June 18, 2021

Easy Vegan Recipes

Eat Vegan – Eat Well

Italian-Style Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

4 min read

Got zucchini? Make these vegan stuffed zucchini boats! They’re bursting with zesty Italian flavor. Super easy to make and perfect for a weeknight.

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Boats Topped with Vegan Parmesan Cheese and Parsley

I try to post a good amount of recipes that classify as easy, but this one is almost too easy. So easy, in fact, that I was a little reluctant to even share it.

Initially I had a more complicated recipe in mind — one that involved chopping and sautéing, a long simmer time, and lots more ingredients. But then I spotted a container of leftover marinara sauce in the freezer and it seemed silly to go to all that trouble when things could be much simpler. And I thought maybe you guys would appreciate a super simple dinner recipe as much as I did.

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Ingredients

Four Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Halves on a Plate with Napkin and Fork

It’s a short list today!

  • Zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • Quinoa
  • Water
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Chickpeas
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt & pepper

How to Make Zucchini Boats

Side View of a Baking Sheet with an Array of Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Prepare the Zucchini

Start by prepping and roasting your zucchini. Cut each on in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scoop out some of the insides. (Tip: I like to use a grapefruit spoon for this.)

Drizzle and rub your zukes with some olive oil and pop them into the oven until they’re tender.

Side By Side Images Showing A Spoon Drizzling Olive Oil on Zucchini Halves, and Hand Rubbing the Oil in

Use a paper towel to blot up any accumulated moisture when they’re done, then give them a sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Make the Filling

While your zucchini bake you can make the filling. First you’ll need to cook some quinoa. Place it in a pot with water, bring the water to a simmer, and cover the pot until your quinoa is tender. For more guidance on quinoa cooking, check out this guide.

Normally I leave my quinoa sitting with the lid on the pot for a few minutes after cooking, but that’s not really necessary here. Remove the lid, then stir in some marinara sauce and chickpeas. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes to thicken it up.

Take the pot off of the burner and stir in some fresh basil.

Collage Showing Steps for Making Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Filling: Mix Quinoa and Water, Simmer with the Lid on, Stir in Sauce and Chickpeas, and Stir in Basil

Stuff your zucchini halves with your filling. I like to top my stuffed zucchini with some vegan Parmesan cheese. You could also sprinkle it with some store-bought vegan cheese and pop them under the broiler to melt it if you like.

Hand Spooning Filling into Zucchini Halves

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Tips & FAQ

  • Is this recipe gluten-free? It is!
  • Leftovers & storage: Store any leftover zucchini boats in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Make-ahead option: To save time on the day of serving, prep your zucchini and cook the filling in advance. When you’re ready, roast the zucchini, heat the filling, and stuff the zucchini.
  • Does the zucchini I scoop out need to go to waste? Nope! I like to plan ahead and use it in another recipe, like my vegan zucchini bread or fritters.
  • Got leftover quinoa? Use it in this recipe! You’ll need a heaping cup. Just throw in into the pot with your marinara and chickpeas, and skip steps 5 and 6 of the recipe.

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Boats Topped with Vegan Parmesan Cheese and Parsley

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Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Boats Topped with Vegan Parmesan Cheese and Parsley

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

Got zucchini? Make these vegan stuffed zucchini boats! They’re bursting with zesty Italian flavor. Super easy to make and perfect for a weeknight.

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 40 minutes

Servings 4

Calories 305 kcal

Author Alissa Saenz


  • 4 medium zucchini (about 9 to 10 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or jarred)
  • 1 cup canned or cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape hollow out the inside of each half. I usually only make a small cavity, but leave as much flesh as you like.

  3. Rub your zucchini halves with olive oil and arrange them on a baking sheet.

  4. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake the zucchini until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

  5. While the zucchini roasts, stir the quinoa and water together in a small saucepan and place it over high heat. Bring the water to a boil.

  6. Lower the heat until the water is at a low simmer and cover the pot. Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

  7. Remove the lid from the pot and stir in the marinara sauce and chickpeas. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

  8. Let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens up a bit, about 5 minutes.

  9. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the basil. Season the filling with salt and pepper to taste.

  10. Remove the baking sheet from the oven when the zucchini halves are finished roasting. Use a paper towel to blot up any excess moisture that has accumulated, then sprinkle the halves with salt and pepper.

  11. Fill the zucchini halves with the filling. Sprinkle with vegan Parmesan and serve.

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

Amount Per Serving (2 zucchini halves)

Calories 305 Calories from Fat 77

% Daily Value*

Fat 8.5g13%

Saturated Fat 1.5g8%

Sodium 667mg28%

Potassium 1229mg35%

Fiber 9.6g38%

Sugar 13g14%

Protein 10.9g22%

Calcium 94mg9%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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