Our Low Carb Keto Stuffed Zucchini Boats are filled with a meat sauce that’s blended with Italian spices, marinara sauce, Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, and then roasted to perfection. Ten minutes prep, 20 minutes stovetop, 20 minutes bake. Best of all, they taste absolutely delicious! They’re filling, nutritious, and make for a gorgeous presentation on your dinner table .
Thank goodness zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, because our garden here in Atlanta is overflowing with them. This recipe combines the freshness of summer flavors with a hearty Italian meat sauce, oozing with melted cheeses.
Roasting at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time produces a creamy meat filling and a zucchini with a soft crunch. We don’t like (maybe we hate) soggy zucchini, so we do a couple of things to prevent that from occurring. We place a baking/cooling rack on the top of our regular baking sheet to elevate the zucchini boats. That way, the heat from the oven can travel all the way around the zucchini to roast the backside. We also brush the bottom of the zucchini with olive oil before filling to give the skin a nice crispy crunch.
Start with 5 fresh zucchini – firm and dark green. The best size for this recipe is about 8 inches in length – a little more, a little less works just fine. After a quick rinse, cut off the stem ends and cut each in half lengthwise. We find a large chef’s knife works great for this task. Using room temperature zucchini, take a spoon and scoop out the seeds and much of the flesh, leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 inch flesh on the skin.
For the sauce, we start by sautéing onions (we typically use green) in olive oil for a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute – just a quick flash in the pan so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add ground beef, or whatever ground meat you prefer and cook until it’s browned. Make sure you drain the excess oil from the browned meat so your filling isn’t too greasy. We use a no sugar added marinara sauce (we love Rao’s Homemade) because it’s delicious, and because it means one less thing for us to cook. The seasonings are simple – a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and a teaspoon of salt and pepper.
The secret to our meat sauce is the addition of two cheeses, Parmesan and cheddar, added while the meat mixture is still warm. We freshly grate our cheeses and use sharp cheddar, but if you’re looking for ways to save time, the packaged shredded cheeses work great too. Substitute your favorite cheese as you palate prefers.
Add the meat mixture evenly into the 10 zucchini boats and top with additional cheese. Place them on the elevated baking rack and into a 425 degree F oven (middle rack). 20 minutes later, remove from the oven, letting them cool for a few minutes before serving. If you’re looking for more recipes that use zucchini, try our Sautéed Zucchini with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil, our Divine Low Carb Zucchini Parmesan Casserole, or our Low Carb Parmesan Zucchini Fries.
Low Carb Keto Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Large Baking Sheet
- Baking Rack
- Large skillet
- 5 medium zucchini
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound 80/20 ground beef browned and drained
- 2 cups marinara sauce no sugar added
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1½ cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 tbsp chopped chives optional
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place baking rack on top.
- Wash the zucchini and trim off ends. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrap out the seeds and flesh to form a pocket for the filling, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch flesh remaining. Dry the skin side of each zucchini with paper towels and brush with small amount of olive oil.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add onions and sauté 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking 1 minute.
- Increase heat to medium-high. Add ground beef and cook until browned (8-10 minutes). Drain off excess fat. Reduce heat to medium; stir in marinara sauce and seasonings. Simmer until heated throughout, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add ⅔ cup shredded Parmesan cheese and 1 cup cheddar cheese, reserving ½ cup of the cheddar for topping. Mix until combined.
- Divide meat mixture evenly into zucchini boats. Top with additional cheddar cheese.
- Bake on center rack of a 425 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before enjoying. Top with chopped chives or basil.