This Keto Zucchini Boats Recipe with Bacon are made with bacon, corn, red onion, garlic, cilantro, and filled into zucchinis and baked with melted cheese on top.
These Keto Zucchini Boats with Bacon are out of this world. My housekeeper in Mexico loves making these on the side or chicken or beef, and so I had to snag the recipe from her. Believe it or not, zucchini is a great vegetable that is widely used in Mexico. You would know this if you tried my Cheesy Zucchini with corn dish. The best part about this delicious dish is that it is super keto friendly and a low carb meal. The combination of the zucchini, corn, and cheese is so delicious to me. I have ever seen people add poblano peppers into the filling as well, which gives the dish a nice spice to it.
What are Zucchini Boats?
Zucchini boats are a type of dish that typically involves hollowing out a zucchini and filling it with various ingredients before baking or grilling it. The zucchini acts as a boat-shaped vessel for the filling, which can be customized to suit different tastes and preferences. Common fillings for zucchini boats include ground meat, rice, cheese, vegetables, and herbs. Zucchini boats are often considered a healthier alternative to traditional stuffed peppers or stuffed mushrooms because zucchini is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense vegetable that is rich in vitamins and minerals. They are also versatile and easy to make, making them a popular choice for a quick and tasty meal or snack.
Why is this Zucchini Boats Recipe so great?
There are many reasons why zucchini boats are a great recipe:
- Healthy and nutritious: Zucchini boats are a low-calorie, low-carb, and nutrient-dense dish that can be a great addition to a healthy diet. Zucchini is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutritious and filling option.
- Versatile: Zucchini boats can be filled with a variety of different ingredients, allowing you to customize the recipe to your taste preferences. You can use meat, veggies, cheese, grains, or a combination of these to create a filling and satisfying meal.
- Easy to make: Zucchini boats are a simple and easy recipe that can be made with just a few basic ingredients and equipment. The recipe doesn't require any fancy techniques or skills, making it an accessible option for beginner cooks.
- Great for meal prep: Zucchini boats are a great option for meal prep, as they can be made in advance and stored in the fridge or freezer for later. This makes them a convenient and healthy option for busy weeknights or packed lunches.
- Delicious: Zucchini boats are a flavorful and delicious dish that can satisfy your cravings for comfort food without the guilt. The zucchini provides a subtle, fresh flavor that pairs well with a variety of fillings, making it a crowd-pleasing recipe.
Zucchini Boats Ingredients
- Vegetable oil
- Bacon or Ham
- Red onion
See recipe card for quantities for this Zucchini Boats Recipe.
How to make Zucchini Boats Recipe
In a large pot, add a good amount of water and bring to a boil. Add the zucchini and boil the zucchini for 10-15 minutes. Take them out and strain. Once the zucchini has cooled, cut them in half lengthwise. With a spoon, carve out the insides of the zucchini and place to the side.
In a large skillet on medium heat, add oil and wait for it to shimmer. Add the onion, bacon and corn and cook for about 6-8 minutes, until the bacon is toasty, the onion is soft, and the corn is starting to pop. Take the zucchini insides you can placed on the side and add into the skillet. Cook on medium heat, until all of the liquid has been evaporated. This is your filling!
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the zucchini into a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
With a spoon, scoop the filling into each halved zucchini and repeat with the rest. Top with the shredded cheese and bake in the oven for 6-10 minutes, until the cheese melts.
Hint: I love to use canned corn but if you are using regular corn, you will need to cook it for a bit longer. Do a taste test!
Zucchini: The zucchinis are an essential ingredient for this dish and can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store. Do not confuse it with a cucumber or squash!
Bacon: I usually use bacon for this dish and we had ran out and I used some ham that I diced up. It ended up adding a great flavor once I toasted the ham on the skillet. Feel free to try out my friend Kelly's Bacon Bits which you can add on the zucchini boats as well.
Corn: I have used corn from a can many times to make this dish, but I am sure using a fresh corn on the cob and sawing off the kernels to use will taste much better.
Onion: I used red onion for this recipe, although you can use yellow or white. The red onion is the more traditional onion to use though.
Garlic: For best quality results, use fresh garlic. You can always use garlic from the jar although it is less fresh that way.
Cilantro: Some people have a love/hate relationship with cilantro. I love adding cilantro into the filling of the zucchini as it gives it such a nice kick. You could always use chopped green onion or scallions if you prefer.
Cheese: You will need a cheese that melts easily, like mozzarella cheese. In Mexico, the traditional cheese used for melting (like quesadillas) is Oaxaca cheese. This type of cheese can be more difficult to find, so mozzarella cheese can do the trick.
Zucchini Boats Recipe Variations
There are many variations of zucchini boats that you can try. Here are a few ideas:
- Taco zucchini boats: Fill hollowed-out zucchini with seasoned ground beef, cheese, and taco toppings like diced tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.
- Caprese zucchini boats: Fill hollowed-out zucchini with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving.
- Pizza zucchini boats: Fill hollowed-out zucchini with pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms, and bell peppers.
- Mediterranean zucchini boats: Fill hollowed-out zucchini with cooked quinoa or couscous, crumbled feta cheese, olives, and chopped fresh herbs like parsley and mint.
- Chicken Alfredo zucchini boats: Fill hollowed-out zucchini with cooked chicken, Alfredo sauce, and cooked spinach. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese before serving.
- Breakfast zucchini boats: Fill hollowed-out zucchini with scrambled eggs, cooked bacon or sausage, and shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with hot sauce or salsa on the side.
These Zucchini boats are kid friendly and will play with your child’s imagination when they imagine a real boat. I used to eat these as a kid all the time. I would love making these Zucchini Boats alongside a Mexican Picadillo or Chicken Tinga Tacos.
The equipment needed to make zucchini boats is relatively simple and can vary depending on your preferred cooking method. Here are some basic equipment that you may need:
- A sharp knife: You'll need a sharp knife to cut the zucchini in half and to hollow out the center.
- A spoon or a melon baller: You'll need a spoon or a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and flesh of the zucchini to create the "boat" shape.
- Baking sheet or casserole dish: Once you've filled the zucchini boats with your desired filling, you'll need to place them on a baking sheet or casserole dish to bake in the oven. I love using my Caraway baking sheets for best quality.
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper: You can line your baking sheet or casserole dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper to prevent sticking and make clean-up easier.
- Oven or grill: You can bake or grill your zucchini boats, depending on your preferred cooking method.
- Cooking Spray: Cooking spray or oil to lightly coat the zucchini boats before baking or grilling.
How to store Zucchini Boats
If you have leftover zucchini boats, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to three days. Here are some tips for storing zucchini boats:
- Let the zucchini boats cool to room temperature before storing them.
- Place the zucchini boats in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
- Label the container or plastic wrap with the date and store the zucchini boats in the refrigerator.
When you're ready to eat the leftover zucchini boats, you can reheat them in the oven or microwave. If you're reheating in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and bake the zucchini boats for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. If you're reheating in the microwave, place the zucchini boats on a microwave-safe plate and microwave them for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Note that zucchini boats can become a bit soft after being stored in the fridge, so be careful when handling them to prevent them from falling apart.
Zucchini Boats Recipe Top tips
Here are some top tips to help you make delicious zucchini boats:
- Choose the right zucchini: When making zucchini boats, it's important to choose zucchini that is firm and doesn't have any soft spots or bruises. Look for zucchini that is uniform in size, as this will help ensure that they cook evenly.
- Hollow out the zucchini carefully: Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the zucchini in half and a spoon or melon baller to remove the seeds and flesh. Be sure not to remove too much of the zucchini flesh, as this can cause the boats to become too fragile and fall apart.
- Precook the zucchini: To ensure that the zucchini cooks evenly, you can precook the hollowed-out zucchini halves in boiling water before filling them. This will also help to remove excess moisture from the zucchini, which can prevent the boats from becoming soggy.
- Don't overfill the boats: Be careful not to overfill the zucchini boats, as this can cause them to become too heavy and fall apart. A good rule of thumb is to fill the boats no more than ¾ full.
- Bake or grill at the right temperature: Depending on your preferred cooking method, be sure to bake or grill the zucchini boats at the appropriate temperature and for the right amount of time. Overcooking can cause the zucchini boats to become mushy, while undercooking can result in a raw or tough texture.
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove