There’s something about zucchini taco boats that just ticks every box for me. They’re really filling and satisfying, while also being pretty easy on the waistline. That is, as long as you can resist dumping an entire block of cheese on top.
These turkey stuffed zucchini taco boats are loaded with a taco-inspired mixture with hearty black beans and sweet corn. They’re also perfect for a weeknight dinner because they only take about 30 minutes to make.
Ahh, you have got to love a 30-minute dinner that satisfies as much as this.
These turkey taco zucchini boats make such a good low carb easy meal, you’ll be making them every week. Plus, the recipe for the filling makes enough to eat with rice, over salad, or just straight up in a bowl. The turkey taco leftovers are ideal for a desk lunch and dinners throughout the week.
I first discovered the joys of zucchini boats when I was a teenager. I was friends with some organic farmers and they grew zucchini the size of baseball bats! We made zucchini boats all the time, with all kinds of fillings and called them “zucc-canoes,”
The ever-versatile zucchini
I LOVE zucchini. 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
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 zucchinis 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. The zucchinis 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 zucchini taco boat filling
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and saute 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 you need to.
Assembling the zucchini taco boats
At this point it’s important to taste for seasoning. You might need salt and pepper.
When the zucchini and the mixture are both cooked and ready to go, scoop the meat mixture into the zucchinis, 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 zucchini boats at your next taco night. Your family is going to love them!
If you have leftover filling…
Having zucchini boat filling leftovers is a wonderful problem to have. You can transition this filling into so many other things!
- 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
I hope you love these boats! Be sure to tag me @howtomakedinner on Instagram if you make them. I’d love to see!
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 450 grams ground turkey
- 1 can (350 grams) drained black beans
- 150 grams corn – fresh or frozen
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons chilli powder
- 1 small 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 400 degrees.
- Cut two medium 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 a 425-degree broiler for 5 minutes or so, or until the cheese is melted to your liking.
- Top with fresh toppings like cherry tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, sour cream, and diced avocado.