Easy Vegan Zucchini Boats

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Fork and knife on a plate of Italian-Inspired Zucchini Boats

Our vegan sausage knows no bounds, and zucchini is no exception. Though we’ve done zucchini noodle pasta in the past, zucchini boats felt more substantive. After all, they can be stuffed with goodies and baked!

This versatile dish can be served as a main, or paired with pasta dishes, salads, pizza, and more! The best part? Just 10 simple ingredients required!

Slicing into a zucchini surrounded by vegan sausage, onion, vegan parmesan, red pepper flakes, and marinara

Start by halving your zucchinis lengthwise and removing the seeds to make room for the filling. For added color, season zucchini and sear in a skillet. This helps soften them slightly and creates more flavor and texture.

Baking pan of zucchini boats with marinara

For the filling, we sautéed onion and garlic for flavor and added red pepper flake for some heat.

Then we added our fan favorite, whole-food-based Easy Vegan Sausage and crisped it up a bit in the skillet. Store-bought vegan sausages would also work here, but we prefer the crumbly texture and complex flavors of homemade.

Marinara sauce is then added to the zucchini boats along with the sausage mixture.

Baking pan with three Zucchini Boats sprinkled with vegan parmesan

Lastly, the zucchini boats are sprinkled with vegan parmesan cheese and baked until tender, golden brown, and slightly crispy. Swoon!

Garnish with fresh basil for an extra pop of green and freshness.

Vintage spoon resting in a pan of Vegan Zucchini Boats

We hope you LOVE this recipe! It’s:

Saucy
Savory
Satisfying
Hearty
SUPER flavorful
& Delicious!

While hearty enough to be served as an entrée, these zucchini boats would also work well alongside other Italian-inspired dishes.

What to Serve with Zucchini Boats

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Fork spearing a halved Italian-Inspired zucchini boat

Easy Vegan Zucchini Boats

Hearty yet light, these EASY vegan zucchini boats are seared then stuffed with flavorful marinara and our homemade vegan sausage, then baked until bubbly and tender. The ultimate side or main for Italian night. Just 10 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Fork and knife on a plate for cutting into a Vegan Zucchini Boat
4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 (Boats)
Course Entrée or Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

ZUCCHINI

  • 3 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1-2 tsp avocado oil (if avoiding oil, omit)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 healthy pinch red pepper flake

FILLING

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and set out a baking dish large enough to hold your halved zucchinis (as original recipe is written, a 9×13 should be sufficient — or use a parchment-lined baking sheet).
  • Halve zucchini lengthwise and use a spoon or measuring spoon to scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh (enough to comfortably fit ~1/2 cup of sauce and vegan sausage).
  • Spray or brush the zucchini with a bit of oil (just enough to lightly coat all sides), and season each with salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flake.
  • Heat a large skillet (we prefer cast iron) over medium-high heat. Once hot, lay the zucchini cut-side down (only as many as will fit comfortably at once), and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the edges appear browned. This will create more flavor and start to help soften the zucchini before baking. Once all zucchini have been seared (on the cut side), transfer to your baking dish cut-side up.
  • To the same skillet over medium heat, add oil (or water), onion, garlic, and pepper flake and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly browned and translucent. Turn down heat if browning too quickly.
  • Add vegan sausage and crumble into small chunks with your spatula or wooden spoon so it cooks more evenly. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the sausage has begun to brown and crisp up a bit. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • Divide your marinara evenly between the zucchini boats and top with the sausage mixture. Then use a spoon to mix the two a bit (keeping the sausage mostly on top).
  • Sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown, crispy, and the squash is tender). Depending on the size of your squash and how tender you prefer it, you may need to bake longer.
  • Serve as is, or with additional vegan parmesan cheese and red pepper flake. Fresh basil would also be a delicious garnish.
  • Best when fresh. Store leftovers up to 2-3 days and reheat in a 375 degree F (190 C) oven until hot. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of vegan parmesan cheese, with 1/2 batch homemade vegan sausage, and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 boat Calories: 203 Carbohydrates: 18.5 g Protein: 5.8 g Fat: 13.1 g Saturated Fat: 1.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.45 g Monounsaturated Fat: 7.2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 591 mg Potassium: 599 mg Fiber: 4.6 g Sugar: 5.9 g Vitamin A: 521 IU Vitamin C: 27.22 mg Calcium: 64.86 mg Iron: 1.75 mg

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My Rating:




  1. Nicki says

    I would give this 20 stars if I could! I had so may zucchinis from our CSA, I didn’t know what to do with them. This was perfect! We made it with your vegan sausage recipe and it was so worth the extra steps. (And there is sausage left over, so we’re going to make pizzas later this week). My mind is reeling with all the ideas for that sausage (stuffed mushrooms? stuffed peppers? sausage gravy? pasta with cashew cream sauce? Ahhhhh!) We left out the crushed red pepper and it was kid approved.
    Thanks for the recipe! We’ll definitely make this again :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we’re so glad you enjoyed the zucchini boats and vegan sausage! All those ideas for the sausage sound amazing! Thanks so much for sharing, Nicki!

  2. Lacey says

    I used field roast Italian sausage but other than that I followed the recipe. Delish! I made it two nights in a row. Thanks for another wonderful and easy recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Briana, Good question! There’s no need to cook it first since it gets cooked in this recipe.

  3. Stacey says

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I’m so happy to be out of my wheelchair and cooking again! We happened to pick up a halve dozen Chinese eggplants at the farmers market 👏🏽 My husband isn’t a fan of zucchini 🤷‍♀️anyway!
    I bought premade sweet Italian sausages. They looked awful 😝I’m not big on store bought much of anything😂so I also started some DIY meat. Im still building up my strength & endurance so I only made the quinoa for the “meat” and I’ll finish with the mushrooms, pecans, roasted pinto beans and the rest of the ingredients tomorrow. My husband loved the crumbled sautéed sausage and I mixed it with quinoa on eggplant! Another winner Dana, it was a delicious summery and lite meal, but so filling‼️😘#grateful

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we’re so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Stacey! Thank you so much for the lovely review! Sending well wishes your way! xo

  4. Elizabeth says

    This was easy to make and tasted great. Dinner was rushed so I didn’t have time to make your Easy Vegan Sausage (I’ll try that next time) so I used vegan Field Roast Italian sausage and that worked out well. I keep a jar of your Vegan Parmesan Cheese in the freezer so it’s always on hand.

  5. Alexis says

    YUM! This was delish! I also made the vegan sausage which took extra time but was definitely worth it. My picky 3 year old even ate it!

  6. Sarah says

    This recipe is delicious! It was much easier than I thought it would be to make all the different parts of this meal: vegan sausage, vegan parmesan cheese (which by the way is amazing – I’m literally going to use it on everything now), etc. Next time I’ll plan to double the vegan sausage recipes and freeze some to make cooking this again faster. This will definitely be added to my regular cooking rotation. Yum!

  7. Kara says

    Really tasty recipe, made all from scratch following your recipes(sausage and marinara) only change I made was used regular parmesan instead of vegan. Excited to have extra sausage on hand to make this again(since it was fairly time consuming to make everything from scratch)! Made with chickpea pasta on the side, paired well.

  8. Eve says

    This was delicious and very easy to prepare. I added a little extra sauce at the end for my husband who loves red sauce, and roasted up some baby potatoes to go along and it was the perfect meal. My whole family loved it.

  9. Morgan says

    me again, i forgot to ask the question i was meaning to put in my last comment! what do you suggest i make with the zucchini insides? i don’t want to let it go to waste, but i don’t know what to do with it!

  10. Morgan says

    i made this last night with my partner! it was the perfect amount of food to feel satiated, but not to the point of overeating! super yummy with really great flavors! i am excited to try it again, but this time with your homemade sausage (since we used prepackaged vegan sausage we already had open) :) thanks for this recipe!

  11. Kelly says

    I made these as directed and they are quite yummy! 5 stars for flavor and nutrition, but ultimately I give it 4 stars because there are so many steps required. Still worth the effort and time every so often.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for the honest feedback, Kelly! These can be a little more time consuming if making the vegan sausage and parm from scratch. These are items we like to keep stocked in the fridge/freezer since we love them so much and use in a variety of dishes =) So that’s one idea for a speedier prep!

  12. Valerie says

    OMG! This is so good! Such a light and healthy recipe for the summer months. My husband and I loved it, although he’s not a fan of fennel seed that is in the vegan sausage. I did make the homemade vegan sausage to go in these zucchini boats and it was phenomenal. I loved the crumbly texture. Even my 10 yo daughter liked it! We took the leftovers for lunch. It took me a little longer to make because it was a new recipe and I was making the homemade vegan sausage to go inside the zucchini. Fabulous recipe, this will definitely be a part of my go to recipes. I can’t wait to make it and share it with my family and friends, they’ll never believe it’s vegan! Next time I’ll probably make the sausage ahead of time to make the recipe quicker. Love it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it, Valerie! Thanks so much for sharing! xo

  13. Adrianna says

    Really enjoyed this recipe! It came at a perfect time having a surplus of zucchini from our garden. We used Italian sausage, and I also added TJ’s gluten free rice crumbs to give an extra crunch on top. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Adrianna! Love the addition too! Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. Stacy says

    Made this yesterday and it was delicious! Even my husband liked it who is not a vegetarian and not typically a fan of zucchini! Instead of cutting it up we ate it like a piece of pizza and the kids thought it was fun! Thanks for all of your amazing recipes!!!💚

  15. Jem says

    Another perfect recipe! Added mushrooms to the onion mix and it was amazing! Served it with your pea pesto pasta. Thanks so much!