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Zucchini Boat Enchilada Recipe
This recipe is right out of the vegetarian chapter of my 3rd book, Cook Once Dinner Fix. If you’ve ever attempted zucchini boats before, you know that there’s a bit of a trick to perfecting the method. In my opinion, not overcooking them is key. These boats are festive, light, fresh, and gorgeous.
While you can absolutely make these zucchini boats all on their own, if you’re making this Cook Once Dinner Fix-style, they’re meant to be paired with a delicious, comforting vegetarian chili with vegan cornbread. Find out how these recipes work together HERE.
What makes this recipe the best ever stuffed zucchini boats recipe?
I love that these zucchini boats are stuffed with all of the delicious enchilada flavors that I’ve grown up enjoying. Zucchini boats can be hit or miss — sometimes they’re just flat out bland and boring, so amping them up with bold flavors is key!
How long does it take to make these easy stuffed zucchini boats?
If you’re using dried black beans, the entire process will take about 2 hours and 15 minutes (plus the 8 hours it’ll take to soak the beans). If you’re opting for canned black beans (this is what I personally do in the stage of life I’m in right now), the time gets cut in half and should only take about an hour.
Ingredients for Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Here’s what you’ll need for this yummy, bold, veggie-loaded meal:
- Black Beans – if you’re making this recipe with dried black beans, you’ll need ¾ cup of dried beans. If you’re making this recipe with canned black beans (totally acceptable, I promise!), you’ll need 2 (15-ounce) cans.
- Onion – to help amp up the flavor of the black beans (if you’re using dried), you’ll need ½ of a small quartered yellow onion.
- Garlic – again, a huge flavor booster here — you’ll want to throw 1 smashed and peeled garlic clove in with the beans also.
- Bay Leaf – to further season the beans, drop a bay leaf in the pot.
- Sea Salt – a ½ teaspoon of sea salt gets tossed into the pot of beans too.
- Enchilada Sauce – to keep things nice and easy, grab a cup of prepared red enchilada sauce.
- Zucchini – this ingredient is, of course, a must for zucchini boats! You’ll need to grab 4 medium zucchini for this recipe. Once you’ve got them, go ahead and halve each one and scrape out the seedy core so that they’re ready for stuffing.
- Shredded Cheese – shredded cheese is a must for enchiladas! You’ll need 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
- Sour Cream – here’s where things get fun! Grab a ½ cup of sour cream for garnish!
- Ground Cumin – 1 teaspoon of ground cumin gets mixed with the sour cream for a really yummy drizzle.
- Lime Juice – the juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons of lime juice) will thin the sour cream/cumin mixture to perfect drizzling consistency.
- Avocado – slice 1 avocado for garnish.
- Cilantro – to finish everything off, sprinkle a ¼ cup of chopped cilantro onto the boats!
While this recipe is pretty perfect as written, there are certainly modifications that can be made if needed. Here are the big ones that we *know* work really well:
- Make it dairy-free – if you’re dairy-free, omit the cheese from the zucchini boats (or use your favorite vegan cheese) and substitute a ½ cup of coconut cream from a can of full-fat coconut milk for the sour cream.
- Use canned black beans – as mentioned above, use canned black beans instead of dried to save time! If you’re going this route, omit the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and sea salt that go into the pot with the dried beans — just drain and rinse the beans, and then mix them with the enchilada sauce!
Supplies You Need to Make This Recipe
Here are the supplies you’ll need to make this recipe:
Do you have to take the seeds out of zucchini?
Yes, in order to stuff the zucchini boats, you’ll want to scrape out the seedy core from each zucchini. This will create a well in the zucchini so that they’re ready to be loaded up with enchilada-style black beans.
How to make zucchini boats
Here’s the process — it’s super easy:
- Soak the black beans – if you’re using dried black beans, place them in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Set the pot aside to soak for at least 8 hours or up to overnight. (Skip this step if you’re using canned black beans.)
- Cook the black beans – once the beans are done soaking, drain and rinse them. Then, return them to the pot, add fresh water to cover, and drop in the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and salt. Bring the beans to a low boil over medium heat, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the beans are tender. Remove from the heat and discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. (Skip this step if you’re using canned black beans.)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Combine the beans and enchilada sauce – in a large bowl, stir together the beans and enchilada sauce.
- Stuff the zucchini – place the halved zucchini cut side up in a large baking dish. Spoon the beans into the zucchini boats, and sprinkle the tops with the cheese.
- Bake – bake the zucchini boats for 30 minutes, or until the tops are bubbling and starting to brown and the zucchini is cooked through.
- Make the sour cream drizzle – in a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, cumin, and lime juice.
- Garnish and serve – drizzle the sour cream mixture over the zucchini boats, and garnish with the sliced avocado and chopped cilantro. Then serve and enjoy!
Do you eat the skin on zucchini boats?
You do! The skin will get nice and soft in the oven, so you won’t even notice a change in texture between it and the flesh of the zucchini.
How do I know when stuffed zucchini boats are done?
You’ll know that the zucchini boats are finished when the cheese topping is browned and bubbling and the zucchini is soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork.
How do you serve the best stuffed zucchini boat recipe?
Serve your zucchini boats garnished with a sour cream drizzle, sliced avocado, and cilantro. This recipe makes enough for each of your dinner guests to have 2 boats.
What goes with stuffed zucchini boats?
These zucchini boats incorporate all three macronutrients (fat, carbs, and protein), so they are a complete meal all on their own!
How long will zucchini enchilada boats last?
Your zucchini boats will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply microwave or pop back into the oven until warmed through.
Can you freeze enchilada stuffed zucchini boats?
Technically, yes! Yes technically you CAN freeze these zucchini boats …but the texture will change quite a bit. Because zucchini is a water-logged veggie, the texture will be altered once its thawed (think: more likely to be mushy). My advice if you want to freeze this meal is to freeze the filling (beans + sauce) and then assemble everything else fresh.
- ¾ cup dried beans or 2 15-ounce cans
- ½ small yellow onion quartered
- 1 garlic clove smashed and peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup prepared red enchilada sauce
- 4 medium zucchini halved and seed/core scooped out
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream for garnish
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin for garnish
- Juice from 1 lime for garnish
- 1 avocado sliced, for garnish
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- If you’re using dried black beans, place them in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Set the pot aside to soak for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
- Once the beans are done soaking, drain and rinse them. Then, return them to the pot, add fresh water to cover, and drop in the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and salt. Bring the beans to a low boil over medium heat, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the beans are tender. Remove from the heat and discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaf.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a large bowl, stir together the beans and enchilada sauce.
- Place the halved zucchini cut side up in a large baking dish. Spoon the beans into the zucchini boats, and sprinkle the tops with the cheese.
- Bake the zucchini boats for 30 minutes, or until the tops are bubbling and starting to brown and the zucchini is cooked through.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, cumin, and lime juice.
- Drizzle the sour cream mixture over the zucchini boats, and garnish with the sliced avocado and chopped cilantro. Then serve and enjoy!
This was dinner tonight – SO GOOD! My first time making zucchini boats & these did not disappoint! I made the black beans in my instant pot, because it’s so easy. A winner recipe for sure!
Melissa Guevara says
That is so great! We are so glad you enjoyed. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us! -Team FF