Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Pesto Chicken are a healthy and veggie-dominant dinner! All the flavor of pesto chicken in a low-carb, gluten-free and nutritious way. 30 minutes of cook time is all you need to get this delicious dinner on the table!
It’s zucchini time! This time of year, I am always looking for fun and creative ways to use this versatile vegetable. Zucchini Apple Bread, Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi, and Baked Zucchini Noodle Spaghetti are just a few of my favorites.
But today, I am stuffing zucchini with one of my family’s favorite flavors: pesto chicken!
As a nutritionist, I love taking traditional comfort food and creating lightened up versions. This naturally gluten-free, low-carb, and Keto recipe is sure to be a hit with the family. It still maximizes flavor with homemade pesto sauce, roasted tomatoes, and cheesy goodness. It’s also a fantastic way to load up on veggies and nutrients.
Pesto Chicken Zucchini Boat Ingredients
Here is what you’ll need:
- Zucchini: choose medium sized zucchini so you have plenty of room to stuff, but also so they can cook all the way when baked.
- Chicken: pre-cook your chicken, or feel free to use rotisserie chicken!
- Cherry tomatoes: this adds all kinds of tangy sweetness. When using summer heirloom tomatoes, they will pack in even more flavor!
- Shredded Mozzarella: To get that stretchy and cheesy goodness!
- Homemade Pesto: Making pesto is actually really simple, and to me, tastes way better than anything I can buy at the store! For this we will need: fresh basil, garlic, olive oil or avocado oil, pine nuts (optional), sea salt, and pepper!
How to make Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats:
- Make your pesto: combine the basil, garlic, parmesan, oil, and sea salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until mostly smooth.
- Prepare the zucchini boats: slice your zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop the zucchini leaving a 1/4 inch rim. Brush with avocado oil and place inside a casserole dish.
- Combine: chicken, half of the pesto, half mozzarella, and tomatoes.
- Spoon: the mixture inside each of the zucchini boats. Add remaining mozzarella and parmesan on top.
- Bake: cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. If you want the boats to get extra bubbly, remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes (can bump up temperature here).
Tips, Adaptations, and Storing!
- To make this recipe even easier: use store bought pre-cooked chicken and store bought pesto.
- Vegetarian option: omit the chicken for a meatless meal!
- Protein: you can absolutely swap proteins here. Sausage (ground turkey, chicken, or pork) would make a great addition. Or even using pepperoni for more of a “pizza” style recipe.
- Make ahead: this recipe can easily be prepped the day before, stored in the fridge, and baked when ready to enjoy.
- Meal prep: these can be enjoyed and stored for up to 5 days in the fridge. Perfect for meal prep lunches or dinner!
- Reheating: Simply cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes (from refrigerated).
Other healthy dinners you will love!
- Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole
- Low-Carb Chicken Enchiladas
- Chili Relleno Casserole
- Spinach Artichoke Chicken Bake
All photos in this post were taken by Loren with Fed and Nourished.
30 Minute Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Pesto Chicken
These Stuffed Zucchini Boats are loaded with flavorful pesto chicken, roasted cherry tomatoes, and cheesy goodness to top it off! 30 minutes of bake time is all you need to get this on your table. Healthy and delicious!
For the Pesto:
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (can omit or use any nut like walnuts or cashews)
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2/3 cup avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
For the Zucchini Boats:
- avocado oil or olive oil
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken*
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 casserole dish by lightly greasing.
Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the zucchini leaving a 1/4 inch rim so it doesn't fall apart. Place the zucchini inside the casserole dish. Brush with some avocado oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Make the pesto. Combine the basil, parmesan, nuts, garlic, salt and pepper, and oil into a large food processor. Pulse until smooth, pausing a few times to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken with half of the pesto (you can use more, or save the rest for leftovers or another recipe), half of the mozzarella, and tomatoes. Spoon the mixture into each zucchini boat. Top the mixture with the remaining mozzarella and some parmesan. You can even toss in some additional pesto.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot!
*You can use store bought rotisserie chicken.