Enchilada Zucchini Boats are a super flavorful and fun twist on traditional enchiladas. It is a great way to have enchiladas but keep it low carb and little healthier. In this recipe you will use a zucchini instead of a tortilla!
If you love this recipe you will also love the Supreme Pizza Zucchini Boats!
But if you are like… “hold up, I want traditional enchiladas!!”. Then pop over to one of these recipes to get your enchilada fix: Chicken Enchiladas, Enchilada Skillet, or Beef Enchilada Casserole.
Why This Recipe is Amazing
- You still have all the enchilada flavors- like red chile sauce, spices, cheese, and ground beef.
- Cutting the zucchini in half and then hollowing it out makes the perfect “boat” to hold all the enchilada filling.
- The zucchini cooks up perfectly in the oven!
- It is an EXCELLENT make-ahead dinner!
- Enchilada Zucchini Boats are also a great recipe to use up the abundance of summer garden zucchinis!
Here are the items that you need to make Zucchini Enchiladas, plus some tips on a few ingredints.
Beef– An 85/15 ground beef works great here because it has enough fat to be flavorful but not too much fat to be greasy.
But, use whatever beef you have or your family likes!
Enchilada Sauce– You can use store-bought or homemade red enchilada sauce in these zucchini enchiladas.
Cheese- Use whatever shredded cheese your family likes, or whatever you have on hand. I used a mild cheddar in these photos, but Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or Pepper Jack will all work perfectly!
Step by Step Picture Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9×13 casserole dish by pouring half of one can of enchilada sauce over the bottom. Set aside.
In a large skillet sauté the onions, peppers and garlic in oil until they are fragrant and softened, about 4-5 minutes.
Next, add the ground beef and crumble it while it cooks thru. Drain excess grease before moving on.
Off the heat mix in the seasonings/spices, chopped cilantro, and half a can of enchilada sauce (5 oz.).
While the beef cooks, prepare the zucchini boats.
Start by trimming the stem end, then slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, core out the center of each zucchini half.
Pro Tip: Be careful not to dig all the thru, this is the “boat” part that holds the enchilada filling.
Lay the cored zucchini boats in the sauce, divide the beef mixture evenly between the zucchini boats.
Top the filled zucchini boats with the remaining can of enchilada sauce and sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Pro Tip: If your zucchini are extra large or extra thick you may want to add 10 minutes to the covered cooking time.
Serve the Enchilada Zucchini Boats topped with Greek yogurt or sour cream, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado or guacamole.
They are great served with Mexican Rice or Cilantro Cauliflower Rice, chips with salsa or Pico, and refried beans or cilantro pineapple side dish.
These are an EXCELLENT make ahead dinner for busy weeks. Simply prep completely and pop in the fridge for 1-2 days.
When you are ready to bake, pop in a 350 degree oven, cook for 30 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes.
If you love having Mexican food for dinner check out these other Mexican inspired recipes from Mom’s Dinner.
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Enchilada Zucchini Boats Recipe
This is a great recipe to use up all those summer garden zucchinis.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- ½ cup bell peppers diced, (any color)
- 3-4 plump garlic cloves chopped
- 1 lb. ground beef I like 85/15, (could also use 93/7 ground turkey)
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ teaspoon each – garlic powder & onion powder
- red pepper flakes to taste
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 3 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cored
- 20 oz. red enchilada sauce store bought or homemade red enchilada sauce
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (can use monterey jack, pepper jack, or a mexican blended cheese)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 pan by pouring about ½ cup of enchilada sauce across the bottom, set aside.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic in the oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef (or turkey) and crumble while cooking thru. Drain excess grease before moving on.1 tablespoon oil, 1 cup yellow onion, ½ cup bell peppers, 3-4 plump garlic cloves, 1 lb. ground beef
- Off the heat stir in about ½ cup red enchilada sauce, chopped cilantro, and the chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.2 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon each – garlic powder & onion powder, red pepper flakes to taste, ½ cup chopped cilantro
- Trim the stem and end of the zucchini and discard. Then cut the fresh zucchini in half lengthwise. Core out the middle of each half using a spoon. See picture or watch video above showing each step.3 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cored
- Set the zucchini halves in the prepared 9×13 pan. Fill each zucchini half with the ground beef mixture, dividing it evenly. Pour the remaining can of enchilada sauce over the filled zucchini boats. Sprinkle with all the cheese.1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.Pro Tip: if you have extra large zucchini then add 5-10 minutes to the covered cooking time.
- Serve your zucchini enchiladas topped with sour cream or Greek yogurt, guacamole or avocados, extra cilantro, and/or chopped green onions.
- These make an excellent make-ahead dinner! Prepare completely, without baking, then pop in the fridge for 1-2 days. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350°, remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
If nutrition facts are provided they are calculated as an estimate to the best of our knowledge.
I was skeptical at first but these were awesome!!
Susie, what a great idea! Great for using all the excess zucchini that always seems to happen this time of year! Plus, I love that it’s a healthy option to enchiladas!
Totally love that it is a healthier alternative to my favorite, enchiladas! Unfortunately I do not have a garden, but I will happily buy them in the store.