Mushroom & Pesto Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Growing up, my Mom instilled a love for zucchini squash in me.

During the summer, she would slice them into rounds and grill them in a pan with butter, salt and pepper.  I couldn’t wait for the softened savory squash to be scooped out of the frying pan and lovingly ladeled onto my plate. It seemed there was never enough to go around.

This recipe can be easily done by whizzing up your veggies in a food processor but here I’ll show you how a simple chef’s knife can do the same trick.  Although the recipe makes 8 zucchini boats, I dare you to just try and eat one!

Watch us make these on my news segment below!

Since I have a love for zucchini, I thought it might be nice to stuff some this summer. I have two squash plants complete with blossoms exploding in my backyard.

I made these zucchini boats the other day, and they were a big hit with the family, just like Mom’s sauteed ones were with me.  Join me as I show you how I made them!

Start by taking four small-sized zucchini squash.  Keep them small if you can, but larger ones would probably work as well.

Slice off each end and then cut them right down the middle.  Take a teaspoon and gently scraped a hollow line down the length of the zucchini.

Make sure and don’t scrape out too much of the insides. You want your “boat” to be sturdy enough to hold up to the stuffing.

Reserve the insides of the squash that you just scooped out and run your knife through it. Also chop up one-half of a red bell pepper, Chop up 10 -12 cremini or button mushrooms as well. Also, chop up enough red onion to make 1/2 cup.

(Alternately, you could put all of this in the food processor and pulse a few times, but not TOO much. You don’t want paste!)

(Watch the video of us making them with the food processor below – SO easy!)


Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and toss all of this in.

Now stir it around for about 5 minutes and soften everything up.

Add in one cup of panko bread crumbs.

Also add in 2/3 cup of basil pesto.

Add a little salt and pepper and stir for another minute or so.

Then take your teaspoon again and scoop up some of the filling you just made and press it into one of the hollowed out zucchini boats.

Don’t be afraid to really stuff them.

And do the same for all the others and place them one by one into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Pop these into a 350º oven for 20-25 minutes.

Then take them out and sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese right over the top of all of them.

Pop them back into the oven for 5 minutes and let the cheese crisp up.

Oh my merciful stars…

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these.

If you have some zucchini boats left over, pop them into the oven for 10 minutes to crisp the top again and heat them through. They’re just as good the next day!

Try them!  You’ll be happy as a clam!

Mushroom & Pesto Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 small zucchini squash
  • 10-12 cremini mushrooms (or button), chopped
  • ½ large red bell pepper, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 c. panko bread crumbs
  • ⅔ c. basil pesto
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. pepper
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. black pepper
  • ½ c. parmesan cheese
  1. Slice off ends of zucchini and slice them down the middle longways.
  2. Make boat by using a teaspoon to scrape out seeds and flesh of zucchini, leaving ¼ inch still intact to make boat sturdy.
  3. Reserve zucchini flesh and chop.
  4. In a food processor, pulse mushrooms, red bell pepper and red onion until small pieces form but not too much. You do not want paste!
  5. Otherwise, you can just chop them.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  7. Add chopped vegetables including the zucchini flesh and saute about 5 minutes or until peppers and onions soften and mushrooms begin to brown.
  8. Add panko and pesto, salt and pepper.
  9. Remove from heat and scoop by teaspoon into zucchini boats, pressing down with spoon to mold inside of boats.
  10. Place side by side in sprayed 9 x 13 inch pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  11. Pop back into oven and bake an additional 5 minutes to brown parmesan cheese.


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