Here’s a delicious and easy recipe for how to make zucchini pizza boats. This fun Italian recipe is a healthy twist to our typical pizza slices. We call these pizza boats because when we cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, they look like little boats, but with pizza toppings!
Where this Recipe Came From
The origin of my recipe which I’m sharing with you comes from my husband’s Italian mother. Although she never called them pizza boats, this recipe is tried and true a zillion times over.
Every time we would go visit her in the summer, she would always just grab some vegetables and whip something up. This is one of them.
You’ll notice I use Romano cheese in this recipe. Romano has a stronger flavor than other Italian cheeses. I believe using Romano is better than even mozzarella, but this really comes down to personal preference. Use what you have, but if you have a choice, try Romano or a mix of Romano and mozzarella.
How to Make Zucchini Pizza Boats
Well, okay a boat is hollow and these aren’t. That’s because we aren’t stuffing the zucchini. For this recipe the ingredients go on top, just like a pizza.
You will need the following ingredients:
- Whole zucchini (estimate 1 per person). Any type of zucchini will do. You can order zucchini seeds online. Here’s a site for Italian varieties.
- Grated or Shredded Romano or Mozzarella Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Pasta Sauce or Pizza Sauce
Preparing the Zucchini Pizza Boats
- Wash the fresh zucchini. There is no need to peel them.
- Slice the fresh zucchini lengthwise
- Gently remove the seeds
- Using a fork, poke holes in the zucchini (allows oil and sauce to soak in easier)
- Place them in an oven proof baking dish open (face) side up
- Brush liberally with olive oil
- Do not add the toppings yet
- Bake in an oven, topping with sauce & cheese at the end. It’s that easy!
How to Bake the Zucchini Boats in the Oven
- Place the baking dish uncovered with your zucchini (without toppings) in a preheated oven set to 350F
- Bake without the toppings for the first 20 minutes. Otherwise the toppings would burn.
- Remove from the oven, making sure the zucchini can be easily pierced with a fork, if not, return to the oven for 5 more minutes. Don’t let them overcook; we want them to keep their form.
- Add a layer of sauce, then a layer of cheese
- If you are not using pizza sauce, then add a good sprinkling of oregano which is a key ingredient for pizza. You can check out our recipe for how to make your own Italian homemade pizza sauce.
- Return to the oven for 10 more minutes until the cheese has melted
- Serve warm
Variation of This Zucchini Pizza Boat Recipe
Just as pizza toppings and styles are endless, so are the variations for this recipe. Some recipes suggest meat toppings, others do not. I have always stayed with this simple version, as I do not want the flavor of the zucchini to be overshadowed by too many other ingredients.
However, you can get as creative as you’d like. If you choose to add quite a bit of toppings, you may need to hollow the zucchini out just a bit so they all can fit. I advise that you slice your toppings rather than dicing. This will make them less likely to fall off.
Here are some topping ideas to get you inspired!
- white/yellow onions
- red onion
- green pepper
- red pepper
- sliced banana peppers or pepperoncini
- pepper flakes
- black olives
- sliced tomatoes
- sliced garlic
When using meat as a topping to your pizza zucchini boats, only use precooked meat. Do not cook the meat while baking the zucchini in the oven. Instead add at the time you add the sauce.
- ground beef (precooked)
- ground sausage (precooked)
- ground turkey (precooked)
- bacon (precooked)
How to Freeze Zucchini Pizza Boats
It is not recommended to freeze zucchini pizza boats. They will lose their firmness and due to the moisture content in the zucchini, will get ice crystals very quickly. Reheating zucchini is not ideal, so it is best to serve them right from the oven.
You can store them in an airtight container up to 3 days. I don’t recommend ziplock bags as they will slide around too easily.
How to Reheat the Zucchini
Odds are you won’t have any left to reheat! But if you do, you can either reheat in an oven just as if you were baking them at 350F for 15 minutes. Or you can reheat them in a toaster oven. Unlike the first time, I’d gently cover with some foil or parchment to avoid burning the cheese.
I do not recommend reheating them in a microwave, but you obviously can.
Here’s the recipe:
Baked Zucchini Pizza Boats
- 4 sliced medium zucchini (lengthwise) zucchine
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil olio d’oliva
- 4 Tablespoons pasta or pizza sauce salsa di paste alimentari
- grated Romano cheese or shredded mozzarella Romano formaggio
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano optional – use if not using pizza sauce
- In baking pan place zucchini face up.
- Poke holes with fork in the zucchini
- Drizzle the olive oil on top.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
- Drizzle the sauce on the zucchini slices and cook another 10 minutes or so until zucchini is still firm, but soft enough to spear with your fork.
- Sprinkle cheese on top to melt, remove and enjoy!
Is Zucchini Pizza Boats Recipe for Dinner, Lunch or Snack?
While this is a fun recipe it’s not the most filling as a main meal unless you pair it with other food items. I recommend cooking ravioli or other pasta that doesn’t need a heavy sauce.
Serve zucchini pizza boats with some fresh hearty breads. If you’ve ever been curious about what is focaccia, it is an Italian flat bread makes a great side dish to help round out light meals.
You can also serve this dish with some salads. But the salads don’t have to be green salads, although that’s always a great choice. Try some variations to your salads that add some healthy benefits such as our Italian chickpea salad, cannellini bean salad or antipasto salad.
It is also a great accompaniment to a dish of pasta or a chicken dish such as baked Italian breaded chicken breasts. It is also perfect as a chicken cutlets side dish.
Other Similar Recipes
If you enjoy this zucchini pizza boats recipe, you’ll also enjoy my other zucchini recipes such as pan fried zucchini flowers, baked Italian zucchini slices, and Italian pasta with zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes.
By the way, if you’re a fan of zucchini, you’ve got to check out the number of zucchini cookbooks on Amazon!