These wholesome vegan zucchini boats are filled with flavour, yet low in calories. Skip the tortilla wraps and load your zucchini with all your favourite burrito toppings. This fun twist on Mexican food is a must-try.
This recipe was originally published in January 2020. It has been updated for content and photos.
Whether it’s Taco Tuesday, or any day you’re craving Mexican food, this recipe for stuffed zucchini will not disappoint.
As an added bonus, these vegan zucchini boats nut free, oil free, gluten-free, and soy-free, making them allergen friendly and virtually fat free.
For more Taco Tuesday meal ideas, be sure to check out these 38 stunning vegan Mexican dishes!
Why you’ll love these
These vegan zucchini boats are:
- Flavourful, thanks to a variety of ingredients and incredible taco seasoning blend.
- Hearty + filling, despite being low in calories!
- Versatile! Switch up the toppings every time.
- Slightly spicy, but still kid-friendly.
- Wheat and gluten-free, perfect for anyone with gluten intolerance.
- Vegan and vegetarian friendly, but meat-eaters will love them too!
- Absolutely delicious!
Here’s what you’ll need for the stuffing:
- Zucchini: It wouldn’t be vegan zucchini boats without the zucchini. Choose zucchini that are long and relatively even thickness from top to bottom for ease of stuffing. The skin should be dark green, smooth, and blemish-free for optimum freshness.
- Black beans: Use canned that have been drained and rinsed, or use cooked beans.
- Red onion: I like red for these, but any colour onion is fine, so use whatever you have on hand.
- Red pepper: Again, I like red bell pepper here, but you may also use yellow, orange or green.
- Brown rice: Brown rice keeps this dish wholesome and free from refined ingredients, but if you only have white rice on hand, go for it.
- Sweet corn: I use frozen kernels, but canned work fine as well. If corn is in season, fresh kernels from the cob will taste best.
- Salsa: Choose your favourite kind. I like medium chunky tomato-based salsa. But you may use whatever variety you have on hand.
- Homemade taco seasoning: I think the blend of spices we chose for this dish is perfect, but as always, adjust to your taste, if needed.
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Start by preparing your stuffing. If you don’t have cooked brown rice, get that going first.
Then, add the diced onion and pepper with a couple of tablespoons of water or broth to a large skillet. Sauté until softened and reduced. (photos 1-2)
NOTE: If you’re not avoiding oil (and fat), you may sauté in cooking oil if preferred.
Add the black beans, cooked rice, corn, salsa, and all the seasoning to the skillet and mix to combine. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed. Then set aside. (photos 3-4)
Prepare your vegan zucchini boats by slicing each zucchini in half lengthwise. (Do so as evenly as possible.)
Then carefully scrape and scoop out the zucchini flesh to create a hollowed out boat for stuffing. Place each zucchini boat, hollow side up in a baking dish lined with parchment paper. (photos 5-6)
NOTE: Use caution, and gently scrape, to avoid breaking your zucchini. Hold the zucchini half firmly in one hand, and scrape from the top down with a metal teaspoon.
Divide the mixture between your eight zucchini halves. They should be slightly heaping and you should not have any leftover stuffing. (photo 7)
NOTE: If using smaller zucchini, you may have some extra stuffing. Just grab a spoon and chow down while these bad boys are in the oven. 😉
Cover the tray, first with parchment paper, and then foil on top and bake for 25-30, until tender, and a fork easily pierces through the zucchini.
Then remove from the oven, top as you’d like. (You can prepare toppings as the zucchini boats are baking.)
What toppings should I use?
Some of my favourite toppings for these vegan zucchini boats include:
- Diced tomato
- Sliced jalapeno
- Fresh cilantro, parsley, or chives.
- Walnut cheese sauce or this nut free vegan cheese sauce.
- Sour Cream
- Sliced black olives
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
Substitutions + Variations
Mix things up a bit with some of these options!
- Use barley instead of brown rice (if you’re not avoiding gluten) or try these with quinoa.
- For lower calories and carbs, use cauliflower rice instead of brown rice.
- You may use any variety of beans or legumes in place of the black beans. Try pinto, navy beans, lentils, chickpeas or black eyed peas (which are said to bring good luck.) Stick to smaller beans to make stuffing the zucchini easier
- For corn free, you may omit, or replace with additional beans, chickpeas or lentils.
Not a zucchini fan? Stuff eggplant instead, or give these Mexican stuffed peppers a try.
How long do they keep?
These vegan burrito boats keep refrigerated for 3-4 days in a sealed container. Reheat leftovers in the oven or toaster oven and enjoy.
I don’t recommend freezing these, so plan to enjoy them within a few days of making them.
- Use caution, and gently scrape, to avoid breaking your zucchini. Hold the zucchini half firmly in one hand, and scrape from the top down with a metal teaspoon.
More vegan Mexican recipes you’ll love!
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- 4 large zucchini
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 red pepper diced
- ¼ cup medium chunky salsa or heat level of preference
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more, optional
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup black beans cooked or canned
- ½ cup corn
- If you don't have cooked brown rice, start by cooking your rice according to package directions. Rice will roughly triple in size, so use ⅓ cup raw brown rice to get approx 1 cup needed for this recipe.
- In a large skillet, add 2-3 tablespoons of water or broth along with the chopped onion and pepper and sauté until softened and reduced, approx 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cooked rice, beans, corn, salsa, and all the seasoning and mix well. Taste and add more seasoning if desired, and then set aside.
- Line a 9"x13" (or similar size) baking dish with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).
- Slice your zucchini in half lengthwise as evenly as possible. Then carefully scrape out the flesh using a metal teaspoon. Place your hollowed zucchini boats hollow side up in your baking dish.
- Divide the stuffing between your 8 zucchini boats. Then cover the tray with parchment paper and then foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, until zucchini is easily pierced with a fork.
- Serve with guacamole and any other desired toppings.