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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Haley Matthews

Haley was inspired by her garden to create this menu. The family has been growing a summer and winter crop for three years now. "This recipe is fun to make and is fun to serve to my family. It is pretty on a plate and is full of color and flavors." The family likes to serve this with a Caprese Salad, which has fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  –Haley Matthews, age 12, Georgia

Makes 4 servings


4 large zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 pound ground chicken sausage or ground chicken

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 large egg

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Scoop out the pulp of the zucchini and discard. Place the zucchini boats on the prepared baking sheet with the scooped-out sides facing up.
  3. In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then add the red bell pepper and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, 2 more minutes.
  4. In a second sauté pan over moderate heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the ground chicken sausage or ground chicken and sauté, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cooked vegetables, rice, egg, ricotta, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  5. Divide the mixture into equal portions and stuff into the zucchini boats.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the Parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle this mixture over the stuffed zucchini boats, then bake until the zucchini are soft and the cheese and crumbs are browned, about 30 minutes.

Featured in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Check out all the winning recipes here.