There’s something about zucchini boats that just ticks every box for me. They’re really filling and satisfying, while also being packed with veggies and somewhat lean, that is unless I smother them with a ridiculous amount of cheese, which does happen sometimes. These Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats are perfect for lunch or dinner. They’re also great for weeknights because they only take about 30 minutes to make.
These Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats are loaded with a taco-inspired mixture with hearty black beans and sweet corn.
They are super easy and tend to be a hit for the whole family. Plus, the turkey taco filling makes enough to eat with rice, over salad, or just straight up in a bowl. And the leftovers are ideal for lunches and dinners throughout the week.
I first discovered the joys of zucchini boats when I was a teenager. Some organic farmer friends of mine grew zucchini the size of baseball bats! We made so many versions of zucchini boats with that crew. We often called them “Zucc Boats” or “Zucc Canoes”.
The ever-versatile zucchini
Zucchini are the best. They’re cheap, versatile, and available year-round. I love them roasted, grilled, raw, pretty much any way I can get them. If you haven’t tried my grilled zucchini salad yet I’d recommend you give it a go!
Ok back to the boats.
Preparing the zucchini for Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats
First up, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Then cut two zucchinis in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the flesh. All you want here is a generous channel to stuff the turkey taco mixture into.
Rub the zucchini with a small amount of oil, sprinkle with salt and place on a baking sheet into that cranking hot oven and bake for about 20 minutes. At that point the zucchini will have softened slightly, and become quite juicy and lightly browned.
While the zucchini halves are cooking, you can get on with making the ground turkey filling. If you prefer, you can do this exact same thing with extra lean ground beef or ground pork instead. Just make sure it’s extra lean or your boats will be greasy.
Making the filling for the Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats
Making the filling for these zucchini boats is as easy as makign any taco filling.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté a small chopped onion in some olive oil.
- After the onion is softened slightly, about three minutes in, add the ground turkey. Cook and break up the turkey until it is mostly no longer pink, and you start to see browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Chop up the inner bits of zucchini that you had scooped out, and add them into the pan.
- Throw in your herbs and spices (cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, chilli powder – basically my version of homemade taco seasoning), the black beans, corn, and a can of tomato paste. If you don’t have tomato paste but you DO have marinara sauce or other pasta sauce, use about 200ml, or just shy of a cup. Simmer for five minutes or so, adding a splash of water if the mixture looks a bit dry.
Assembling the Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats
At this point it’s important to taste for seasoning. You might need salt and pepper.
When the zucchini and the turkey mixture are both cooked and ready to go, scoop the turkey mixture into the zucchini halves, top with cheese, and place on a tray or baking dish under the broiler for 5 minutes or so until the cheese is melted.
The best part: The toppings
I LOVE toppings! These zucchini taco boats can handle anything you’d normally throw on a taco. Avocado, sour cream, salsa, fresh cilantro, and of course, HOT SAUCE.
Serve these delicious Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats at your next taco night. Your family is going to love them!
What if you have leftover turkey taco filling?
Having turkey taco filling leftover is a wonderful problem to have. You can transition this filling into so many other things! A few ideas:
- Make burritos (or actual tacos) by stuffing the mixture into flour or corn tortillas.
- Enjoying the filling over rice—with toppings of course!
- Whip up a quick taco salad with crunchy romaine and tortilla chips
- Use as a topping for a baked potato or a baked sweet potato
- Toss with macaroni for a taco macaroni bake
What to serve with Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats
Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats make a great lunch or dinner all on their own. But if you do want to serve them with a side dish, I’d recommend some flavourful rice or a refreshing side salad.
Of course, make sure there is plenty of sour cream, avocado, and wedges of lime available for adorning these boats.
I hope you love my Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats! Be sure to tag me @howtomakedinner on Instagram if you make them. I’d love to see!
Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats
- 4 zucchini (small-ish)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion (small)
- 450 grams ground turkey
- 350 grams cooked black beans (1 can, drained and rinsed)
- 150 grams corn – fresh or frozen
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons chilli powder
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt plus more to taste if needed
- 100 grams sharp cheddar cheese for melting on top.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Trim off the ends and scoop out the flesh.
- Rub the zucchini halves with 1 Tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes.
- While the zucchini is cooking, make the filling. Saute the onion in the other Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until soft.
- Roughly chop the scooped out zucchini flesh and add to the onions.
- Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it up and stirring until brown and nearly cooked through.
- Add the herbs and spices to the mixture, followed by the black beans, corn, and tomato paste.
- Stir, then cover with a lid and allow to cook for 5 minutes. If the mixture looks dry, add a few splashes of water. When the meat is cooked and everything looks good, taste for seasoning.
- Scoop the mixture onto the zucchini halves.
- Sprinkle with cheese, and place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Top with fresh toppings like cherry tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, sour cream, and diced avocado.