Zucchini and Ground Turkey Pizza Boats

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Easy Zucchini Pizza Boats stuffed with ground turkey, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and marinara sauce covered in cheese solve are the perfect healthy, low carb, and keto pizza alternative.

228 CAL 17g CARBS 8g FAT 24g PROTEIN 4

When you are craving pizza, but want some healthier, make these Zucchini Pizza Boats instead! They are filling, packed with veggies, and one of my favorite things to have in the fridge for a quick lunch or dinner. Serve them with a quick Kale Caesar Salad or Homemade Healthy Ranch for dipping.

I have a deep love of turning any vegetable I can into pizza, and why shouldn't I? There's no reason to stay away from pizza, especially when it's super tasty just about any way you prepare it. I mean, it would be super hard for anything to taste bad with marinara and cheese on it right?

It was this line of thinking that got me to combine zucchinis (which I already love and had in the fridge) with protein-packed ground turkey, marinara, spices, and some melted cheese. What you end up with is the most perfect low-carb and low-calorie lunch.

I also love this version of zucchini pizza with ground turkey since it is so much more filling than traditional zucchini pizza.  The added protein from the turkey will keep you full and satisfied. We even turn it into a low carb zucchini lasagna sometimes!

These zucchini pizza boats are also super versatile. Use ground beef, turkey sausage, or vegetarian crumble. Add all your favorite pizza toppings. Try them out with different sauces or cheese. The options are endless. as an added bonus 

Zucchini Pizza with lean ground turkey, mushrooms, marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese on a plate with a fork and napkin.

How do you make Healthy Zucchini Pizza Boats?

These are easy as pie, folks (pizza pie, that is!). First, preheat your oven so it's all ready when you are.

Next, heat up olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, ground turkey, mushrooms, and garlic. Brown the turkey for about 6-8 minutes, or until it's fully cooked. Season the turkey with oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Then add the marinara sauce or pizza sauce of your choosing. Turn the burner off and remove the skillet from the heat.

Now turn your attention to the zucchini. Wash and pat the zucchini dry, Then slice it down the middle lengthwise. Scoop out a good inch or so of the center with a melon baller or a spoon to carve out the "boat" part. Make sure you don't scoop out too much or the zucchini skin will break. Season the zucchini with a sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper.

Place each boat cut-side up in a baking dish or baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Cover the pan with foil or parchment paper for each cleanup. 

Fill the hollowed-out zucchini with the turkey and mushroom mixture. Then top each one of the boats with mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Add any toppings you like and pop these bad boys in the oven for about 15-18 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the zucchini is tender but not soggy. Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve. 

Best Zucchini Boat Toppings

There are so many ways to customize this recipe by adding all your favorite pizza toppings. Here are some favorites.

  • Meat lovers: Swap in turkey sausage for the ground turkey. Then add sliced pepperoni on top before baking. Add some diced ham as well for a true meat lover's pizza.
  • Hawaiian: Swap in lean diced ham for the turkey. Then top the zucchini with pineapple. When I make this version I like to use bell peppers and red onion instead of mushrooms,
  • Spicy: Add a good dose of red pepper flakes to the ground turkey to add some heat to the dish. 
  • Taco Pizza: Give your zucchini boats a Mexican taste by skipping the mushrooms and instead adding in a half can of drained and rinsed black beans, frozen or canned corn, diced red onions, and salsa instead of the marinara sauce. Top with cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro when they come out of the oven.
  • Barbecue: Swap in shredded chicken or ground chicken for the turkey. Add barbecue sauce instead of marinara. Then top with red onion, cilantro, and mozzarella cheese.
  • Extra cheesy: Boost the cheesiness and protein by adding some ricotta cheese to the pizzas before baking them. This is really good with some roasted red peppers as well. 

Recipe Tips and Ideas

  • If you want to make this dish vegetarian, you can use veggie crumbles.
  • To make it vegan, use veggie crumbles as well as dairy-free cheese and swap in nutritional yeast for the Parmesan cheese.
  • To use up the part of the zucchini you scooped out, hollow out the zucchini before cooking the sausage. Chop up the zucchini insides and add them to the turkey and mushroom mixture while it's cooking.
  • Add your favorite pizza toppings to the top of the cheese if you like. My favorites include black or green olives, canned mushrooms, diced bell peppers, jalapeno pepper slices, and diced red onions.
  • If you want to make more of a layered zucchini dish rather than boats, slice off the stems of the zucchini and slice the squash into thin layers lengthwise. Layer the zucchini "noodles" in the baking dish, alternating with the turkey and mushroom mixture, a little extra sauce, and top the whole dish with the cheese, then bake.

Do you eat the skin on zucchini boats?

I always eat the zucchini skin. It's generally pretty thin (unless you have some crazy giant squash, whose skin might be thicker and tougher). If you are concerned about wax that may have been used to coat the zucchinis to extend their shelf life, you can peel the skin, or wash the wax off using a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. The vinegar solution will remove the wax if you submerge the zucchini in the mixture for a couple of minutes. Take the squash out of the mixture and wipe the solution off or rinse under water first, then wipe.

Zucchini Pizzas in hollowed out zucchini with turkey, cheese, marinara sauce, and mushrooms.

Can you freeze stuffed zucchini?

Once these are made and cooled to room temperature, you can put them in a single layer in an air-tight container and freeze. Or, you can put them in a Ziplock bag in a single layer and freeze as well. You'll want to lay them side by side in the bag, then seal it (gently squeezing out any excess air), and lay the bag flat with the zucchini stuffing side facing up. They will keep up to three months.

No matter how you slice or stuff these Zucchini Pizza Boats, I'm sure you're going to be pleasantly surprised by how delicious they are and will want to make them again and again.

This recipe has been updated from the previous version (below) with new photos, a video, tips, and ideas.

Zucchini Turkey Pizza Boats with melted cheese in a glass baking dish.

The Recipe
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Zucchini and Ground Turkey Pizza Boats

228 CAL 17g CARBS 8g FAT 24g PROTEIN 4
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  • 4 zucchini
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 8 tbsp. part skim shredded mozzarella cheese

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the turkey, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook until turkey is fully browned, about 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Stir in the oregano, basil, and marinara sauce.


Meanwhile cut the zucchini in half and scoop out some of the center using a spoon or melon baller to create the “boat.” Place in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.


Fill the boats with the turkey and mushroom mixture.


Top each with 1 tbsp. of shredded cheese and 1/2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese.


Bake for 15-18 minutes until cheese is bubbling and zucchini is tender

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 zucchini boats
Amount Per Serving
Calories 228
Calories from Fat 74
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 44mg
Sodium 519mg
Total Carbohydrate 17g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 12g
Protein 24g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Zucchini and Ground Turkey Pizza Boats
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Erin s williams...
December 31, 2019 - 06:17
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These were delicious!! I followed the tips and prebaked zucchini for 10 minutes and added the scooped out zucchini meat to the meat mixture. It was super filing and perfectly tender. I made the meat for 4 but only had 2 zucchinis so im going to freeze the rest to make again!
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Elaine Lamm
May 13, 2019 - 14:43
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I made these for the first time tonight. I missed the tip about adding the scooped out part of the zucchinis to the meat mixture, but they still were tasty but would have been more filling had I done so. I also prebaked the zucchinis 10 minutes as recommended, however, next time I will prebake 20 minutes to soften the flesh more as it was kind of hard when I attempted to eat it, and I will scoop out the flesh almost all the way to the outer skin and add it to the marinara and turkey mixture before filling up the zucchini boats. I also sprinkled Italian seasoning on top of the meat mixture before adding the cheeses.
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May 8, 2018 - 17:45
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These were really good! I also baked my zucchini halves for about 10 min to soften and then scooped out the centers and added that to the meat mixture (added salt and pepper first). I also salted and peppered my scooped out zucchini boats before filling and added a bit more Italian seasonings to the meat mixture. I topped with fresh mozzarella pearls and they melted very nicely. Really tasty meal! Thank you!
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April 23, 2018 - 16:24
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Freda Potter
January 22, 2017 - 11:32
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Love these! Pre-baked zucchini since others said their didn't soften enough. Scooped out center after pre-baking and added it to the filling mixture before adding marinara and spices. Used only one clove of garlic.
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Rosana Halprine
September 9, 2016 - 16:25
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I think this is a great idea as a substitute for pasta. My zucchini did not bake to the point of being soft enough in the baking time provided. And I agree with others that some doctoring of spices are in order. I will try again with the additional spices and maybe bake my zucchini first until somewhat soft before I add in the turkey and cheese.
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Alexis Wilt
March 24, 2016 - 17:37
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Absolutely amazing dish!
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