Easy, Cheesy Zucchini Pizza Boats

updated Jul 28, 2022
Zucchini Pizza Boats Recipe

Zucchini boats are the perfect vehicle for gooey cheese, tangy sauce, and your favorite pizza toppings.

Serves4 to 6

Prep25 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Zucchini pizza boats on platter
Credit: Photo: Kelly Marshall; Food Stylist: Kat Boytsova

Pizza is the one food everyone in my house can agree on. The saucy, cheesy pie is on our meal plan each and every week, and the only thing that changes is whether we call in for delivery or make it at home. Plus, because there are so many ways to serve up a classic slice, there’s no risk of redundancy.

Most Fridays, I make pizza dough from scratch as the base for a classic Margherita pizza. But when summer arrives, it’s hard to pass up all the fresh produce — especially abundant zucchini. Instead of topping the pizza with zucchini (although that makes a perfectly delightful summer pizza), I use it as the base for the sauce, cheese, and toppings. Here’s how to make build-your-own zucchini pizza boats.

How Do You Prep Zucchini for Zucchini Boats?

Zucchini are packed with moisture, and while this adds to their texture and versatility, it can also lead to soggy squash, which isn’t what you want when building a pizza boat. Follow these four steps for perfectly tender — never waterlogged — zucchini boats.

  1. Halve the zucchini lengthwise.
  2. Scoop out the seeds and inner flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell all around.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and place upside-down on a baking sheet to draw out moisture.
  4. Pat the zucchini and baking sheet dry.
Credit: Photo: Kelly Marshall; Food Stylist: Kat Boytsova

What Are the Best Toppings for Zucchini Pizza Boats?

Once you have prepped the pizza crust — er, boat — it is time to top these summery squash. Fill the center of the hollowed-out boat with pizza sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella or Italian-blend cheese. From here, the toppings are boat-ally up to you! Pepperoni, mushrooms, and sliced olives satisfy everyone on my crew, so that’s where I begin. Just remember to cut the toppings down to a smaller size so they float on the zucchini boat without falling overboard.

How Long Should I Cook Zucchini Boats?

When perfectly cooked, the zucchini base should be perfectly tender with a bite and no sogginess at all. It takes 15 to 20 minutes in a 400°F oven to cook the zucchini boats once they have been prepared and topped.

Zucchini Pizza Boats Recipe

Zucchini boats are the perfect vehicle for gooey cheese, tangy sauce, and your favorite pizza toppings.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 4

    medium zucchini (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup

    mini pepperoni slices or 10 slices regular pepperoni

  • 1/4 cup

    pitted kalamata olives (about 8)

  • 2

    small white button or cremini mushrooms (1 ounce total)

  • 1 cup

    store-bought or homemade marinara or pizza sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups

    shredded low-moisture mozzarella or Italian-blend cheese (about 6 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons

    grated Parmesan cheese

  • Red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Cut 4 medium zucchini in half lengthwise, no need to trim the ends. Using a small spoon or melon baller, carefully scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell to form zucchini boats. Discard the flesh or reserve for another use, such as adding to smoothies.

  3. Season the cut side of the zucchini boats with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Flip them over onto a plate or rimmed baking sheet and set aside so they release liquid, about 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings. If using regular pepperoni, cut 10 slices into quarters. Cut 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives crosswise. Halve and thinly slice 2 small white button or cremini mushrooms.

  5. Pat the zucchini and the baking sheet dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the zucchini cut-side up.

  6. Divide 1 cup marinara or pizza sauce evenly among the zucchini boats, about 2 tablespoons per zucchini. Top with 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian-blend cheese. Top with pepperoni, olives, and mushrooms. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese evenly over the zucchini.

  7. Bake until the zucchini shells are tender and the cheese is melted and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with red pepper flakes if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.