Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats

These stuffed zucchini boats are hearty and rich, making healthy look and taste delicous!  Stuffed with a rich and meaty enchilada filling, smothered in sauce and cheese and baked until bubbly, these zucchini halves are the perfect way to enjoy your favorite Mexican dish, but with a lower carb count!

Recipes like my Keto Cobb Salad and Crockpot Minestrone Soup are great for when you’re eating healthier. We love lightening up our meals, and this is one of my Healthy Recipes you’ll definitely want in your recipe box!

Spatula with enchilada zucchini boats and gooey cheese


It seems like everyone has this notion that when you’re eating a bit healthier, the food is boring, bland, and just NOT what you want to eat.  But these enchilada stuffed zucchinis are packed with great flavor, and with a fraction of the carbs!

This recipe has quite a few different options, such as switching up the proteins, adding vegetables to the filling, using different sauces, and different cheeses.

Basically, think of this zucchini boat recipe as a method, that you can use to truly make this recipe your own!

How to make enchilada stuffed zucchini boats


I love making this zucchini version of enchiladas, because you don’t have to roll any tortillas!

  1. Halve zucchini lengthwise, and scoop out the center, leaving about 1/2 an inch around the sides.
  2. Brush zucchini with oil and season.  Bake until softened.
  3. Brown beef, onion and garlic.  Drain.
  4. Return beef mixture to pan, add enchilada sauce and green chiles and simmer until thickened.
  5. Scoop enchilada filling mixture into zucchinis, top with leftover enchilada sauce, and cheese.
  6. Bake until tender and cheese is melted.


  • Similar size – try to find zucchinis that are similar in size, so they’ll all become tender at the same time when baked.
  • Be mindful of heat levels – there are several heat levels for diced green chiles and enchilada sauce, so be sure you’re getting the one you really want.  The hot versions of them can be pretty spicy!
  • Top it up – feel free to go crazy with the toppings on these enchiladas; green onions, sour cream, avocado, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, etc.

Enchilada zucchini boats are a great family dinner!  Packed with protein and flavor, plus low in carbs, these enchiladas are the perfect healthier dinner recipe! #enchilada #zucchini #stuffed #zucchiniboats #healthyrecipe #easyrecipe #weeknight 


  • Protein – instead of ground beef, try using ground turkey, diced chicken, steak bites, even pulled pork.
  • Fillers – craving something extra in the filling?  Try adding some black beans or corn to the filling mixture.  I’ve found when I did this, I cut back on the meat so I didn’t end up with TONS of filling.
  • Cheeses – I kept this simple and just used Mexican-blend cheese, but Colby-jack, Pepper-jack, Monterey-jack, or any combination are great substitutes.
  • The sauce – store-bought enchilada sauces are the easiest route, and very readily available, but if you prefer to make your own sauce (SO good), scroll down to the bottom of this post and make my homemade version!

Bite of enchilada zucchini boats


This recipe can be pre-baked and assembled a day ahead of time.

Complete the recipe through step 6, then cool completely.  Cover tightly and refrigerate.

When ready to eat, preheat oven to 400 F degrees, top zucchini boats with remaining enchilada sauce, and cheese, and bake as directed in step 7.


I don’t recommend freezing zucchini boats, as I’ve found they lose their texture and the zucchini gets mushy when thawed.

However, you CAN freeze the meat filling.  Just cool it completely then freeze in an airtight container for several months.


Leftover zucchini boats can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for a week, which makes this recipe great for meal prep!

Enchilada zucchini boats are a great family dinner!  Packed with protein and flavor, plus low in carbs, these enchiladas are the perfect healthier dinner recipe! #enchilada #zucchini #stuffed #zucchiniboats #healthyrecipe #easyrecipe #weeknight 




Enchilada zucchini boats are a great family dinner!  Packed with protein and flavor, plus low in carbs, these enchiladas are the perfect healthier dinner recipe! #enchilada #zucchini #stuffed #zucchiniboats #healthyrecipe #easyrecipe #weeknight 

Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats

A low carb version of hearty enchiladas!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 519


  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, - minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, - minced
  • 2 1/2 tsp taco seasoning
  • 19 oz red enchilada sauce - (divided)
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles - drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle of the vegetable with a spoon or melon baller, leaving about 1/2 inch along the outside creating a “boat.”
  • Place zucchini in prepared baking dish and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes to soften.
  • In a large skillet, add ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook until the beef is browned and the onion is soft. Drain.
  • Return meat mixture to skillet and add taco seasoning as well as diced green chiles, 1/4 cup water, and half of the enchilada sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until thickened and excess liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat.
  • Spoon the beef mixture into the zucchini boats, pressing down to fill. Add extra mixture on top until the boats are overflowing slightly.
  • Top the zucchini with the remaining enchilada sauce and add a layer of cheese.
    Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and zucchini is tender.


* if the amount of filling is too much for your zucchini, leftover filling can be refrigerated for 1 week, or frozen for several months.  You could also increase the amount of zucchini boats.
Tried this recipe?Mention @the_chunky_chef or tag #thechunkychef!

If changing the recipe serving quantity, the recipe plugin will change the ingredient values for you, but it does NOT change the written instructions, those are manually added and not subject to a slider/button. You will have to extrapolate that multiplication to any amounts listed in the instructions.

For example: if an ingredient calls for 4 cups, and you doubled the recipe, it will automatically change to 8 cups. In the instructions, if I say “use 4 cups of cheese”, you will have to realize that since you doubled it, you use 8 cups, not 4


Enchilada zucchini boats are a great family dinner!  Packed with protein and flavor, plus low in carbs, these enchiladas are the perfect healthier dinner recipe! #enchilada #zucchini #stuffed #zucchiniboats #healthyrecipe #easyrecipe #weeknight 

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10 comments on “Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats”

  1. This was so flavorful! I loved the boats and cheesy top. We will be adding this to our keep pile. Mine came out very salty. I am guessing the store bought sauce is very high in sodium. I will use your homemade recipe next time. 
    Thank you so much!

  2. This was delicious and easy to make. I added Parmesan cheese and bell peppers to my mixture 

  3. I am loving all this cheesy goodness in this dish! These stuffed zucchini boats are on my must-make list!

  4. This was the perfect dinner, thank you!

  5. These stuffed zucchini boats are on my must-make list!

  6. We ended up using some leftover turkey to make these and it was amazing! So tasty!

  7. I am loving all this cheesy goodness in this dish! Adding this to my dinner line up for the week, indeed!

  8. These sound amazing and a great way to start healthy in the new year. I bet that this healthy dish is loaded with amazing flavor.

  9. I think these are probably the best, most mouth-watering stuffed zucchini I’ve ever seen!

  10. I love a healthier twist especially when it’s this flavorful! These are totally filling.