two rice stuffed zucchini boats on a white plate with fork and two more zucchini boats in the background on another white plate with a red plaid napkin next to it

Rice Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Rice stuffed zucchini boats are healthy and satisfying, and perfect for when you want a light yet flavorful meal. Filled with a vegetarian mixture and topped with mozzarella, these zucchini boats are easy and fun!

I find hollowing out vegetables and filling them with different ingredients to be a fun activity. Does that make me a weirdo? Part of the fun is the endless variety of fillings that are possible, and the other is using the vegetables as vessels to hold the filling. Zucchinis are no exception to this fun. Especially when my garden zucchinis are starting to grow, and I keep hearing people say that they often grow fast and sometimes all at once, leading to a zucchini-palooza. Thus, I give you: rice stuffed zucchini boats!

This zucchini boat recipe is very straight-forward, healthy, and full of flavor, despite it being a very simple dish. The mozzarella becomes melt-y and the edges turn golden brown and slightly crisp. It’s a vegetarian’s delight, but could easily be made into a heartier dish by adding your favorite protein. I hope this dish becomes a summer staple in your household.

seven rice stuffed zucchini boats lined up in a row on a marble counter

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to package instructions.
  2. Halve zucchinis lengthwise and hollow out the flesh using a spoon. Place flesh in a small bowl and roughly chop.
  3. Place zucchini halves into a large baking dish or baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm olive oil for 1 minute. Add zucchini flesh and cook until water is gone, about 5-7 minutes. Add shallot and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
  5. To zucchini flesh-shallot mixture, add cooked rice, tomato, and salt. Stir to combine.
  6. Distribute rice mixture evenly into each zucchini half. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Top each zucchini half with mozzarella and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese melts and starts to brown.
white hand holding a spoon hollowing out zucchinis that are lined up on a baking sheet

Why This Recipe Works

Easy – While your rice is cooking, hollow out your zucchinis, make the filling, and assemble!

Flavor – bright, zesty, herb-y, and cheese-y!

Healthy – This recipe is vegetables + grains + a small amount of cheese. Could it BE any healthier?

Fun – Hollowing out zucchinis is a fun way to serve them, and can be a fun activity for kids!

tomato, onion, and rice topped zucchini boats lined up on a platter
mozzarella, rice, tomato, and onion topped zucchini  arranged on a white platter

Variations & Substitutions

Use a different grain in place of brown rice. White rice, farro, quinoa, or barley would all work great. Cook according to package instructions. And if you are short on time, make your grain ahead of time.

Add your favorite protein to make it a heartier dish. Chicken, turkey, chickpeas, or tofu would all be great additions!

Prep your zucchini boats up to one day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking by placing them on the counter for around one hour.

Substitute Swiss, provolone, or your favorite soft, mild cheese in place of mozzarella.

close up of four stuffed zucchini with melted mozzarella on top
four zucchini boats on two white plates with a red plaid napkin in the foreground and two red tomatoes in the background

Enjoy your week, and feel free to drop me a line in the comments – I would love to hear if you try this recipe! Or tag me on Instagram @maryannehoekstra to let me know how it turned out! Also, if you are enjoying my blog, please consider recommending it to your friends. They can subscribe here.

More Vegetarian Recipe Ideas!

Rice Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Rice stuffed zucchini boats are healthy and satisfying and perfect when you want a light yet flavorful meal. Filled with a vegetarian mixture and topped with mozzarella, these zucchini boats are easy and fun!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 4 zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions
 

  • Cook the rice according to package instructions.
  • Halve zucchinis lengthwise and hollow out the flesh using a spoon. Place flesh in a small bowl and roughly chop.
  • Place zucchini halves into a large baking dish or baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm olive oil for 1 minute. Add zucchini flesh and cook until water is gone, about 5-7 minutes. Add shallot and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
  • To zucchini flesh-shallot mixture, add cooked rice, tomato, and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Distribute rice mixture evenly into each zucchini half. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Top each zucchini half with mozzarella and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese melts and starts to brown.
Keyword brown rice, garlic, italian seasoning, mozzarella, tomato, zucchini

10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love this! Fun and healthy but also filling!

  2. 5 stars
    I needed a way to use up all the zucchini I’ve grown this year and these boats are perfect!

  3. 5 stars
    These zucchini boats were fun to make, healthy, and so delicious! I love the simplicity of it and also how many different ways it can be customized. Definitely will be making it again!

  4. 5 stars
    I love Rice stuffed Zucchini recipe. It looks gorgeous.

  5. 5 stars
    I’m always looking for new dinner ideas and this sounds like such a great one! Love that it’s light and healthy – perfect for summer.

  6. 5 stars
    These are calling my name and I can’t wait to make these! My daughter and husband are going to love these zucchini boats! Excited to give these a try for lunch tomorrow!

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