Let’s talk zucchini. Although it doesn’t have a ton of flavor by itself, zucchini is by far the most versatile veggie out there. You can use it in every meal ~ breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert! In this case, I used zucchini in the form of a “boat” or outer shell for my main dish. The convenient part of making zucchini boats is that you can use the “guts” in the meal you’re creating or pop them in the fridge and save them for a later date. I’ve had an unusually high craving for Italian food lately, so I decided to satisfy it by making a lightened up version of Italian stuffed shells, substituting the pasta for zucchini. Check it out!
Inspired by SkinnyTaste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbs dried oregano
- 1 1/2 Tbs dried basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 medium zucchini, halved and gutted
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 links hot Italian turkey sausage (about 16 oz)
- 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup reduced fat Parmesan cheese
**Note: If you aren’t a fan of spicy foods, just buy mild turkey sausage, or omit the red pepper flakes in the marinara sauce.**
First, make your quick marinara sauce by combining first 7 ingredients (through salt and pepper). Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
While marinara is simmering, hollow out your zucchini boats using a spoon. Leave about a 1/2 inch thickness to each zucchini boat.
Next, remove turkey sausage from casing and heat on medium heat until cooked through.
While sausage is browning, chop your onion, bell pepper, and zucchini guts.
Drain excess grease from your browned turkey sausage, and add garlic, onion, bell pepper, and chopped zucchini.
Heat on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, and add 1 cup marinara sauce to thicken the mixture. Get ready to assemble your boats!
Pour one cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking pan, and place zucchini on top. Fill each boat evenly with Italian sausage mixture.
Cover each boat with a couple spoonfuls of marinara and a sprinkle of Mozzarella and Parmesan.
Cover with foil, and bake in your 400 degree heated oven for 30 minutes.
Enjoy with a side salad for a complete meal! Two of these babies are pretty filing, especially when paired with a side. And they make fantastic leftovers! YUM! 🙂