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Pesto Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Savory pesto chicken stuffed zucchini boats with a homemade cashew jalapeño pesto and layers of mozzarella cheese. These easy, healthy pesto chicken zucchini boats are fun and easy to make and pack tons of delicious protein. The perfect dinner for using up fresh zucchini!

Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword pesto chicken stuffed zucchini, pesto chicken stuffed zucchini boats
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 405 kcal
Author Monique Volz of AmbitiousKitchen.com


  • For the pesto:
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup cashews (raw or roasted is fine)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons water, to thin pesto
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the zucchini boats:
  • Olive oil
  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise (look for zucchini that is similar in size)
  • 3/4 pound (about 2 cups) cooked shredded chicken breast (can also be from a rotisserie chicken)
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • Optional: ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • To garnish:
  • Extra cilantro and quartered cherry tomatoes


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan with olive oil.
  2. Make the pesto: add all pesto ingredients to the bowl of a food processor: cilantro, cashews, jalapeño, garlic cloves, lime juice, olive oil, water and salt and pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides and processing again, if necessary.
  3. Transfer pesto to a large bowl and stir in the shredded chicken, chopped cherry tomatoes and ½ cup mozzarella cheese (we’re reserving the rest of the cheese for topping).
  4. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. 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) and season with salt and pepper. You can also simply spray them with an all natural oil-only cooking spray.

  5. Spoon pesto chicken mixture evenly into zucchini boats. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan if desired.
  6. 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 extra cherry tomatoes before serving. Serves 4; 2 boats per person.

Recipe Notes

If you prefer, you can use 3/4 cup store-bought pesto or your favorite pesto recipe. This one is cilantro based, but basil would also be fabulous.

To make vegetarian: sub chickpeas, cooked quinoa or even tofu for the chicken.

See the full post for ways to customize these zucchini boats and how to cook them on the grill!

Nutrition Facts
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Amount Per Serving (2 zucchini boats)
Calories 405 Calories from Fat 229
% Daily Value*
Fat 25.4g39%
Saturated Fat 6.5g41%
Carbohydrates 15.7g5%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 5.6g6%
Protein 31.6g63%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.