Garlic Sesame Turkey Stuffed Zucchini boats is something that I make often when I am craving something Asian - especially chinese - but I've got nothing but a bunch of fresh zucchini sitting in my home.
Instead of ground turkey you can use ground chicken or ground pork or ground beef.
Simple Zucchini boat recipe
Making zucchini boats with ground turkey is so easy. And, so delicious too.
Stuffed Zucchini with turkey is also exceptionally healthy. So much healthier than ground beef stuffed zucchini.
The first thing you have to do is make a sesame garlic marinade.
Pour this into the skillet while cooking ground turkey.
Of course you can also use chicken and make sesame garlic chicken marinade.
Cook your ground chicken or ground turkey in a skillet with the marinade.
And, just stuff it in hollowed out zucchini boats. It cannot get any easier than this right?
I decided to make these after your loving reviews for the similar recipes:
- Honey Garlic Cauliflower Bowls
- Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts
- Sesame Chicken
- Sesame Cauliflower
- Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
Stuffed Zucchini with turkey
I recommend that you use 93% Lean and 7% Fat Ground turkey. Ground turkey is a lean protein that you can add to your fresh zucchini boats and make a quick dinner for yourself in minutes.
These stuffed zucchini with ground turkey is one of the best ways to use up any leftover zucchinis that you have at home.
What's in Summer Squash Sesame Turkey Zucchini
There are so many ways to stuff a zucchini. This juicy fruit acts as a beautiful vessel for so many good stuff. You can actually put on your creative hat and feel free to experiment.
Here's what's stuffed in this zucchini boat recipe:
- ground turkey
- soy sauce
- rice wine vinegar
- red chili sauce
- red pepper flakes
- sesame oil
- minced garlic
How do I hollow out a Zucchini
- Choose an unripe zucchini - Before we begin, you need to make sure that you choose a small or medium sized (6 to 7 inches) zucchini which is unripe and firm. Larger zucchinis will have more seeds meaning it will be bitter in taste.
- Let the skin stay on - There is a lot of myth around this. Many people wonder if it is safe to keep the skin on zucchini. The answer is YES! Unlike other squash, Zucchini skin is edible. And it fulfills your daily fiber requirements. See this article for Health Benefits of Zucchini.
- Cut Zucchini in half lengthwise - First, remove the top end. Use a sharp butcher's knife to cut it in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the flesh - Leave at least 1/2 inch gap on the sides so that the filling gets a meaty and fleshy border. Use a knife and take it around the zucchini leaving 1/2 inch border on the sides. Now use a spoon to scoop out the filling.
Is it OK to eat zucchini seeds?
Yes. As long as you are using small or medium sized unripe zucchini then it is completely safe to eat zucchini seeds. But, if you are using a mature zucchini then you DO need to remove the seeds. Because as the zucchini matures the seeds become harder and bitter.
should i pre cook zucchini boats?
Yes! Yes! Yes! After you've hollowed out zucchini, the next step is to pre bake.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Place zucchini boats in a baking dish.
- Brush hollowed out zucchinis with olive oil.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper from a height so that they distribute evenly.
- Place them in the middle rack of the oven.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 14-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow them to cool down completely.
How to make Stuffed Zucchini Boats?
- Prepare Zucchinis - Read the steps written above.
- Brown the ground turkey - Cook Ground Turkey in a skillet with some sesame oil or toasted sesame oil (for a toasty, nutty, and intense flavor) Add some aromatics and seasonings. Browning ground turkey is essential. This is exactly what gives great flavors to your stuffed zucchini boat recipe.
- Make Garlic Sesame Sauce - This flavorful sauce is going to bowl you out! It's simply amazing. Combine the ingredients for the sauce and stir it in the skillet with cooked ground turkey.
- Stuff the hollowed out zucchini - Coming to the most exciting part of this recipe - stuffing the hollowed out zucchinis. Spoon the filling into the zucchini boats.
- Garnish and serve - Garnish with sesame seeds, fresh chopped cilantro (which is called coriander in asian countries). Squeeze in some fresh kaffir lime juice for that fresh citrus fragrance. Lastly drizzle some sriracha for that extra heat!
Equipments to use
For asian recipes, I recommend that you use either a wok or Sauté pan or a cast-iron skillet. In my experience a cast iron skillet works best for asian recipes. This is because they heat evenly and cooks ground turkey perfectly.
Don't overpack the zucchini boats
Keep the stuffing light and easy. Don't overpack the zucchini boats. Spoon just enough filling to make it taste meaty as well as zucchinish. Keeping the stuffing light would help you keep room for garnish.
Do I have to bake zucchini boats once again?
NO. Not in this recipe. We have separately cooked the zucchini boats and the filling.
And, more importantly, we are not adding any cheese on top (which needs to melt and mix with the filling)
Therefore there is no need to bake zucchini boats once again.
Sometimes we don't have all that is mentioned in the recipe in our fridge. In that case, you can make the following substitutions.
- Ground Chicken - Don't have ground turkey at home? Or don't want to use ground turkey? Just replace it with ground chicken.
- Peanut Oil - In case you don't have sesame oil you can replace it with peanut oil. (But you can use any other oil that you have at home, especially when you have peanut allergy)
- Sriracha - Don't have red chili sauce? Replace it with sriracha.
- Peanut Butter - Or any other nut butter or seed butter (if you have peanut allergy) for more intense flavor.
- Palm Sugar - If you can find palm sugar then there cannot be anything better than that. Replace honey with 1 tablespoon of Palm sugar.
Stuffed Zucchini Boats side dishes
Typically you can serve them just as is. However you can serve them with:
- panzanella salad
- broccoli corn salad
- Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
- Roasted Mushrooms with Herby Quinoa
- Crispy Tofu with Toasted Cashews and Blistered Peas
More Leftover Turkey Recipes
- Leftover Turkey Mushroom and Wild rice soup (Deliciously Creamy!!)
- Italian Turkey Meatballs in marinara sauce
- Instant Pot Turkey Breast
- Turkey Tetrazzini
- Turkey Enchiladas Recipe
- Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs
- Turkey Chili in a Crockpot
Garlic Sesame Turkey Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 3 small zucchini not more than 6-7 inches (lengthwise)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil or any oil (to brush zucchini)
- kosher salt to season hollowed out zucchini (as per taste)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil or any oil that you like
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garlic Sesame Sauce
- 4 cloves garlic pressed or minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce*
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon red chili sauce*
- 2 teaspoon sweet chili sauce (Trader Joe's!)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Garnish (to Serve)
- cilantro fresh, chopped
- sesame seeds
- kaffir lime juice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut zucchini from stem to stem in half lengthwise. Leave ½ inch border on the sides and scoop out the zucchini flesh (remove the seeds if you don't like them)
- Brush hollowed out zucchini slices with sesame oil. Lightly season the inside with kosher salt. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish, cut side up.
- Bake hollowed out zucchinis for 14-15 minutes or until they begin to soften.
- Once done, remove from oven and allow them to cool down.
Make the Sauce
- Whisk together sauce ingredients in a bowl or a pyrex glass jar until well combined.
Brown Ground Turkey
- Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a cast-iron skillet. Once hot, add ground turkey.
- Cook until some pieces start to brown.
- Add the sauce and simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens and the turkey is evenly coated. Make sure everything is well heated through.
Spoon the filling in zucchini
- Spoon the filling in the hollowed out zucchinis. Evenly fill each zucchini boat with the garlic sesame turkey filling.
- Garnish with sesame seeds, fresh chopped cilantro, and squeeze in some fresh kaffir lime juice.
- Drizzle some red chili sauce or sriracha (only if you want more heat)
- Soy Sauce - If you have Soy Allergy you can substitute soy sauce with coconut aminos. Make sure you use gluten-free soy sauce to keep these turkey stuffed zucchini boats gluten-free.
- Red Chili Sauce - If you don't have red chili sauce, then you can replace it with sriracha.