These Easy Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats are a perfect appetizer, side dish, or main dish! These Stuffed Zucchini Boats are great for using fresh zucchini from the garden or from your local farmers market.
Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats
My Easy Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats are simple to make and taste delicious. In fact these Stuffed Zucchini Boats are ideal not only for zucchini lovers, but are also popular with those in my family who are more picky when it comes to their veggies.
When serving as an appetizer I’ll cut them into smaller serving sizes. For a side dish I’ll cut them in half, and when presenting as a main dish I’ll pair it with a side salad, or another simple vegetable option, and freshly toasted baguettes.
They can be made meatless as I have done here in the recipe below, or you can add any meat of your choice. I’ve made some suggestions later in this post.
I love that zucchini is such a versatile and abundant summer vegetable option. Many are able to grow it in their backyard gardens and this is the perfect recipe when there is an abundance of zucchini ready to use.
As well as being a great step towards your 5-a-day, this recipe is also gluten-free so suitable for celiacs or anyone following a gluten free diet. This recipe can also be easily adapted to suit a Dairy Free or Vegan diet by omitting the cheese.
What are Zucchini Boats?
Zucchini boats are simply zucchini that have been cut in half, with the soft center scooped out, so that they look like a boat. The “boats” can then be stuffed with your choice of filling before being baked in the oven.
How to make Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats:
- To begin, I always suggest gathering your ingredients first, to make sure you have everything on hand.
- Preheat your oven to 400F degrees, grease your 9×13 Baking Dish, and set it to the side.
- Get ahead and chop, dice, measure, etc. to make assembly more efficient.
- When ready to start, slice each zucchini in half, lengthwise.
- Using a metal spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of each zucchini.
- Lightly brush the tops with one teaspoon of olive oil, and place them skin side down in the casserole dish.
- Warm the tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Then, add the rice, corn and beans, followed by the salsa and spices.
- Stir everything together and continue cooking for 5 additional minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
- Blend ¼ cup of the fresh cilantro into the filling.
- Spoon the filling into the hollowed zucchini halves until they are all full.
- Sprinkle each with cheese and cover the dish with foil. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, then remove foil and set the oven to broil.
- Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Allow them to cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle on the remaining fresh cilantro and serve.
Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boat recipe ingredients:
- ZUCCHINI: I use 4 large zucchini, don’t go too large or the zucchini tends to loose its flavor. You could also use this filling to stuff bell peppers.
- BEANS: I have use a can of black beans, but you can use any other variety of bean that you have to hand.
- RICE: I use a cup of cooked brown rice to add to the mix, but you could use white rice or substitute with cooked lentils or quinoa too.
- SALSA: a cup of salsa adds great depth of flavor to the filling mix.
- VEGGIES: the veggies I like to use are bell pepper, onion and corn kernels, but feel free to substitute with any other diced vegetable.
- SPICES: I season the mixture with cumin, chili powder and salt. Add in other spices that you enjoy like cayenne pepper, paprika or ground coriander.
- FRESH HERBS: finely chopped fresh cilantro is added to the filling and also used as a garnish just before serving. You could also sprinkle over some fresh parsley.
- CHEESE: when it comes to cheese my preference is shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, but you can substitute with any shredded cheese of your choice. If serving to vegetarian diners, a vegetarian cheddar would be a great option.
I have chosen a vegetable based filling for my stuffed zucchini boats, however this is a really versatile recipe and you can fill the boats with many other flavors. Here are some ideas:
- Add in extra veggies like any color bell pepper, chili peppers, celery, carrots, eggplant, green onion, sweetcorn.
- Swap the brown rice for some lentils instead.
- Try ground beef chili or bolognese stuffed zucchini boats.
- Add some Italian sausage or chorizo sausage to the mix.
This is a filling main dish and a great meal in one, so if I do serve any additional sides, I keep them simple. A fresh green salad, or tomato salad would be ideal, as would a simple vegetable side like some steamed green beans or broccoli. I also like to serve some freshly toasted baguettes.
How do I reheat Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats?
Once cooked and cooled, any leftover boats can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. When ready to enjoy I like to sprinkle over some fresh cheese, then reheat in a warm oven to piping hot.
Can you freeze Stuffed Zucchini Boats?
You can freeze the zucchini boats once they have been assembled and before they are baked in the oven. Place the assembled boats into an airtight container and sore in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to serve remove from the freezer and defrost thoroughly before placing in the oven ready to bake.
However, I find that the zucchini becomes mushy once thawed so I do prefer to make them fresh.
Recipe hints & tips:
- I like to use medium/large sized zucchini as I find they are the ideal size to stuff. Don’t buy them too large as zucchini loose some of their flavor the larger they grow.
- This is a great make ahead dish, prepare everything earlier in the day. Store the assembled “boats” in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake in the oven.
- This recipe is gluten free so suitable for celiacs or anyone following a gluten free diet.
- If serving to vegetarian diners, ensure the cheese you are using is vegetarian, a vegetarian cheddar would be a good option.
- If serving to dairy free or vegan diners omit the cheese or use a dairy free alternative.
Don’t miss these additional delicious Mexican Food Recipes here at When Is Dinner:
- Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
- Baked Tacos
- Beef and Bean Burritos
- Sopapilla Cheesecake
- Taco Pasta Bake
- Mexican Chicken
- 4 large zucchini
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans drained
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 bell pepper cored and diced
- ½ onion diced
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar/Monterey jack cheese
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 848mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 9gSugar: 8gProtein: 18g
These are a few items I find helpful in my own kitchen when preparing this Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats Recipe:
Pyrex 4.8-qt Oblong Baking Dish with Red LidOXO Good Grips Double-Sided Melon BallerT-fal B36290 Specialty Nonstick 5 Qt. Jumbo Cooker Sauté Pan with Glass Lid, BlackZucchini Cookbook: Family Zucchini Recipe Book with Tasty and Easy Zucchini Recipes (Zucchini Tastes)