Throwing it back to #AKZucchiniWeek 2018 where we had a delicious mix of sweet and savory recipes to use up all of your fresh summer zucchini. With Memorial Day behind us, it’s the perfect time to start stocking up on everyone’s favorite veggie.
My mom used to make these zucchini boats all the time with enchilada sauce, but since I’m a straight-up BBQ
drinker lover, I decided to switch it up. These cheesy BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats are easy to make, deliciously savory, and packed with protein for the perfect weeknight meal to satisfy every craving.
Make them for dinner this week, then check out all of my zucchini recipes for more fun ways to use them up!
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Ingredients in BBQ chicken zucchini boats
These easy, cheesy BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats actually require super minimal ingredients but are filled with delicious flavor and tons of protein. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Zucchini: to make these cute little boats of course!
- Olive oil: for cooking down the veggies, brushing on the zucchini and greasing your pan.
- Garlic: an essential flavor for the filling.
- Red onion: a little bite to add to the chicken filling.
- Chicken: I like to use plain cooked & shredded chicken breast for ease, but you can even use leftovers from a rotisserie chicken to really save time! You could also cook some ground chicken with your red onion and garlic if you want.
- BBQ sauce: feel free to use your favorite BBQ sauce. I love this kind because it’s lower in sugar and a little spicy (yum).
- Cheddar cheese: add plenty of shredded cheddar cheese (or a vegan cheese!) for that melty, cheesy perfection.
- Toppings: I like to top these with a green onion and cilantro for a little freshness.
Our fav ways to cook & shred chicken
These zucchini boats are the perfect way to use up cooked, shredded chicken — even rotisserie chicken! Learn all of our best ways to cook chicken here, and different ways to shred it here.
Customize your zucchini boats
This recipe is super versatile! Feel free to use what you have on hand to truly make it your own. Here’s what I can suggest:
- Swap the sauce: if you’d like you can use canned or homemade enchilada sauce instead of BBQ sauce.
- Go vegetarian: keep these stuffed zucchini boats vegetarian by using cooked lentils, tofu or black beans instead of chicken.
- Choose a new meat: feel free to use cooked ground chicken or turkey instead of shredded chicken breast.
- Make them dairy free: use your favorite dairy free cheese shreds.
How to make BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats
- Make your boats. Scoop the centers from the zucchini out while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. And yes, you can eat the skin on zucchini boats, so no need to peel them first!
- Prep your pan. Place your zucchini boats into a 9×13-inch greased baking pan. They should snuggle pretty tightly in there, but if you can’t fit them all in, you can use two pans. Brush zucchini with a little olive oil or spray them with cooking spray.
- Make the filling. Cook down the onions and garlic, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in shredded chicken, bbq sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese.
- Assemble the zucchini boats. Spoon the bbq chicken mixture evenly into the zucchini boats and top each with more bbq sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.
- Bake, garnish & serve. Cover the pan with foil and bake them up until the cheese has melted and the zucchini is tender. Sprinkle the tops with cilantro and green onion and serve!
Looking to grill them instead?
It’s easy! Here’s how to do it:
- Pre-grill your zucchini. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat or 400 degrees F. After brushing your zucchini with olive oil, place the zucchini flesh-side down on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes until nice grill marks appear.
- Stuff each zucchini boat. Remove zucchini from the grill and transfer to a baking sheet, flesh side up. Evenly divide the bbq chicken mixture between the zucchini and top with the extra bbq sauce and cheese.
- Grill them up. Add the baking sheet to the grill, close the lid, and cook for about 5-10 minutes more until the cheese is melty and bubbling.
- Garnish & serve. Once done, sprinkle tops with cilantro and green onion and serve!
Tips for making zucchini boats
- Make sure to choose zucchini that are all smaller and similar in size so that they fit in your pan and cook in the same amount of time.
- Scoop out the insides of your zucchini with a spoon (as shown in the video below) and make sure to leave a 1/4 inch rim so that the filling stays inside the zucchini.
- Be sure not to scoop your zucchini halves too deep — otherwise the filling may fall out of the bottom once the zucchini boats have cooked.
Meal prep these chicken stuffed zucchini boats:
This zucchini boat recipe makes AMAZING leftovers, packs in 36g of protein per serving and is wonderful for meal prep.
- First, make and bake your BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats.
- Allow the zucchini boats to cool, then place two of them in a meal prep container.
- Once ready to eat, microwave your boats on high for 1-2 minutes until warm and cheese is melted.
Reuse the zucchini pulp
After scooping out your zucchini boats, you can save the zucchini pulp for smoothies! It’s nutritious and incredibly delicious. Here’s what I suggest: Add zucchini pulp to a freezer safe container. Add to smoothies when you want a little nutritional or fiber boost. No need to thaw!
Store these easy BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats in meal prep containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply place two zucchini boats on a plate and microwave them until they’re heated through.
More zucchini recipes you’ll love
- Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna with Spicy Turkey Meat Sauce
- Delicious Zucchini Pizza Crust Recipe
- Spiced Zucchini Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Summer Garden Crustless Zucchini Pie
- One Pan Enchilada Zucchini Turkey Meatballs and Rice
Get all of my zucchini recipes here!
If you make this stuffed zucchini recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment and rate the recipe below. And of course, if you have Instagram, we’d love to see your creations — don’t forget to tag #ambitiouskitchen!
Cheesy BBQ Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Delicious, low carb BBQ chicken stuffed zucchini boats topped with melted cheddar cheese. These flavorful, easy BBQ chicken zucchini boats are a great way to use leftover chicken and make the perfect weeknight dinner. Options to add your favorite flavors or even make them vegetarian!
- Olive oil, for greasing pan
- 4 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise (look for zucchini that is similar in size)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ red onion, finely diced
- 1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) cooked shredded chicken breast (can also be from a rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup low sugar bbq sauce, divided (I like Stubb’s Spicy BBQ Sauce), plus more if you like it extra saucy
- 1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- To garnish:
- Green onions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan with olive oil.
Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. (See note section for what to do with leftover zucchini pulp.) Place zucchini in the greased pan; they should snuggle pretty tightly in there, but if you can’t fit them all in, you can use two pans.
Brush zucchini with a little olive oil (about 1 tablespoon or so). You can also simply spray them with an all natural oil-only cooking spray.
Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil to a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic, and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl then stir in shredded chicken, 1/2 cup bbq sauce and ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Spoon bbq chicken mixture evenly into zucchini boats. Top each with 1 tablespoon bbq sauce (or a little extra if you’d like it more saucy) and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese.
Cover with foil, and bake for 35-45 minutes or until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender.
Once done, sprinkle the tops with cilantro and green onion before serving. Serves 4; 2 boats per person.
You can save the zucchini pulp for smoothies! It's nutritious and incredibly delicious. Here's what I suggest: Add zucchini pulp to a freezer safe container. Add to smoothies when you want a little nutritional or fiber boost. No need to thaw!
See the full post for tips, tricks, and easy ways to customize these zucchini boats.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on July 31st, 2018, and republished on May 30th, 2023.
Oh my yum!! These sound amazing!
Seriously sooo good!
Oh my yum!! These sound amazing!
Seriously sooo good!
There are so many recipes you can make with zucchini boats! This one sounds SO good and is perfect for the summer!
It was hard to pick one! But loved the way these turned out for summer 🙂
Made these for dinner! Delicious! Loved that I could make them while my kiddo napped and then heat up at dinner.
Perfect! So glad you loved them!
I’ve tried zucchini boats before with a Mexican theme/enchilada sauce, but honestly I agree with you…I LOVE BBQ sauce! Will definitely be trying these with my garden zucchini 🙂
YES there’s something about BBQ that’s just amazing (especially in the summer!)
Anything with BBQ sauce, chicken and cheese and I am SOLD. Love courgette too, these look great!
Chicken n cheese is perfect combination. I’m a cheesahoic :)) LOL
Absolument délicieux ! Très bon ! À refaire certainement ! Merci !
You’re so welcome!!
I’m missing #AKzucchiniweek by a couple of days, but definitely meal prepping these for lunch next week!!
It can always be zucchini week!! Hope you love these 🙂
Literally just ate these 5 minutes ago and had to immediately come on here to say how AMAZING these are! I added a jalapeño because I have an abundant amount that needed to be used, but it added a great kick! So so good, Monique!
Love it!! I’m 100% adding jalapeño to mine next time 🙂
Had these for dinner tonight, absolutely delish and very easy to prepare. I grow zucchini every summer and your recipe has been added to the zucchini hall of fame in my kitchen. Next time I’m going to sub the chicken for some black beans, corn and peppers. Thanks for a the wonderful recipe!
Amazing! So happy to hear that. The beans, corn & peppers will be just as delicious, and stay tuned for some more amazing zucchini recipes coming to the blog next week 🙂
This was very good! Surprised how well the cilantro & bbq sauce went together. I added some diced red peppers & it was a good addition! Thanks!
Absolutely! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
I’m about to make me some Cheesy BBQ Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats!
So excited for you to try them!
I made this per the recipe the first time and it was great, although I never did end up using the zucchini pulp. The second time, I shredded the zucchini, added some shredded yellow squash and spinach and threw everything into a casserole. I squeezed the shredded zucchini and squash to get out the extra water. It had the same great taste and was a bit faster to make, not to mention I was able to pack it full of veggies. I cooked it at 375 for 10 minutes, added cheese to the top and cooked for another 10 minutes, then broiled it until the cheese was browned.