These Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats are an easy, healthy weeknight dinner plus they reheat well for the perfect make-ahead dinner during the week.
When I was a kid, we had a garden outside our kitchen where, for one summer, we grew zucchinis.
We may have grown them other years, but I can distinctly remember the garden for one specific zucchini season because the zucchini grew to be the size of watermelons. Like giant, long watermelons that were bigger than your head.
Now, I have no idea how on earth the zucchinis grew to be so big, but they were still edible and tasted amazing.
My mom decided to turn them into zucchini boats because they were already essentially boats so why not? We’d make a modified spaghetti with meat sauce, stuff the zucchinis, and it was absolute perfection.
Now, I haven’t been so lucky as to find giant watermelon-sized zucchini in the stores or farmers markets much as an adult, but I can still enjoy the same easy meal nonetheless. In fact, these turkey and quinoa stuffed zucchini boats have become an easy weeknight meal my family and I enjoy and they use regular-sized zucchinis.
HOW TO MAKE TURKEY STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS
Let’s get straight into it and discuss how to make baked stuffed zucchini ‘cuz I’m super excited about this recipe. Out of all the zucchini boat recipes, this zucchini boat recipe is definitely my favorite.
-Turkey stuffed zucchini boats are the perfect mix of ground turkey zucchini boats and quinoa stuffed zucchini boats. <-LOVE.
To make this stuffed zucchini recipe:
- preheat oven to 400 degrees F;
- scrape out the seeds and inner flesh of zucchini with a spoon;
- place zucchini cut-side up on a baking dish and season with salt and pepper;
- stuff the zucchini with the sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese;
- transfer to oven and bake.
These healthy stuffed zucchini boats are easy enough to make during the weeknight, but also work great reheated and when frozen. The healthy stuffed zucchini keep great in the fridge and reheat very well so I like prepping the zucchini boats ahead of time in meal prep containers for the busy weeks. There is seriously NOTHING better than grabbing one of these babies out of the fridge on a busy weeknight and enjoying a hearty, healthy, and delicious meal.
And yep, you can totally freeze zucchini boats and have them as a yummy dinner anytime you want for those busy weeknights. If you’re looking to freeze them, I recommend following these steps for the best results:
- Allow the stuffed zucchini to cool completely (this will help avoid the zucchini getting soggy when reheated).
- Place the stuffed zucchini into an airtight freezer-safe container. If you need to stack them, you can place a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap in between the layers to keep them from sticking
- Remove the stuffed zucchini when you plan to eat them and thaw in the refrigerator.
The stuffed zucchini boats can be frozen for up to 4-6 months.
IS ZUCCHINI GOOD FOR YOU?
Let’s go over all the reasons why these stuffed zucchini boats are a great healthy meal by discussing the ingredients.
The main ingredient – zucchini.
Is zucchini good for you? Yes, it is!
- high in folate;
- omega-3 fatty acids;
BENEFITS OF TURKEY
I love combining quinoa with ground turkey because it provides two forms of healthy and lean high protein into the recipe. They work so well together in the filling and make the boats a yummy better-for-you weeknight meal, which is awesome. Quinoa and ground turkey are both lean proteins and I’m sure you already know how amazing quinoa is. I discussed it many times here, on the blog. So let’s talk about the benefits of turkey instead.
- is a great source of protein;
- is a rich source of niacin;
- is a rich source of vitamin B6;
- contains vitamin B12;
- contains zinc;
- is low in fat.
For all these reasons plus how easy these zucchini boats are to make, you’ve got yourself one super awesome weeknight dinner.
HOW TO COOK QUINOA
To make these zucchini boats healthy, you need lean turkey, sauce, and cooked quinoa. If you don’t know how to cook quinoa, follow these easy steps:
- Combine quinoa with low sodium chicken broth (or other liquid, water works too) in a saucepan. The ratio is 1 cup of uncooked quinoa to 2 cups of broth or another liquid.
- Bring the broth and quinoa to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer the quinoa until tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Fluff quinoa with a fork.
HOW LONG TO COOK STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS
If you want to avoid the soggy mess that sometimes happens when you make stuffed zucchini boats, bake the zucchini boats with ground turkey just until zucchinis are tender.
Tender not mushy, ok? You want to avoid the mushiness at all costs. This should take approximately 15-20 minutes.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS
For a light dinner, these stuffed zucchini boats are filling and satisfying on their own. However, after a long busy day, you might need something extra alongside them. I know I do. Wondering what to serve with stuffed zucchini boats? Try:
- whole wheat bread;
- a side salad – warm spinach salad or a fresh greens salad;
- whole wheat pasta with a marinara sauce;
- for a low-carb meal, opt for roasted veggies or fresh veggies.
2 MORE HEALTHY TURKEY RECIPE IDEAS
The zucchini boats turkey are great for a light, delicious dinner. But turkey, in general, is a great option when you want to enjoy a healthy and light meal. So I figured I have to share 2 other healthy turkey recipes with you – one for lunch and one for dinner.
TURKEY TACO LUNCH BOWL
This Turkey Taco Lunch Bowl is a healthy option that will give you all the resources and energy you need in order to have a productive day. Plus it has amazing taco flavors.
This lunch bowl is filled with delicious ingredients such as brown rice, taco meat, cheddar cheese, black beans, and fresh veggies. Get the recipe.
LOW CARB TURKEY BURGER BOWL WITH SRIRACHA MAYO
Another healthy bowl but this time a dinner one – Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo. It’s fresh, exciting, and it has wonderful flavors. So much yum!
The Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo is packed with lean protein from the turkey burgers and yummy goodness from the Sriracha Mayo and the balsamic tomato salad. Get the recipe.
Ground Turkey And Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 3-4 large zucchini, sliced in half, lengthwise
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more to grease casserole dish
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 med. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked*
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 9x13inch casserole dish with olive oil.
Using as evenly sized zucchini as possible so they cook evenly, slice off the ends, then slice them in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, we’re going to carefully hollow out the inside of the zucchinis by scraping along the seeds and removing them. You want to remove all the seeds and then a little more to make them "boats." Set the zucchini and removed seeds aside. Make sure to reserve the seeds and inner flesh of the zucchini because we’ll be adding it to the sauce.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the diced yellow onion and shallot to the oil and cook until it starts to sweat. Then, add the ground turkey to the pan. Break the turkey into crumbles and cook until the meat is browned well.
Add the scooped-out zucchini seeds to the pan, along with minced garlic and sliced mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 6-8 minutes.
Add cooked quinoa, dried oregano, basil, thyme, sea salt, and ground black pepper, and stir to combine.
Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine, then heat through.
Line the zucchini, cut-side-up, into the greased baking dish and lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
Pour the meat sauce over the hollowed out zucchini "boats" and sprinkle lightly with the parmesan cheese.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
To cook quinoa, the ratio is 1 cup of uncooked quinoa to 2 cups of liquid (I like to use low sodium chicken broth). Bring the uncooked and liquid to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
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