Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Pine Nut Salsa

Stuffed zucchini in a pan with spatula

Stuffed Zucchini with Pine Nut Salsa ~ zucchini boats stuffed with a delicious blend of sausage, tomato, cheese, garlic, and breadcrumbs, topped with a lemony pine nut salsa that will knock your socks off! Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Simple.

Stuffed Zucchini in a cast iron pan

Spring is the time for veggie-centric meals, and this stuffed zucchini is another example of how I’m slowly shifting the balance of my dinners away from meat and more toward plants, without giving up meat entirely.

There’s some crumbled Italian sausage in the stuffing, which makes them even more tempting imo, and turns these easy zucchini boats into a complete meal.

This recipe is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest book, Simple. I’ve had it for months but for some reason I’ve never gotten around to flipping thought it, which isn’t like me at all when it comes to my favorite chef. The mere mention of pine nut salsa sold me on this as my debut recipe from the book.

Stuffed zucchini with pine nut salsa

The pine nut salsa, which gets spooned on the the baked zucchini boats, is a simple (but ingenious) blend of toasted pine nuts, fresh oregano, lemon, and olive oil. I’m always happy to find recipes that call for fresh oregano because I have it in my backyard and it grows like a weed here in Southern California. I wonder how the salsa would work as a sauce for pasta? Might be pretty good 🙂

making stuffed zucchini with sausage and pine nut salsa

Sometimes stuffed veggie recipes can be absurdly (unnecessarily) complicated, but don’t worry, this one isn’t. The list of ingredients is short and the dish is easy to assemble.

Stuffed zucchini ready to go into the oven

Just mix up the quick stuffing, and mound it into your hollowed out zucchinis. Pop them in a hot oven for about 15-20 minutes and they come out sizzling and delicious.

Tips for stuffing vegetables ~

  • Make sure to hollow out your veggies enough so that you have room for the stuffing, but not so much that it collapses during cooking. Try to leave about 1/2 inch all around.
  • Press the stuffing into all corners of the cavity, and press it down firmly. Mound it up slightly because the stuffing will shrink during cooking.
  • If you are stuffing a dense vegetable you may want to par-cook it first. Zucchini is soft, and so there’s no need for that here.
  • If you’d like to make this ahead, prep and stuff the zucchini, then bake off when you’re ready.

Stuffed zucchini just out of the oven

Love stuffed vegetables? Here are some other good ideas ~


tvfgi recommends: enameled cast iron covered casserole

I love this pan. It’s heavy duty and elegant at the same time. The low shallow shape is perfect for stuffed vegetables like today’s zucchini boats. I love it for meals like Greek Moussaka and Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs. This one is from a new line of Amazon Basics that rivals the pricier Le Creuset pans. I have both and actually find myself preferring this one, it’s a little sleeker than the French pans.

If you ask me, this pan is an absolute steal at $47 and change from Amazon Prime 🙂

Stuffed zucchini in a pan with spatula
4.36 from 14 votes

Stuffed Zucchini with Pine Nut Salsa

Stuffed Zucchini with Pine Nut Salsa ~ zucchini boats stuffed with a delicious blend of sausage, tomato, cheese, garlic, and breadcrumbs, topped with a lemony pine nut salsa that will knock your socks off!
Course dinner
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Yield 2 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 large zucchini
  • 2 Italian sausage sweet or hot
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese loosely measured, not packed
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely diced tomato
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • olive oil
  • a few Tbsp of crumbled feta cheese

pine nut salsa

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts that have been toasted heat them over medium heat in a skillet for several minutes, stirring constantly until they turn golden
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 475F
  • Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the inside, leaving 1/2 inch of the zucchini around the edge. Put the scooped zucchini flesh in a clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess moisture. You should have about 1/2 cup left.
  • Remove the sausage from the casings and brown in a pan, crumbling it as you cook.
  • Mix the zucchini flesh, the sausage crumbles, garlic, egg, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, the tomatoes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Arrange the zucchini in a large casserole. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and lightly season with salt. Stuff each of the cavities with the stuffing mixture, pressing down to get as much in as possible. Scatter the feta cheese over the top.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until sizzling and golden.
  • While the zucchini bakes, make the salsa by mixing together all the ingredients.
  • Serve the zucchini with the salsa spooned over the top.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Thanks for pinning!


Stuffed Zucchini Boats pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve made it several times, but without the sausage. With the breadcrumbs, cheese etc., it’s got plenty of depth and flavor. It’s delicious, and beautiful! I also added a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to the filling 🙂

    • Reply
      September 22, 2020 at 5:58 pm

      I’m glad to hear it works as a vegetarian dish Marianne.

  • Reply
    Pat Burnstad
    August 16, 2020 at 9:50 am

    I love your recipes as they are so current. At the present time I am harvesting zucchinis and do not always know what to do with them all aside from give them to friends. Reading your instructions is an education!!

    • Reply
      August 16, 2020 at 9:57 am

      Wish I could take some off your hands Pat, the supermarket specimens aren’t always the best :/

  • Reply
    Susan Galen
    February 19, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and thought it was delicious! I would like to make again and freeze but not sure if that would work. Do you happen to know if the zucchini would get too soggy with thawing? I would think so but defer to an expert.
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      February 19, 2020 at 12:48 pm

      I’m so glad you loved this Susan ~ and yes, you can freeze them, they’ll be fine. Just be sure to cool completely before you put into heavy duty zip lock freezer bags or a freezer container. If you need to stack them, put sheets of parchment or waxed paper in between.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    5 stars
    Great appetiser, snackle or side-dish and the flavours were divine! I only had lamb mince (ground lamb) rather than the Italian sausage, not disappointed as the meat combined beautifully with the subtle zucchini, feta and lemon flavours! Will have to try it with chorizo too soon! Cheers

  • Reply
    May 14, 2019 at 6:17 am

    Absolutely marvelous ! Also great to know I could ( if any left 🙂 ) pack it for office the other day !

  • Reply
    Nancy Shaw
    May 13, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Sue, I can’t wait to try this Stuffed Zucchini and Lemon Pine Nuts recipe. I just ordered the casserole dish you recommended from Amazon and it says it can be used in the oven up to 400 degrees. Your recipe says to use 475. Did you still use the dish or something else?

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 3:06 pm

      I do use the dish under slightly higher heat than they recommend, I was surprised that they say only to 400F. You can definitely lower the oven temp if you’re concerned.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2019 at 11:51 am

    I’m so into this recipe, Sue! I love Ottolenghi recipes as well! So much flavor, and so creative! Thanks for reviewing and adapting this one! Can’t wait to give it a try! Pinned!

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 3:06 pm

      I could live on his recipes alone!

      • Reply
        August 16, 2020 at 7:10 am

        5 stars
        Hi Sue! What could be used in place of pine nuts please?

        • Reply
          August 16, 2020 at 7:25 am

          Really any nut you like, or you can leave them out. I’d suggest almonds or walnuts.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2019 at 9:07 am

    5 stars
    Sue, this is an excellent recipe! And when I thought I did almost all I could with the mid-summer excess of zucchini, here comes this delicious stuffing, plus the salsa you make gives all the freshness it needs! I will do it soon and come back to you. Thank you!

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 9:08 am

      I do hope you try this Alexandra, it keeps well, too, I enjoyed it the next day 🙂

  • Reply
    May 13, 2019 at 7:22 am

    Looks very summery and yummy! Love the pine nut salsa!

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 7:34 am

      omg it’s the best salsa :))

  • Reply
    sheenam | thetwincookingproject
    May 13, 2019 at 7:17 am

    i love stuffed zucchini!! This looks like an excellent recipe.

  • Reply
    Tricia | Saving Room for Dessert
    May 13, 2019 at 3:51 am

    I love that you used Italian sausage in this recipe – I bet it’s absolutely delicious! I could eat a big plate for breakfast this morning and can’t wait to give it a try. Have you ever tried adding a spoon full of marinara on top? So many options for this deliciousness 🙂

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 7:12 am

      Ottolenghi doesn’t use sausage but I felt it needed a little something extra to be a meal, and I was right, this turned out so good. I think the possibilities are endless for topping and yes to the marinara!!

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