Mr. Foodie and I are currently operating without a dining table and with only four sets of dishes – not problematic in the big scheme of life, but for people who love to cook, eat, and generally enjoy one another’s company over a table before and after work, it is something of a hardship. These days I’m washing dishes frequently and finding dinners that you can easily eat with one hand while perching on the couch. Enter Zucchini Boat Lasagna! We already shared with you our recipe for Zucchini Noodle Lasagna, but this time I decided to do boats. The upside of this version is twofold: 1) It takes way less prep time and 2) You can eat it with just a fork in one hand (whereas the noodle version benefits from the use of a knife).
Mr. Foodie is not generally a fan of zucchini, but he likes the way I prepare it. In his family, they make these delicious cored, stuffed, and cooked zucchinis with a rich tomato sauce. Someday I will ask his mom to show me again how to make it so I can share it with you! In the meantime, you must be satisfied with this easy, light lasagna dish. In our preparation, the zucchini boat itself is cooked, but still al dente – it would not do to overcook it so it becomes a mushy boat. It is also, as with lasagna in general, a very adaptable dish. We used ground turkey this time, but any ground meat (or even shredded chicken) would work well here. We used ricotta and mozzarella, but you can change that up to include your favorite cheeses, like we did using goat cheese last time we made the noodle version of this dish. You can make your own tomato sauce, but we used a local jarred favorite.
Our version is inspired by Jacklyn from Cooking Classy. To make the boats, cut the stem end off the zucchini and stand on the cut end. Slice the zucchini in half length wise, being careful to keep both halves roughly the same size. Then using a small spoon, scrape the seeds and flesh from the inside of each half, being careful to leave 1/4 inch of flesh inside the zucchini halves. Don’t scrape too vigorously or you’ll end up ripping the skin or taking too much flesh away. I did this while Mr. Foodie cooked the ground turkey. He added some Italian seasonings and poured the sauce in on top to warm it. I also made the cheese mixture (details below).And that is all the prep you need! We did it together in 15 minutes flat – just enough time to warm up the oven. I love having someone who loves to cook as much as I do. Dinner prep is so much more fun, we can chat about our days while we do it, and in the end we can share a meal that we both worked on.
The boats were delicious and absolutely easy to eat with one hand. The thin cheese mixture layer added just enough salt and tang to brighten up the cooked zucchini, and the ground turkey with sauce was garlicky and juicy. Two boats each were more than enough and very satisfying for us, so we had the added bonus of leftovers for lunch the next day! Don’t be intimidated by the prep work for these -they really are the easiest version of lasagna (and the healthiest) that I’ve ever made.
Zucchini Boat Lasagna Recipe
Four medium sized zucchinis, stemmed, halved, cored
1 lb Ground Turkey (or other ground meat)
Salt and Pepper
Pinch Italian Seasoning (and/or garlic powder)
1 Jar Tomato Sauce of choice (or homemade)
1/2 C Light Ricotta Cheese
1/2 C Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Cut the stems off zucchini, slice each in half to make even halves. Core each half with small spoon, leaving 1/4 inch of flesh in skin. Place all halves in a lightly greased baking dish with high sides, cavity facing up. Cook ground turkey over medium heat, seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning (a little goes a long way). When meat is cooked, drain off any excess liquid, add tomato sauce to the pan and warm through. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cups of mozzarella and ricotta with egg to form a cheese spread. Begin by dropping tablespoonful of cheese mixture into each zucchini half, then spreading it out in the cavity. Top this layer with some of the meat/sauce mixture. The mixture will over-fill edges of the boats, but that is okay, as a little shrinking happens in the oven. Do this for all zucchini halves. Pop in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Pull out, sprinkle with a little more mozzarella and either put back in for a few more minutes to melt, or let it melt on its own while it rests (you will want to let it rest a bit because it will be HOT at first). Enjoy!
Do you have a twist on traditional lasagna that you like to make? I would love to hear about it – lasagna is one of my favorite flavor combos!