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Zucchini Boat Bolognese

This zucchini boat bolognese is an excellent weeknight meal! It's super delicious: the zucchini is brushed with garlic butter, filled with bolognese and topped with cheese, then baked until melty and warm and golden. Delish!
5 from 8 votes
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey, (I like 94% lean)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • fresh basil, for topping


  • NOTE: Remember that you can use my LENTIL BOLOGNESE recipe linked above in the post for this to be vegetarian!
  • Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add in the onions with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the garlic and mushrooms. Stir and cook for another 5 or 6 minutes, until the mushrooms soften.
  • Add in the turkey and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Brown it, stirring and breaking it apart, until it's cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, dried basil, oregano, pepper flakes and brown sugar. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Add in the wine, tomatoes and parmesan. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 15 minutes (or even longer if you wish!). You can make this ahead of time, FYI!
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  • Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise. Place them on a baking sheet. Scoop out the center using a spoon to create a well. You can discard this zucchini or stir it into the bolognese if you don’t want to waste it.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the remaining garlic. Brush the zucchini boats all over with the garlic butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper all over over.
  • Fill the zucchini boats with bolognese. Top with the grated mozzarella. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is melty and bubbly and golden. Serve with fresh basil and extra parmesan.

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