Looking for a super fun, easy, and nutritious dinner idea-- look no further than these stuffed zucchini boats! In our family, we call them "Zucchini Canoes". The kids love to make little zucchini canoe people out of stickers and toothpicks to ride on top of their zucchinis (see picture at the bottom of this post).
Why do kids love stuffed zucchini boats?
The flavors of pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese are familiar, and thus delicious (or at least, worth eating!) to kids. Even though these flavors are stuffed into a zucchini, the smell and look of bubbling cheese are something that kids are generally willing to try. The first two times my youngest had zucchini boats, he mostly ate the insides out. But once he got used to the dish, he started eating the whole thing. They are pretty fun to look at! I used to make the little people that go on top, but now my kids love to do that part. It is like playing and eating at the same time. They are also fun to eat. This is especially true if you let your kids pick them up and eat them like a hot dog. Some families probably aren't okay with this style of eating, and it's totally fine if you are not! But, it does make eating them pretty fun. Just make sure that they are cool enough to handle!
Why does the chef love stuffed zucchini boats?
Also, three reasons:
This meal is so easy to put together! The main hands-on time is for browning the ground meat. If you use pre-cooked ground meat (I often use leftover meat from Taco Tuesday), it's even more of a snap. Jarred pasta sauce makes it quick-- just make sure to read your ingredients for added sugar. Then you can sit back and let the oven do the work. Your family is eating a vegetable! Without complaining, I might add. (Learn more about the amazing health benefits of zucchinis here). It's delicious! Sure, kids love pasta sauce and mozzarella. Do you know who else loves that combination? Most adults! If you don't eat dairy, feel free to leave off the cheese entirely. It's still a delicious, healthy meal.
Looking for a super fun, easy, and nutritious dinner idea-- look no further than these stuffed zucchini boats! The flavors of pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese are familiar, and thus delicious (or at least, worth eating!) to kids. Even though these flavors are stuffed into a zucchini, the smell and look of bubbling cheese are something that kids are generally willing to try.
Author: Ashley Keating
2 large zucchinis
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground turkey or chicken
1 cup pasta sauce (read your ingredients)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking sheet.
Brown the ground poultry and onion in a pan on the stove until cooked through. Drain any fat.
Slice the two uncooked zucchinis in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon to make a trench. (Optional tip: I like to trim the rounded bottom of the boat a tiny bit to make it stable.) Put the 4 zucchini canoes face-up on the greased baking sheet.
Fill each trench with 1/4 of the meat, Italian seasoning, pasta sauce, and mozzarella (in that order).
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is browned to your liking and bubbly. (Make sure to cool before eating, as the insides can be very hot!)