favorites like tomatoes, feta, and fresh herbs. A bright and healthy appetizer or side! Be sure to check out the notes for tips and ideas.
- 3 zucchini, trimmed and sliced length-wise into halves
- Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, sprinkle to your liking
- Dried oregano, large sprinkle to your liking
- 6 oz/170.1 g cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
- 3 green onions (both white and green parts), ends trimmed, chopped
- 1/2 cup/ 75 g crumbled feta cheese, more to your liking
- 6 to 10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Large handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Splash lemon juice (not too much)
- If cooking on gas grill, lightly oil the grate and preheat grill to medium-low. (OR, heat a cast iron skillet or indoor griddle over medium heat.)
- Brush zucchini generously with extra virgin olive oil on both sides. Season zucchini (particularly flesh side) with salt, freshly ground pepper, and oregano.
- Place zucchini, flesh-side down, on the preheated grill (or indoor griddle). Grill for 3 to 5 minutes until soft and nicely charred, then turn on back side and grill for another 3 to 5 minutes until this side is also tender and gains some color. (If using an indoor skillet or griddle, you may need to adjust heat to medium-high.)
- Remove zucchini from heat and let cool enough to handle.
- To create zucchini boats, use a small spoon to scoop out the flesh into a small bowl (do not discard.) Squeeze all liquid out of zucchini flesh (you might use a linen kitchen towel or paper towel to do this.)
- Now add zucchini flesh to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients (cherry tomatoes, green onions, feta, mint, parsley, lemon zest, and small splash of lemon juice). Sprinkle a little more oregano, if you like, and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Mix everything together to make the filling.
- Spoon the filling mixture into the prepared zucchini boats and arrange on a serving platter. Enjoy!
- Cook’s Tips: You can cut the zucchini halves crosswise to create smaller “boats” that can be easily picked up by hand. This is ideal if you’re serving a larger crowd as an appetizer (yields 12 instead of 6).
- Cook’s Tip: Grill zucchini until tender and nicely charred – this brings out the delicious flavor!
- Cook’s Tip: A drizzle of Greek Tzatziki sauce really seals the deal on these zucchini boats. Find recipe for homemade Tzatziki here.
- Make Ahead Option: You can grill the zucchini ahead of time, then when ready to serve, follow recipe from step #5.
- What to Serve Zucchini Boats with: Serve zucchini boats as part of a larger mezze or appetizer table next to things like, Mezze platter, Chickpea Egg salad; Smoky Eggplant Dip; Kibbeh and the like. OR turn them into dinner next to your favorite protein like: easy lemon chicken; Greek keftedes; Pan-Seared Trout; or Baked Salmon.
- Other Filling Options: You can change up the existing filling in this recipe by simply adding more vegetarian items like a handful baby spinach, olives, or marinated artichokes. Or turn this into Zucchini Boats Antipasti. Just give your filling a little Italian flare using baby mozzarella, fresh basil, and maybe a little cured meat like Prosciutto or salami.
- Visit The Mediterranean Dish Store for our Greek extra virgin olive oils and more! Our Early Harvest and Private Reserve extra virgin olive oils are both from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives. And you’ll also find a selection of all-natural and organic spices for Mediterranean cooking. Try the Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle, or create your own 6-pack of spices.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Grilled or Seared
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Zucchini boats, grilled zucchini, stuffed zucchini boats, vegetarian zucchini boats
*This recipe/article has been republished with new content for readers’ benefit.