Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini Boats (for Meatless Monday)

If you garden or belong to a CSA, you’re likely searching for new ways to use up all that zucchini and summer squash right about now. These meatless stuffed zucchini, or “zucchini boats,” are a simple and tasty recipe that’s fast enough for a weeknight supper.

I use quinoa, a quick-cooking grain similar to cous cous, because of its high protein content. This recipe also includes some chopped mushrooms for added texture, in place of the meat. It’s also a good way to use up any stray half onions or peppers you may have in the fridge — I like to use red onion and pepper to make it more colorful, but you can use whatever you have on hand and of course mix up the vegetables according to your family’s tastes. If you have a child who objects to certain colors or vegetables, you can set aside some of the quinoa for his or her squash.

And, this recipe is great to make with older kids, ages 4 and up, who might enjoy hollowing out and filling the zucchini boats.

Recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini Boats


  • 4 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby bella (or button) mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
  • fresh parsley
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions: Rinse and drain the quinoa. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, or until broth is fully absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the soft centers, leaving a hollow boat-shaped shell.

In a mixing bowl, gently toss the quinoa with the the chopped pepper, onion and mushrooms. Season with parsley, salt and pepper. Drizzle oil and vinegar over and stir to combine.

Arrange zucchini in a shallow baking dish. Scoop quinoa filling into the zucchini. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Pour water into the pan to cover the bottom by 1/4 inch (this helps keep the zucchini moist while cooking). Bake for 35 minutes, until zucchini is tender when pricked with a fork. Turn on the broiler for about 2 minutes, just to brown the cheese. Serve 1 half as a side dish or 2 halves for a main course. Enjoy!

The FoodieTots family participates in Meatless Mondays, cutting out meat one day a week for our health and for the environment. (When we do eat meat, we choose local and grassfed whenever possible.) Visit the Meatless Monday pledge page to learn more, and sign up for weekly tips and recipes you can use to go meatless, too! And click here for more of our favorite family- friendly Meatless Monday recipes.


  • Mike Thomas says:

    I am writing to ask for your permission to include your posts on
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  • Meredith says:

    I just heard your story on NPR when I was driving home from my workout. I too have started meatless mondays (and thursdays) at my house. I cannot wait to try some of your recipes – something besides bean burritos for my family! My husband is also anti tofu and often sneaks meat snacks after the kids go to bed on meatless nights. I will be adding you to my frequent checked blogs!!

  • susan says:

    thanks for posting this recipe! i heard it mentioned on npr’s morning edition, and found the link in the story transcript. we’re about 75% no meat, and i love getting new and yummy recipes, especially ones my 3 toddlers will eat! thank you.

  • Loved this story from NPR this morning! I love that this meal is naturally gluten free as well! We’re going to try this recipe this week you are not kidding about all that CSA zucchini! haha! :-) Will definitely be visiting your blog more often!

  • ginger says:

    Anyone have a good suggestion for those who prefer not to use cheese?

  • foodietots
    Twitter: foodietots

    @ ginger — You can omit the cheese and skip the broiling step at the end. If you want, you can add some diced firm tofu in the quinoa filling instead.

  • Trish says:

    Great recipe. Quinoa makes a great stuffing. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the NPR plug. Cheers!
    .-= Trish´s last blog post ..Chocolate Fig Smoothie =-.

  • Sandra @ The Adored Home
    Twitter: theadoredhome

    This looks amazing! I am new to using Quinoa but I love it! I will be trying this for sure!
    The Adored Home

    PS I am all linked up with you on the social networks! Hope you will stop by too!

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