These zucchini boats are loaded with the flavors of chicken parmesan, but instead of using a fried piece of chicken, they are made with ground chicken for a low-carb and high-protein meal! Mixed with marinara sauce and topped with grated parmesan cheese and melty mozzarella making this dish a perfect, healthy, weeknight, dinner idea!
These fun chicken parmesan zucchini boats might just be my new favorite way to eat chicken! The zucchini gives just the right amount of crunch! Using ground chicken is also a great way to cut corners. This way you don't have to cook the chicken and shred it up yourself 😉
This dish also takes minimal time, which I know I am always raving about after becoming a mom of three. Zucchini is also so delicious in the summer months. If you also enjoy it during this time of year you need to try my Oven Baked Zucchini Chips and my Zucchini Parmesan.
Table of contents
Ingredients for this dish
This meal takes minimal ingredients. All you will need is the following -
- ground chicken - I like using ground chicken for this meal because I feel it holds up better when it is stuffed inside the zucchini. It seems not to fall out as easy as when it is made with shredded chicken or even cubed.
- zucchinis - try and find medium to wider zucchini to make it easier to stuff them with your chicken mixture. Cut the zucchinis in half, lengthwise, then using a melon ball scooper or spoon, scoop out the inside of the zucchini, forming a boat.
- marinara sauce - feel free to make homemade marinara sauce if you've got an unreal recipe that just can't be beat, but sometimes cutting corners is the way to go. I like buying organic or I found this great Keto Marinara Sauce that would work wonders, as well!
Cookware for this healthy dinner
The following is recommended!
- A large skillet to brown for your ground chicken. I browned the ground chicken before adding it to the zucchini boats.
- A 9 x 13 inch baking dish. This one linked comes with a lid for storing leftovers.
- A melon ball scooper. While the chicken was cooking, I got the zucchini boats ready. I used 3 large zucchinis. I also decided to use a melon ball scooper to scoop out the insides, but feel free to use a spoon if you don't have a scooper.
How to make stuffed zucchini boats
Step 1 - Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease your baking dish with a non-stick cook spray. I always use avocado cooking spray, but you can use any kind you prefer. Avocado Cooking Spray!
Step 2 - Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add the ground chicken. Cook until no longer pink inside. Drain your chicken in a colander and then return to the pan and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
Step 3 - Meanwhile, cut off the ends of your zucchini and then cut in half, lengthwise. Use your melon ball scooper or spoon to scoop out the inside creating boats. Set aside.
Step 4 - Once the chicken is cooked through, add in the marinara sauce and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, absorbing all the flavors. Mix in 2 cups of mozzarella, save the third to sprinkle on top. Also, add in a ¼ cup of the parmesan and save the 1 cup to also sprinkle on top. Stir until melted.
Step 5 - Spoon the mixture into the zucchini boats and place them on the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese.
Step 6 - Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve. This dish makes me feel like I'm eating a classic Italian crispy chicken dish with fewer calories.
Here are a few substitution ideas you can swap out for the ingredients I listed above. This recipe is the best because it's easy, quick, and definitely not boring!
Ground Chicken - I like ground chicken because I find it requires less amount of time to prepare. You can use chicken breast, but then you have to cook it and then shred it. You can also use rotisserie chicken, as well. A super easy substitute would be to try baked chicken tenders and just dicing them up.
Marinara Sauce - feel free to make your own homemade sauce or cut corners, like I did, and use store-bought. You can also use pasta sauce, tomato sauce, or spaghetti sauce.
Panko Breadcrumbs - this would be an add-in instead of a substitution. I left this ingredient out to have fewer carbs, but if you sprinkle a little on top just before baking it will give your zucchini boats some extra crunch!
Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese - again, if you are looking to have a lighter meal ease up on the cheese. You can add as much or as little cheese as you desire. You can completely leave it out too if you are on a dairy-free diet.
Tips and FAQ's
Yes, you can heat this meal up in the oven, stovetop, or microwave. I would recommend preheating the oven to 400 degrees and placing your zucchini on a baking tray sprayed with cooking spray and heating up for about 10 min. The stovetop, they can be placed on a non-stick pan with a little cooking spray on the bottom and heated until warmed up, about 6 to 8 min. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Add some extra cheese on top before heating too.
Make the chicken filling and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days prior to cooking. Then, when you are ready to eat, slice up your zucchinis and stuff them with the chicken filling before baking.
You don't want the inside of the zucchini to be so thin that it's not strong enough to hold the chicken mixture. You want it to be sturdy, just like a boat 😉
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat, let it thaw first before reheating.
Other zucchini recipes to try!
If you give this dish a try don't forget to rate the recipe below! Always love hearing what you all think. You can also Stay in touch with me through social media on @Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Don't forget to tag me when you try one of my healthy recipes!
Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats
- large skillet
- 9 x 13 inch baking dish
- melon ball scooper
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 3 large zucchinis
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 3 cups reduced fat shredded mozzarella
- 1¼ cup grated parmesan
- kosher salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- garlic powder to taste
- avocado cooking spray
- ¼ cup fresh parsley for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400° and grease your baking dish with avocado cooking spray. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add your ground chicken. Cook until no longer pink inside and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Meanwhile, prepare your zucchini. Cut off ends and slice in half, lengthwise. Scoop out insides with a melon ball scooper or spoon, creating boats. Set aside. Dice up the insides of the zucchini and add half to the ground chicken.
- Once chicken is cooked through, add in marinara sauce and mix well. Let simmer 5 minutes absorbing the flavors.
- Mix in 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup parmesan cheese. Cook until melted.
- Spoon the mixture into the boats and top with remaining cup of mozzarella and a ¼ cup more parmesan cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Top with fresh parsley then serve 😉