Throwing it back to #AKZucchiniWeek 2018 where we had a delicious mix of sweet and savory recipes to use up all of your fresh summer zucchini. With Memorial Day behind us, it’s the perfect time to start stocking up on everyone’s favorite veggie.
My mom used to make these zucchini boats all the time with enchilada sauce, but since I’m a straight-up BBQ
drinker lover, I decided to switch it up. These cheesy BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats are easy to make, deliciously savory, and packed with protein for the perfect weeknight meal to satisfy every craving.
Make them for dinner this week, then check out all of my zucchini recipes for more fun ways to use them up!
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Ingredients in BBQ chicken zucchini boats
These easy, cheesy BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats actually require super minimal ingredients but are filled with delicious flavor and tons of protein. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Zucchini: to make these cute little boats of course!
- Olive oil: for cooking down the veggies, brushing on the zucchini and greasing your pan.
- Garlic: an essential flavor for the filling.
- Red onion: a little bite to add to the chicken filling.
- Chicken: I like to use plain cooked & shredded chicken breast for ease, but you can even use leftovers from a rotisserie chicken to really save time! You could also cook some ground chicken with your red onion and garlic if you want.
- BBQ sauce: feel free to use your favorite BBQ sauce. I love this kind because it’s lower in sugar and a little spicy (yum).
- Cheddar cheese: add plenty of shredded cheddar cheese (or a vegan cheese!) for that melty, cheesy perfection.
- Toppings: I like to top these with a green onion and cilantro for a little freshness.
Our fav ways to cook & shred chicken
Customize your zucchini boats
This recipe is super versatile! Feel free to use what you have on hand to truly make it your own. Here’s what I can suggest:
- Swap the sauce: if you’d like you can use canned or homemade enchilada sauce instead of BBQ sauce.
- Go vegetarian: keep these stuffed zucchini boats vegetarian by using cooked lentils, tofu or black beans instead of chicken.
- Choose a new meat: feel free to use cooked ground chicken or turkey instead of shredded chicken breast.
- Make them dairy free: use your favorite dairy free cheese shreds.
How to make BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats
- Make your boats. Scoop the centers from the zucchini out while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. And yes, you can eat the skin on zucchini boats, so no need to peel them first!
- Prep your pan. Place your zucchini boats into a 9×13-inch greased baking pan. They should snuggle pretty tightly in there, but if you can’t fit them all in, you can use two pans. Brush zucchini with a little olive oil or spray them with cooking spray.
- Make the filling. Cook down the onions and garlic, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in shredded chicken, bbq sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese.
- Assemble the zucchini boats. Spoon the bbq chicken mixture evenly into the zucchini boats and top each with more bbq sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.
- Bake, garnish & serve. Cover the pan with foil and bake them up until the cheese has melted and the zucchini is tender. Sprinkle the tops with cilantro and green onion and serve!
Looking to grill them instead?
It’s easy! Here’s how to do it:
- Pre-grill your zucchini. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat or 400 degrees F. After brushing your zucchini with olive oil, place the zucchini flesh-side down on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes until nice grill marks appear.
- Stuff each zucchini boat. Remove zucchini from the grill and transfer to a baking sheet, flesh side up. Evenly divide the bbq chicken mixture between the zucchini and top with the extra bbq sauce and cheese.
- Grill them up. Add the baking sheet to the grill, close the lid, and cook for about 5-10 minutes more until the cheese is melty and bubbling.
- Garnish & serve. Once done, sprinkle tops with cilantro and green onion and serve!
Tips for making zucchini boats
- Make sure to choose zucchini that are all smaller and similar in size so that they fit in your pan and cook in the same amount of time.
- Scoop out the insides of your zucchini with a spoon (as shown in the video below) and make sure to leave a 1/4 inch rim so that the filling stays inside the zucchini.
- Be sure not to scoop your zucchini halves too deep — otherwise the filling may fall out of the bottom once the zucchini boats have cooked.
Meal prep these chicken stuffed zucchini boats:
This zucchini boat recipe makes AMAZING leftovers, packs in 36g of protein per serving and is wonderful for meal prep.
- First, make and bake your BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats.
- Allow the zucchini boats to cool, then place two of them in a meal prep container.
- Once ready to eat, microwave your boats on high for 1-2 minutes until warm and cheese is melted.
Reuse the zucchini pulp
After scooping out your zucchini boats, you can save the zucchini pulp for smoothies! It’s nutritious and incredibly delicious. Here’s what I suggest: Add zucchini pulp to a freezer safe container. Add to smoothies when you want a little nutritional or fiber boost. No need to thaw!
Store these easy BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats in meal prep containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply place two zucchini boats on a plate and microwave them until they’re heated through.
More zucchini recipes you’ll love
Get all of my zucchini recipes here!
If you make this stuffed zucchini recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment and rate the recipe below. And of course, if you have Instagram, we’d love to see your creations — don’t forget to tag #ambitiouskitchen!
Cheesy BBQ Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Delicious, low carb BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats topped with melted cheddar cheese. These flavorful, easy BBQ chicken zucchini boats are a great way to use leftover chicken and make the perfect weeknight dinner. Options to add your favorite flavors or even make them vegetarian!
- Olive oil, for greasing pan
- 4 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise (look for zucchini that is similar in size)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ red onion, finely diced
- 1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) cooked shredded chicken breast (can also be from a rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup low sugar bbq sauce, divided (I like Stubb’s Spicy BBQ Sauce), plus more if you like it extra saucy
- 1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- To garnish:
- Green onions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with olive oil.
Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. (See note section for what to do with leftover zucchini pulp.) Place zucchini in the greased pan; they should snuggle pretty tightly in there, but if you can’t fit them all in, you can use two pans.
Brush zucchini with a little olive oil (about 1 tablespoon or so). You can also simply spray them with an all natural oil-only cooking spray.
Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil to a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic, and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl then stir in shredded chicken, 1/2 cup bbq sauce and ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Spoon bbq chicken mixture evenly into zucchini boats. Top each with 1 tablespoon bbq sauce (or a little extra if you’d like it more saucy) and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese.
Cover with foil, and bake for 35-45 minutes or until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender.
Once done, sprinkle the tops with cilantro and green onion before serving. Serves 4; 2 boats per person.
You can save the zucchini pulp for smoothies! It’s nutritious and incredibly delicious. Here’s what I suggest: Add zucchini pulp to a freezer safe container. Add to smoothies when you want a little nutritional or fiber boost. No need to thaw!
See the full post for tips, tricks, and easy ways to customize these zucchini boats.
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 2 zucchini boats
Saturated fat: 8g