Grilled Caprese Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Grilled Caprese Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Grill stuffed zucchini with a classic Caprese salad made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Finish off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for an easy, summery side dish.

I find myself with an abundance of tomatoes and zucchini every summer. There are only so many salads and sautéed zucchini I can eat before I think of new ways to enjoy them. These grilled zucchini boats are one of my favorite ways.

Zucchini halves are seeded, then hollowed out and filled with a Caprese filling: a mixture of marinated tomatoes, fresh basil, diced fresh mozzarella cheese, garlic and Italian spices. The stuffed zucchini are grilled until warm through and the cheese has melted.

It’s easy to scale this recipe up if you’re having dinner guests – just plan for extra zucchini and double or triple the amounts of ingredients for the caprese filling as needed.

Tips for making zucchini boats

I use medium sized zucchini that are 8 to 10 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. Very thin zucchini doesn’t leave enough room to form a “boat” for the filling, and anything larger would be too large a portion and take longer to cook.

To scoop out the zucchini, use a metal spoon to cut around the dingy interior and scoop out the seeds. Save the scooped leftovers for soups, vegetable sautés, or freeze them for smoothies.

I use a small paring knife to check the grilled zucchini for doneness. If I can easily pierce its skin with the tip of a knife, it’s done. Don’t overcook the zucchini – it will become too soft and won’t hold its shape.

This recipe is flexible, making it a favorite in my book. As long as you have the basic ingredients of zucchini, tomato, cheese, and basil, this will be delicious. You can swap out the tomatoes, adjust the cheese, and mix up your spices a bit. Here are a few tips to make this recipe work for you:

  • Any firm tomato will work – small plum tomatoes like Romas or San Marzanos are my top picks as they are less watery and have fewer seeds than other varieties.
  • Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. Neutral oils like avocado oil or “light” olive oil won’t add much, if any, flavor.
  • Fresh mozzarella is more flavorful, but pre-grated mozzarella cheese can be used instead. It saves you some prep time as it doesn’t need to be diced and melts faster on the grill.
  • If you don’t have Italian seasonings in your spice cabinet, use any combination of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. You can even add a touch of sage or coriander.

Make it a meal

These grilled zucchini boats make an excellent side dish for grilled steak, rotisserie chicken, or your favorite skewers.

If you don’t eat meat or are looking for a plant-based entree, add 1 cup of cooked grains, such as white or brown rice, couscous, quinoa, farro, or barley, to the filling.

You’ll have some leftovers to serve as a side, or if you have more zucchini, make more boats! Alternatively, you can serve the zucchini boats over a scoop of cooked grains. You can also serve the stuffed zucchini boats cut up over freshly cooked pasta for an instant vegetarian and fresh tomato sauce.

Make the zucchini boats ahead

The zucchini boats taste best right off the grill while the cheese is melted.

Store leftovers tightly closed in the refrigerator. The cheese and olive oil will set and will need to be reheated. Heat them in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until warm.

More zucchini recipes for this summer

  • Taco-stuffed zucchini boats
  • zucchini pancakes
  • Asian zucchini noodle salad
  • Easy zucchini bread
  • Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups

Grilled zucchini boats stuffed with caprese

preparation time
20 minutes

cooking time
10 mins

total time
30 minutes

4 servings


  • 1 Cup Cocktail Tomatoesquartered

  • 2 cloves garlicfinely chopped

  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) fresh mozzarella cheesecut into small cubes

  • 1/4 Cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

  • 2 teaspoon dried Italian spice

  • 5 to 6 big fresh basil leavescut into thin strips, plus 2 to 3 leaves for garnish

  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oildivided

  • 1 teaspoon Saltdivided

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepperdivided

  • 2 (8 to 10 inches) zucchini

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegarOptional


  1. Preheat grill:

    If you’re using a gas grill, heat it to 350°F. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you want it to be hot enough that you can hold your hand a few inches above the grate for 4 to 5 seconds.

  2. Make the Caprese filling:

    In a medium bowl, add tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, Italian seasonings, basil, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Turn to combine and set aside to marinate while the zucchini cooks.

  3. Prepare zucchini for the grill:

    Halve the zucchini lengthways. Don’t cut the ends. Use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Brush the hollowed out courgettes with the remaining 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  4. Grill zucchini:

    Place the zucchini halves cut-side down on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, checking after 5 minutes, until browned and slightly tender. You don’t want the zucchini to be too charred or overcooked.

    Use tongs to place the zucchini, skin-side down, on a bowl.

  5. Stuff the zucchini:

    Stuff each zucchini with the Caprese filling.

  6. Place the zucchini back on the grill:

    Using tongs, place the stuffed courgettes back on the grill, skin-side down. Close the lid and grill for 5 to 10 minutes until the mozzarella is melted. Check for doneness after 5 minutes.

  7. Serve warm:

    Drizzle the zucchini boats with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with additional fresh basil, if you like.

nutritional information (per serving)
236 calories
20g Fat
6g carbohydrates
8g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!