Stuffed Italian Zucchini Boats Recipe

This stuffed Italian Zucchini Boats recipe is a favorite of PIATTO’s Nonna Margherita! They are super easy to make, vegetarian, ready in minutes and topped with quality Parmigiano Reggiano cheese!

Watch the Video Recipe!

Watch Italian Grandma Margherita prepare her recipe in this video on our channel:

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats, the Italian way!

There are so many ways to make stuffed zucchini boats! This recipe uses classic Italian ingredients: zucchini, breadcrumbs, some tomato, garlic, fresh parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The cheese on top makes it gratinate, as they say in Italian. In fact, this dish is called Zucchine Gratinate in Italian!

Zucchini are very popular in Italy when they are in season! Italians add them to pasta (see our Spaghetti alla Nerano recipe) fry them and put them on homemade pizza recipes.

Choose Quality Ingredients for your Italian Zucchini Boats

The key to making these the best stuffed zucchini boats lies in the quality of the ingredients. Here’s how to select the best:

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is a specific aged cheese from Italy that is widely used in Italian cuisine. ‘Parmesan’—its substitute in the United States and elsewhere—is NOT the same product. Instead, parmesan can refer to any number of aged Italian cheeses that bear little resemblance to the Parmigiano used in this and other traditional Italian recipes. So, to get the best flavor, choose the right cheese. You can even find it on Amazon (affiliate link):

Use Fresh Garlic!

Italians rarely used garlic powder or dehydrated garlic. It’s uncommon to find these ingredients even in prepared packaged foods sold in the groceries. Always use fresh garlic—it has a different flavor profile and (in our experience) is easier to digest!

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Stuffed Italian Zucchini Boats Recipe

A delicious vegetarian stuffed Italian Zucchini Boats recipe that you can make in minutes! Recipe + Video
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 4 people


  • 1 baking sheet


  • 9 zucchini cut in half, lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs unseasoned
  • 5 cherry tomatoes or similar, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • fine salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 5 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese or as needed for top; finely grated
  • olive oil extra virgin; drizzle as needed.


Prepare the Zucchini Boats

  • Slice each zucchini in half, lengthwise.
    9 zucchini
  • Use a small spoon to scrape out the inside of the zucchini to create a 'boat.' Save the scraped zucchini—we will use it for the filling!

Make the Stuffed Zucchini Boat Filling

  • Roughly chop the zucchini you scraped out.
  • Combine the zucchini in a large bowl with: minced cherry tomatoes, pressed garlic, breadcrumbs. Season to taste.
    3 tbsp breadcrumbs, 5 cherry tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, fine salt, black pepper

Fill the Zucchini and Top with Cheese

  • Line the zucchini boats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Fill each zucchini boat with filling.
    Top generously with grated Parmigiano cheese.
    5 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

Bake the Zucchini Boats

  • Drizzle the tops of the stuffed zucchini boats with extra virgin olive oil.
    olive oil
  • Bake in the center of a preheated (static) oven at 425°F (220°C) for about 20 minutes. Bake until golden on top and until the zucchini are tender.
  • Buon appetito!


Keyword baking, cheesy, grandma cooking, healthy
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Classic recipes from Italy and beyond. Traditional Italian Cooking and Mediterranean Diet recipes!

PIATTO™ Recipes bring traditional Italian food recipes to your table with our tested, step-by-step recipes and videos. You'll find the best Italian recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Always tested, always delicious.

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