Recipe: Skinny Sausage Zucchini Boats

(Photo: SkinnyMom /

If you don't cook with the extremely versatile zucchini, now is your perfect chance to start! These zucchini boats are stuffed with delicious chicken sausage, onions, garlic, red chili flakes and cumin, then topped with marinara sauce, panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese for the perfect low-cal dinner. In fact, one serving (two zucchini boats) comes to only 280 calories!

Pro tips:

  • To swap out the chicken sausage for ground beef or ground turkey: Just cook it first, drain the fat, and add to the recipe at step 5.
  • For a vegetarian option: Bulk the filling up with more vegetables, like a red or yellow pepper, or even quinoa instead of a meat option.

Recipe: Skinny Sausage Zucchini Boats

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving size: 2 zucchini boats


  • 4 medium zucchini (about 10 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 links chicken sausage, small dice
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • 2 cups lower-sugar marinara sauce
  • ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the centers with a spoon, saving the centers. Roughly chop the removed centers and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and drop the "scooped out" out zucchini in the water for 1-2 minutes to partially cook. Carefully remove with tongs and reserve on a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and cook the onions until they start to become translucent, 6-8 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, diced sausage, reserved chopped zucchini centers, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, cumin, and basil. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring to combine.
  6. Pour ½ cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and line the dish with the zucchini halves, cut side facing up.
  7. Evenly fill each zucchini boat with the sausage filling, and pour the remaining 1½ cup of sauce over the tops.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the panko and Parmesan cheese together. Evenly sprinkle the tops of the zucchini with this mixture.
  9. Generously spray the panko crust with nonstick cooking spray.
  10. Bake until the cheese melts and the top is golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

Nutrition Information
Per Serving: (2 zucchini boats)
Calories: 280
Calories from fat: 100
Fat: 12g
Saturated Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 28mg
Sodium: 958mg
Carbohydrates: 26g
Fiber: 6g
Sugar: 14g
Protein: 22g
WWP+: 7

The nutrition content of recipes on have been calculated by Registered Dietitian, Jessica Penner, of Smart Nutrition.