Tuna zucchini boats are a simple and healthy dish to enjoy when zucchini are in season. But if you can find zucchini year round, this dish is perfect anytime. What’s special about this stuffed zucchini recipe is the use of feta cheese. The combination of tuna and feta delivers a flavourful baked zucchini dish the whole family will love. Plus, we’re pretty low on the carbs here, too!
Stuffed zucchini boats – or baked stuffed veggies at large – are a pretty common way to prepare vegetables in Italy. While most Italian stuffed zucchini recipes call for mixing the raw pulp of the zucchini with the other ingredients for the filling, I like to add a small step.
What I do is I lightly sauté the zucchini pulp with some shallot before adding that to the filling. This enhances the overall flavour of the filling, and of the whole dish at large.
While there are various recipes for zucchini filling, tuna is a popular one in Italy. Canned tuna is an unmissable pantry item that all Italian households have. It lasts forever and you can always whip up something nice with it.
Feta cheese is not a traditional ingredient in Italian zucchini boats. But I’m pretty obsessed with all types of cheese and feta is another unmissable item in my house. I always keep some feta packets in my fridge. Feta has a long shelf life and it’s a favourite addition on salads.
In fact, both canned tuna and feta cheese are excellent salad ingredients. Here we’re combining them in a baked vegetable dish for a delicious main course.
How to make tuna zucchini boats
To make these stuffed zucchini you will need:
- 2 zucchini
- 100 g tuna (drained)
- 2 small shallots
- 1 egg
- 50 g feta cheese
- 40 g breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Halve the zucchini lengthways and proceed to carve out the interior. You can use a spoon, I find it easier with an ice cream scoop.
- Sprinkle some salt on the carved zucchini halves and let them rest until the filling is prepared. Mince the shallots and mince the zucchini pulp. Warm the oil in a frying pan.
- Sauté the onion in the oil for 3-4 minutes, then add the minced zucchini pulp. Cook until soft, 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Thoroughly drain the tuna and the feta, crush the fish with a fork and crumble the feta. For this recipe I have used a locally sourced feta-type cheese preserved in oil. Regular feta (in brine) works obviously well, too. Just drain all the oil or brine and only use the cheese.
Another lovely tuna recipe: tuna avocado deviled eggs.
- In a mixing bowl combine the tuna, feta, onion and zucchini mixture, and the egg. Mix with a fork in order to break the egg and incorporate it into the mixture. Stir in 30 g of breadcrumbs, saving 10 g on the side. The feta and tuna are salty, so taste before adding any extra salt.
- Divide mixture between the 4 zucchini halves. Sprinkle the top of each stuffed zucchini with remaining breadcrumbs and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes. The filling may retract from the sides of the zucchini as it bakes; a slight shrinking of the filling is to be expected. Serve your tuna zucchini boats warm.
These feta and tuna zucchini boats are very easy to make, yet sometimes even the most simple recipe can deliver a truly flavourful experience. A common filling to stuffed zucchini is meat, but tuna is a great alternative, quite popular in Italy. I like to make tuna stuffed zucchini boats for dinner, to get a nutritious meal that incorporates veggies, fish and cheese and is quite low on the carbs.
Leftovers can be warmed up the following day no problem. So double the recipe and take some tuna zucchini boats in your lunch box the day after. Add a grain-based salad as side, just to make it more filling for your lunch.
You can also freeze your tuna zucchini boats for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and warm up either in the oven or the microwave.
More zucchini inspo: creamy cheddar zucchini risotto.
Stuffing up a vegetable with a delicious filling is also probably the smartest way to get kids to appreciate new foods. Suddenly we’re dealing with a whole new array of flavours and texture. Who thought veggies could be so fun? Let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments, and pin my tuna zucchini boats with feta for later!
Originally published in 2018, updated January 2021.
Tuna zucchini boats
Baked zucchini boats stuffed with tuna and feta cheese. Healthy, nutritious and full of flavour.
- 2 zucchini
- 100 g canned tuna (drained)
- 40 g breadcrumbs (divided)
- 2 small shallots
- 1 egg
- 50 g feta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Halve the zucchini lengthways and carve out the pulp with a spoon or scoop. Sprinkle carved zucchini halves with salt and set aside.
Warm the oil in a frying pan, mince the shallots and add to the pan. Meanwhile, mince the zucchini pulp and add to softened onion. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Drain the tuna and crush it with a fork. Crumble the feta and add it to the tuna. Combine onion and zucchini pulp mixture and give a stir. Crack in the egg and stir to combine. Lastly, stir in 30 g of breadcrumbs, saving 10 g aside. Taste test and add salt if needed.
Divide mixture between the 4 zucchini halves, then sprinkle the top with remaining breadcrumbs and black pepper. Bake at 200°C (392°F) for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
You can either use tuna in oil or in brine. I tend to prefer tuna in oil, as I find it more flavourful. Regardless, properly drain the tuna before adding it to the stuffing mixture.
Nutritional information is just an estimate based on a suggested serving size.