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Mexican Zucchini Boats

Summertime is often zucchini overload time. If you have a plethora of zucchini in your kitchen, make these Mexican Zucchini Boats stuffed with turkey, tomatoes, and more!

Sideways view of Mexican zucchini boats with turkey and tomatoes in a blue casserole dish with recipe title at the top of the image

(This recipe for Mexican Zucchini Boats was originally posted in August 2012, but was updated with new photos in 2018).

Oh, zucchini. I love you, but you’re seriously cramping my style. And filling up my fridge. I guess farms are experiencing a plethora of zucchini this year because it’s been non-stop stocked up in my CSA box. And from listening to convos on Twitter, I’m not the only one experiencing this. What to do; what to do. I finally decided to use zucchini as a substitution in one of my favorite dishes. We frequently have taco night in our house because a) they are one of the most delicious foods in the world and b) they’re so easy to make and I’ve whipped them up so many times that I could do it with my eyes closed. No joke; I actually want to try because I think I’d be really good at it. Besides the fact that I might get raw turkey everywhere in my kitchen and I may chop my finger off when cutting tomatoes (I just got new Wusthof knives [affiliate link)]and they are sharp!), I really believe I could do it. Challenge me, anyone?

But since zucchini was exploding out of my fridge and taco shells aren’t always the healthiest option, I decided to turn zucchini into my taco shells. And it worked. Maybe it wouldn’t trick the kids. But then, I don’t have kids; so that shouldn’t be an issue. These Mexican zucchini boats were certainly satisfying and wonderful tasting and made me realize I didn’t miss the taco shell so much, after all.


This is a super easy dinner recipe that’s perfect for when you get home after a busy day of work on a weeknight. Especially if you’re in the same (zucchini) boat as me and have a plethora of zucchini overflowing from your fridge. I recommend medium-sized zucchinis in this recipe, but you can really use any size you happen to have… If your zucchini are smaller, you may just have some extra filling. But that’s OK because you can pile it up or eat it on the side.

You’ll start by slicing your zucchinis in half lengthwise and scooping out the flesh. Save the flesh and chop it up. Then sauté it with onion, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, and cumin. Then add in the turkey and sauté until it’s cooked through.

Collage showing process for making Mexican zucchini boats, including hollowed out zucchinis in a baking dish; onions, chopped zucchini, garlic, and spices in a sauté dish; and turkey added into the sauté dish

When turkey is cooked through, remove from heat and place the mixture into a bowl. Stir in chopped tomatoes. And fill zucchini boats with the mixture. Easy. It’s OK if they’re overflowing a little bit. Correction: It’s a wonderful thing if they’re overflowing a little bit.

Sprinkle with cheese (I prefer a sharp cheese, like Cabot’s Extra Sharp) and bake for about 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees… Basically until zucchinis are all tender and cheese is all melty.

Landscape view of 8 Mexican zucchini boats with turkey and tomatoes in a blue casserole dish

And yum! So, these Mexican zucchini boats are not taco shells (obviously). But they are a delicious and healthy alternative.

Which means you can eat more. If you want. And trust me, you will want to.

You can also top the zucchini boats with salsa and sour cream (or Greek yogurt) if you choose. Add anything to these that you would add to your favorite tacos.

Overhead view of a Mexican zucchini boat with turkey and tomatoes on a skinny white platter

I clearly love Mexican food, but once hollowed out, the options of what you can do with zucchini are endless. aside from filling with ice cream (which I admit, I’m kind of tempted to do… ice cream boat!), you could fill with any combination of meat and veggies. Perhaps quinoa? I almost added quinoa to my mix, but since I already had quinoa for breakfast and lunch, I figured I needed a break. I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as too much quinoa, but I didn’t really want to test it out.

Sideways view of Mexican zucchini boats with turkey and tomatoes in a blue casserole dish

But quinoa or brown rice in these Mexican zucchini boats would really be fabulous. Then again, if you want to declare zucchini the only healthy part of this dish, you could totally make cheeseburger zucchini boats. With bacon, obvi. Nobody here judges. Or at least they better not or else I’ve been judged to the moon and back. Oh well?

As I was writing this post, I got this week’s farm share box and guess what? No zucchini! Are we freed from zucchini imprisonment? What we do have are some marvelous smelling peaches (I can’t bear to bake with them, so I’ll likely just chomp on them as is) and lots and lots of corn. I never have a problem finding things to make with corn, so here I go!

And if the zucchini returns… I am SO ready. Are you??

What would you put in your zucchini boats?

If you’re looking for more easy-to-make weeknight dinners, check out my recipes for Greek Skillet Lasagna and Chicken Pad Thai.

And if you’re looking for more ideas for what to do with your boatful (ha! get it?) of zucchini, check out these Baked Zucchini Fries from Mindful Avocado or these Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes from Crumb Top Baking.

Mexican Zucchini Boats
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Summertime is often zucchini overload time. If you have a plethora of zucchini in your kitchen, make these Mexican Zucchini Boats stuffed with turkey, tomatoes, and more!

Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Eclectic, Mexican
Keyword: Ground Turkey Recipes, Healthy Mexican Recipes, Zucchini Entrees
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Sues
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp chopped jalapeño
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh with a spoon, taking care not to break through the skin and reserving the flesh. Place zucchini in a large baking dish and chop flesh.

  3. In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, garlic, and zucchini flesh, jalapeño, chili powder, and cumin. Stir together and cook for 2 minutes.

  4. Add in turkey and cook for about 7 minutes, breaking turkey up with spoon as you go. When turkey is cooked through, remove from heat and place in bowl. Stir in tomatoes.

  5. Fill zucchini halves with filling and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

  6. Bake zucchini boats for about 25-30 minutes, until they're tender.

Mexican Zucchini Boats -- Summertime is often zucchini overload time. If you have a plethora of zucchini in your kitchen, make these Mexican Zucchini Boats stuffed with turkey, tomatoes, and more! | wearenotmartha.com #zucchini #mexican #turkey #easyrecipes

13 Responses to "Mexican Zucchini Boats"

  1. Simply Life says:

    haha, yesterday was my first week not receiving zucchini as well! too bad because I would love to try these!

  2. Shannon says:

    another great use for zucchini 🙂 wish i was still getting a csa!!

  3. Melissa says:

    I’ve seen a lot of variations of zucchini boats across the interweb lately, but most are vegetarian. Excellent idea to incorporate a taco filling!

  4. Pam says:

    What a fantastic way to use up the summer zucchini. It looks wonderful.

  5. Gia Grossman says:

    This is just what I needed. I don’t do farm share boxes but love zucchini and buy it all the time. I love tacos too!

  6. emily says:

    yummmmmm. strangely, it’s not zukes that overflow at the farmer’s market here on the west coast. it’s GREENS. we’re up to our eyeballs in rainbow chard. but i want to scope out some zucchini to make these!

  7. lena says:

    hi sues, such brilliant idea. tacos are delicious and i dont think your zucchinis are any less delicious, if i make, i ‘ll probably use pork or minced chicken with some oriental sauce with lots of onions or maybe some corns too. Have a nice weekend!

  8. Emily says:

    I heart zucchini boats – I did a Greek version last summer but need to try yours! Zuchs are also surpringly good for baked goods like bread and even brownies and make awesome fritters!

  9. sarah k. @ the pajama chef says:

    my husband is really skeptical of zucchini boats but since your version has meat, maybe they’d pass in his book!

  10. Chris says:

    I was a bit nervous to try this one but I really liked it!

  11. Megan says:

    This is such a good idea. I’ve often done an Italian filling for zucchini boats (tomatoes, mozz, ground beef), but a Mexican version sounds really tasty too!

  12. Bridget says:

    Love this idea!! Sadly our zucchini plants crapped out this year…strange because usually we get more than we can handle.

  13. Heidi says:

    Thank you for this “what’s for dinner tonight” I had it years ago in eggplant and liked it but would prefer it this way I think.

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