Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: “Boats, boats, messing around with boats.”

Okay, so these aren’t the kind of boats Toad in WIND IN THE WILLOWS had in mind, but they’ve been on my mind and plate lately, and I think they’re so yummy that you might want to put them on yours, too.

Although I almost never think of zucchini without remembering the Zucchini Look Alike Contest held at the Custer County Fair in Hardin, Montana. One year, the winner looked like Richard Nixon.

I am not making this up.

I didn’t make this recipe up, either, but as I’ve said before, I find it nearly impossible to make a recipe as originally written. This one started in Good Housekeeping, and as is common in magazine style, it was written in narrative form rather than as a list of ingredients followed by instructions. I hate that, though I understand it takes less space. Alas, I am not Queen of the World. (Thank Heavens. It would be tiring. But I might get to spend more time messing around with boats and other such things.)

This version includes sausage, but you could skip it and still be happy. Doesn't look like I've ever posted my Italian herb blend recipe---it's in KILLING THYME---though any blend or combination of Italian herbs you have on hand will do. These are wonderful alongside a short sturdy pasta, like rotilli, fusilli, or penne.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

4 small zucchini
4-6 ounces Italian sausage (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Italian herb mix
1-1/2 cups marinara sauce
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella
parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray a 13X9 inch baking dish.

Cut the zucchini in half and remove the seeds. Carefully scrape out the innards, chop and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and drain if necessary, then add olive oil, onion, zucchini, salt, and herbs. Cook until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes.

Spread the marinara sauce in the baking dish, and arrange the zucchini shells on top. Fill with the sausage mixture. Top with cheese and spoon a little of the tomato sauce on top.

Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Serve with salad, a short sturdy pasta such as rotilli, fusilli, or penne, and a glass of whatever appeals to you. 

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. This sounds good thanks for the review, love the recipe

  2. I make a similar recipe. I've found one of those tools for making melon balls works really well for hollowing out the zucchini

    1. Good trick, Sandy. A sturdy soup spoon works well, too.

  3. Great pictures -- those look amazing. Maybe they will get me to eat my vegetables!

    1. Then try my two stuffed Spaghetti Squash recipes -- for some reason, we stuffed a lot of cucurbita this winter!

    2. I found the recipe -- love spaghetti squash!

  4. I LOOOOOOOOOVE zucchini boats! They are so yummy and satisfying and pretty good for you too. YUMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!

  5. This post for my second stuffed spaghetti squash recipe also includes the link to the first one.

  6. You could do a lot of different things with the boats. Cool. I'm stuck on slicing and sautéing in olive oil, season, and sprinkle parmesan on it. Possibilities with the boats are endless!

    1. Boats, boats, messing around with boats! Toad had it right after all!

  7. Hope you get to see this message.
    I made these last night. 2/3 were with sausage and 1/3 with ground beef (my daughter doesn't like sausage.
    They were great!
    For those who don't have a melon scoop, a grapefruit spoon or a thin edged teaspoon make good scoopers.
    This is a great way to use zucchini when it's gotten a bit too large for regular cooking. Scooping the seeds and saving the extra flesh to add in works well.

    1. Thanks for the tips, Libby -- glad you, and your daughter, enjoyed them!