Appetizers/ Seafood

Tuna Stuffed Zucchini Boats

July 26, 2020 (Last Updated: February 6, 2021)

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Total time to make this recipe: 35 minutes
2 stuffed zucchini on a plate with salad with a fork

Zucchini boats the way my grandma used to make. Oven-baked with a simple stuffing of tuna, eggs, and breadcrumbs. It’s a really easy and delicious meal, perfect for a weekday dinner or even a Sunday lunch with the family.

I still remember the days when my grandma used to bring to the table a tray full of zucchini boats. She wasn’t a really good cook but the few things she knew how to cook were quite good.

She made zucchini boats often because they’re so easy to make. And always with tuna, because this was the only way she knew.

overhead photo of 3 baked zucchini boats

How to make zucchini boats

Zucchini boats or “zucchine ripiene” in Italian, are really common in Italy, especially in summer when zucchini is in season.

The most common recipe is to stuff them with ground meat, but I prefer them stuffed with tuna because it’s more light and summery and tuna goes so well with zucchini!

Large elongated zucchini are perfect to make zucchini boats, but you can also use the round ones or even smaller ones. I used homegrown zucchini from my garden so their shape it’s not perfect but they’re super delicious!

Cut the zucchini in half vertically, then scoop the flesh out with a teaspoon or a tablespoon depending on the zucchini size. Leave the shell at least 6-7 mm (1/4″) thick, even more, if it’s a very large zucchini.

Then add your preferred stuffing and bake in the oven until the zucchini is cooked (about 20 minutes).

zucchini boats on a baking sheet before going in the oven
one half stuffed zucchini on a plate

What to serve with zucchini boats

When I serve the main course of meat or fish, I always serve it together with sides. I cannot serve steak or salmon without side dishes, it would be madness!

But when it comes to dishes like these zucchini boats, I always struggle to find a good side dish to serve them with. They are already an all-in-one meal with protein and vegetables together. Adding more cooked vegetables on a side would make it redundant.

So my best solution so far is to serve them with a fresh summery salad. A simple salad with greens, onions, and tomatoes is good enough, it doesn’t need to be fancy. But even a Mediterranean salad like this Chopped veggie salad or this Greek Pasta Salad would be a great side.

2 stuffed zucchini on a plate with salad
fork holding a piece of ztuffed zucchini

The Recipe

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2 stuffed zucchini on a plate with salad with a fork

Tuna Stuffed Zucchini Boats

From my grandma's kitchen, oven-baked zucchini boats stuffed with canned tuna, egg and breadcrumbs. A simple summer main course.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Jessica – Cooking my Dreams


  • 2 medium-large Zucchini
  • 1 can Tuna
  • 2-3 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Parsley, chopped


  • Preheat the oven at 200°C / 390° F.
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon or a tablespoon, depending on the zucchini size. Leave the shell at least 6-7 mm (1/4″) thick, even more, if it’s a very large zucchini. Keep about 1/3 of the zucchini flesh aside.
  • Sprinkle the zucchini shell with salt and place it cut side down on a paper towel for a few minutes to remove the excess water.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. In a bowl, mix the canned tuna with the 1/3 of zucchini flesh you set aside, chopped finely.
  • Add the egg, lemon juice, and breadcrumbs and mix well.
  • With a tablespoon, stuff the zucchini, pressing well to make sure there are no air pockets.
  • Place the zucchini on a baking sheet, then sprinkle on top with chopped parsley, more breadcrumbs, and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce the zucchini.


Calories: 212 kcal | Carbohydrates: 20 g | Protein: 24 g | Fat: 5 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 112 mg | Sodium: 389 mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: italian recipe, summer dish, traditional, zucchini boats
Have you tried this recipe?Snap a photo and tag @jess.cookingmydreams or use the hashtag #cookingmydreams!

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Thank you so much!

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