Mediterranean Zucchini Boats are a flavorful and balanced vegetarian dinner. Zucchini is stuffed with spiced quinoa, sun dried tomatoes, chickpeas, kalamata olives and feta then baked until tender. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner and great for meal prepping!
I was finally able to pick a couple zucchini off my plant this summer. While I was out picking them I could see at least six more that would be ready to pick in another week. I love to use them to bake a loaf of this vegan zucchini bread or a batch of these chocolate chunk zucchini muffins. The problem is you only need one zucchini.
When I need to off load 3 or 4 of them I opt to make zucchini boats. I have quite a few zucchini boat recipes here on Recipe Runner and today I’m adding these Mediterranean Zucchini Boats to the ever growing list.
These zucchini boats are vegetarian, but packed with protein thanks to the quinoa and chickpeas. The spice mixture and fresh lemon give the quinoa a ton of flavor as do the feta, kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes. This is a great dinner to make if you meal prep as it hold up well for several days.
Ingredients For Mediterranean Zucchini Boats
- shallot or onion
- ground cumin, coriander, oregano and smoked paprika
- sun dried tomatoes
- kalamata olives
- flat leaf parsley
- pine nuts (optional)
How to Make Mediterranean Zucchini Boats
Start by cooking the quinoa. First sauté the shallot and garlic in a little olive oil. Once the onions are soft add in the rinsed quinoa, spices, salt, pepper, sun dried tomatoes and water. Bring everything to a boil and then lower the heat and put a lid on the pan and let it simmer until the quinoa is tender.
While the quinoa cooks prep the zucchini. Cut them in half lengthwise and hollow out the center leaving a 1/4 inch border all the way around. Sprinkle the flesh with salt and let them sit while oven preheats, about 10 minutes. Dab the excess water out of the zucchini then place them on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking oil.
Bake the unfilled zucchini boats for 10 minutes. This will give them a head start on the cooking process since the filling will already be cooked.
Once the quinoa is cooked, stir in the lemon zest and juice, chopped parsley, olives, chickpeas and feta. Fill the par-baked zucchini boats generously with the filling and drizzle them with a little olive oil before putting them back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.
When the zucchini boats have finished baking garnish them with toasted pine nuts and extra parsley.
Quinoa – Quinoa can be replaced with white or brown rice, farro, couscous or orzo.
Kalamata olives – Any variety of olive can replace kalamatas. If you don’t like olives you can omit them or try capers to keep that briny flavor.
Sun dried tomatoes – jarred roasted red peppers can replace sun dried tomatoes. The flavor will be slightly different, but will still taste great.
Shallot – yellow or red onion may be used in place of a shallot.
Chickpeas – cooked lentils or white beans would work well in place of the chickpeas. You can also omit them if you don’t enjoy beans.
Frequently Asked Questions
This isn’t a required step, but I highly recommend doing it. Salting the zucchini flesh will draw out excess water. This will help keep the filling from getting watery as it bakes. Once you salt the zucchini and let it sit for 10 minutes, you’ll use a paper towel to blot out the excess liquid and salt, then proceed to bake it.
Quinoa has a protective coating on the outside of it called saponin. Saponin can make the quinoa taste bitter or soapy and for some people can cause them to get a stomachache. Although some quinoa packages say it’s been pre-rinsed, I still recommend rinsing it.
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and run it under cold water for a minute or so until the water runs clear.
More Zucchini Boat Recipes
- Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats
- Cheesy Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Lamb and Chickpea Stuffed Zucchini with Tahini Yogurt Sauce
- 3-4 large zucchini
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well under cold water
- 1/4 cup diced shallot or onion
- 1 clove of garlic, grated or minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- Zest of a lemon + 2 tablespoons of juice
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the middle leaving a 1/4 inch border all the way around. Sprinkle salt onto the flesh and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. Prepare the quinoa while you wait.
- In a large saucepan, sauté the shallot and garlic in a couple teaspoons of olive oil. When they're soft and fragrant, add in the quinoa, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper, and sun dried tomatoes. Stir together and toast the quinoa for 30 seconds and then pour in 1 cup of water. Bring the quinoa to a boil then cover with a lid and lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa cooks par-bake the zucchini. Start by using a paper towel to blot out the excess liquid from the inside of the zucchini. Spray a sheet pan with cooking oil or line it with foil. Place the zucchini halves onto the sheet cut side up and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- After the quinoa is cooked, add in the lemon zest and juice, chickpeas, olives, feta, and parsley. Fluff everything together with a fork and then divide the filling into the zucchini boats. Drizzle the tops of them with a little olive oil and then place the sheet pan back into the oven and bake another 10 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
- Remove the zucchini boats from the oven and garnish with toasted pine nuts, extra feta and parsley.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 375mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 13g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.