A super fresh and healthful take on enchiladas! Enchilada-stuffed zucchini boats are brimming with flavor and veggies. This recipe is just one of many fun, healthy recipes in No Excuses Detox, the newest cookbook by Megan Gilmore, aka the Detoxinista.
I love getting new cookbooks! And I’ve gotta say, when I got No Excuses Detox in the mail I couldn’t help by thumb through it right away. It’s beautiful and I want to make pretty much everything now. Sweet potato queso? Um, yes! Cauliflower baked ziti? Dinner, please!
Aside from the stunning photos and deliciously healthy recipes, I love that this cookbook has categories to help you decide what to make. Recipes are labeled with Kid Friendly, 30 Minute Recipe, Slow/Pressure Cooker Option, and other helpful tips. So helpful when you want to find something that fits your needs without reading the whole thing!
The cookbook also includes sample 5-day meal plans that you can follow, including corresponding shopping lists. So handy! Meal planning really does help you eat healthier!
Enchilada-stuffed zucchini boats
Enough about the book, let’s talk about this recipe from it!
First of all, I love zucchini boats. They are such an easy way to include a veggie in your meal, and they usually replace a heavier carb of some kind. Don’t get me wrong, carbohydrates aren’t bad -they’re usually just very plentiful in the American diet so I like it when I have other options.
Then, these zucchini boats are filled with more veggies! Tomatoes, red pepper, jalapeno, garlic and onion. Hello, vitamins! And don’t worry, the jalapeno doesn’t make them spicy because you take out all the seeds… unless you want to leave them. They just add lots of flavor!
Speaking of flavor, it’s spot on in these boats! They have just the right amount of seasoning and are topped off with sharp cheddar. They’re so flavorful you forget you’re just eating veggies! I highly recommend them for a light lunch or dinner, or as a side to a healthy protein.
How to make enchilada-stuffed zucchini boats
Let’s prep veggies first. Dice onion, mince garlic, and chop red pepper into small pieces. De-seed the jalapeno and then cut into small pieces as well.
Preheat your oven to 400* F and pull out a large baking sheet. You can line with parchment paper for easier cleanup, but I left mine uncovered.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno for 10 minutes, until soft. Next, add garlic, tomatoes, salt, and seasonings. Saute for another 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the hard knob off the top of your zucchini and then cut them in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the soft centers. The trick is to leave just enough flesh so that the boats hold up, but also lots of room for filling. I’d say my sides were somewhere around 1/4-1/3 of an inch thick and that worked well. You can quickly chop the scooped flesh and add it to your tomato mixture sauteing on the stove, if desired. Or save it and add it to a smoothie or baked good!
Place scooped zucchini on your large baking sheet (open side up) and fill with equal portions of the cooked tomato mixture. Top with grated cheddar cheese. This recipe calls for goat cheddar (yum!) but you can use any kind of cheddar your family prefers. I recommend using something on the sharp side – the sharp white cheddar I used was a fantastic complement to the enchilada flavors of the veggies.
Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and zucchini is tender. Top with cilantro, if desired.
How to make these zucchini boats ahead of time
As I mentioned before, this cookbook is fantastic because it has all kinds of labels – and this dish was labeled “Freezer Friendly.” Don’t you love that?
To make these ahead: cover up uncooked, filled zucchini and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Then just pull them out of the fridge bake for 40 minutes instead of 20.
To freeze: make the filling ahead of time and freeze it. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then simply prepare the zucchini, fill the boats, and bake for the normal 20 minutes. Oh, and don’t forget the cheese. Never forget cheese!
This filling was really tasty, so I think I’ll make up a double batch next time and freeze the extra filling for a quick dinner – either in these boats or with some beans and rice. It’s delicious!
These boats really are a dream!