Zucchini Taco Boats

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Low calorie, low carb, low fat but high flavor turkey Zucchini Taco Boats are a great meal!  Everyone will love this recipe full of flavor and tons of fiber!

overhead shot of zucchini boats in baking dish

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Serve these zucchini taco boats for dinner and then keep with the zucchini theme and have zucchini brownies or chocolate marble zucchini bread for dessert.

I’m really trying to eat better. Not only am I trying to lose about 10 leftover pregnancy pounds, but the Mr. is diabetic. Have I mentioned that before? You probably wouldn’t know it with all the baked goods and pasta I make.

overhead shot of zucchini boats on white plate

He is way more disciplined than I am and doesn’t often indulge, but still. I need to try harder to make low carb meals for him.  So, making these zucchini boats into turkey tacos sounded like a great idea!

When I was working on this dish (very quickly, while the baby was occupied with her floor mat), I didn’t have high hopes for it. I love zucchini, but I don’t always love ground turkey. Not that I don’t love it, actually, I just don’t cook with it often.

zucchini boats with shredded cheese in pan reay for baking

But then, as I was scooping the meat mixture into the zucchini boats, and tried a spoonful, I knew it was going to be awesome. And the finished product definitely was.

While Julia was patient while I was cooking, she was not so patient for the plating/photographing phase. For that reason, these pictures don’t do the dish justice, but I promise it’s really good.


  • Zucchini – Four medium zucchini
  • Salsa – I highly recommend making your own salsa (this one is so good!), but jarred works too.
  • Ground Turkey
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Onion
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Water
  • Mexican Cheese Blend – shredded
  • Sour Cream – optional for serving


zucchini sliced & prepped to make taco boats


  • I highly recommend making your own salsa to go into these zucchini boats turkey tacos.  It is so easy and so worth it. It makes this dish that much better and you’ll have plenty left over to eat for days with other things.
  • Use a melon baller like this Melon Baller with Two Sizes to scoop seeds out of the middle to make the “boats”.
  • Make sure to spray your pan to prevent them from sticking on the bottom.
  • Don’t overcook the zucchini. You want it soft, but not mushy.
zucchini filling in pan for taco boats


These Zucchini Taco Boats are sure to be a hit with your family.  Just think of how much healthier Taco Tuesday will be?

zucchini taco boats in baking dish


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white plate with zucchini boats and sour cream & salsa

Zucchini Boat Turkey Tacos

Melissa | Persnickety Plates
Low calorie, low carb, low fat but high flavor Zucchini Boat Turkey Tacos |
4.55 from 37 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 239 kcal


  • 4 medium zucchini
  • ½ cup salsa plus more for serving
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ small onion minced
  • 4 oz tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup or so shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • sour cream optional for serving


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of salsa into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise then with a small spoon or melon baller (I used my tablespoon measuring spoon), hollow out the zucchini pieces but leave 1/4″ rim. Save 3/4 cup of the zucchini flesh and chop into small pieces.
  • Drop the zucchini halves into the boiling water and cook for one minute. Remove from water and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey, breaking it up while it cooks. When it’s no longer pink, add in the spices and mix well.
  • Add in the chopped onion, reserved zucchini, tomato sauce, and water. Stir it up then cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, arrange the boiled zucchini halves into the bottom of the 9×13 dish.
  • Once the meat mixture is done, spoon the mixture into the zucchini boats evenly. Press down so the filling stays in the boats.
  • Top each half with a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Cover the pan with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes until the zucchini is fully cooked and the cheese is melted.
  • Serve with sour cream and more salsa.


Slightly adapted from Skinnytaste


Serving: 1gCalories: 239kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 34gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 1141mgPotassium: 1104mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1186IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 148mgIron: 3mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @melissa_pplates or tag #persnicketyplates!

Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying/pasting and/or screenshots of full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Content and photographs are copyright protected.

 With meals like this, you can afford to have some of our delicious Chocolate Brownies for dessert!

Originally published July 1, 2014

two zucchini taco boats on white plate with salsa & sour cream

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  1. Amy says

    I made the zucchini tacos, but changed all the spices to make them Italian. They were awesome. Thank you for such a delicious recipe. It is a keeper, in both the Mexican and Italian formats, that will help me in my low carb eating plan.

    • Melissa Williams says

      I’ve done the same thing – added marinara and Italian seasonings! I’m glad you liked them, thank you for letting me know =)

  2. Debbie says

    Has anyone by chance figured out the calories and/or other nutritional info? Made it tonight and was really good. Thanks

    • Melissa Williams says

      Hi Debbie 🙂 I’ve added a button that says “Click here for recipe nutrition” to the bottom of a lot of my posts – it takes you to a site called My Recipe Magic which calculates the nutritional info. One serving of these Zucchini Boat Turkey Tacos is calculated to be approx. 210 calories/9.75 g of fat. Here is the link: http://myrecipemagic.com/recipe/recipedetail/zucchini-boat-turkey-tacos Hope that helps!

    • Barb Pierson says

      I have a question on the nutrition – my husband is also a diabetic on an insulin pump, so we count carbs. According to your chart – you say 4 servings. Do you mean 2 halves are one serving? I was a little confused. Thank you! Making this tonite!

    • Melissa Williams says

      Hi Barb,
      Yes, I meant 2 halves = 1 serving. So, it *could* serve 4 people, but last night I had 2 halves and my husband had 4. Even more confused?? haha

      It really depends on the size of your zucchini. Sorry I’m not more help, we don’t count carbs, we’re just very mindful of them. Let me know how you like them!

  3. Debra says

    5 stars
    Thank you for the fantastic recipe! My whole family enjoyed your recipe, even my adult son who normally won’t eat ground turkey.

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yay! Love to hear that =) Honestly, I’m not a huge ground turkey fan either, but this one I love.

  4. Ginger says

    Thank you for sharing this, it is the perfect recipe to bring to a company potluck. I plan to make halves for easy finger food apps. My thought was this could be considered a healthy version of potato skins, “zucchini skins”. Can you tell me why you put salsa in the bottom prior to cooking, and why you boiled the zucchini?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Hi Ginger,
      You parboil the zucchini so that you don’t wind up with crunchy zucchini. You will still bake it, but I find that boiling it for a couple minutes helps with the baking. The salsa at the bottom of the pan helps add flavor and prevents the zucchini from sticking to the dish =)

      I’m not sure it’s much of a finger food but I’ve never tried making halves. Let me know how it goes!

  5. Pam Daniel says

    How do you change this to Italian?

    • Melissa Williams says

      However you want 😉 I haven’t made an Italian version.

  6. Jessica W says

    5 stars
    We love this dish, and make it all the time. I also use the salsa recipe all the time now too. I make one batch and freeze it into smaller containers. The seasonings on this turkey is perfect, and I also use this as our go to taco seasoning. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Oh and sometimes I boil the zucchini without coring it, and then chopping it all into the skillet for a one pot bake which is a lot quicker.

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yay – thanks so much for sharing, I’m glad you love it <3

  7. Julie B. says

    5 stars
    Absolutely LOVE this recipe! Even my children, ages 11 & 10, love it. I’ve recommended and passed this recipe on to others!

  8. Lyndsey says

    5 stars

  9. Olivia says

    5 stars
    I loved these so much! Thanks for a great recipe!

  10. Anna says

    5 stars
    I just made this recipe, following the instructions exactly, and it turned out soooo good! My fiancé and I both loved it and are excited that we meal prepped so many servings! The amount of spices seemed like a lot when I was cooking, but the flavors were perfect.

    • Melissa Williams says

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for leaving a review 🙂

  11. C says

    Why do you boil the zucchini for a minute?

    • Melissa Williams says

      You parboil the zucchini so that you don’t wind up with crunchy zucchini. You will still bake it, but I find that boiling it for a couple minutes helps with the baking.

  12. Irene says

    5 stars
    i am on a low carb diet and made it tonite. I love it! my Husband ( he did not know it was low carb and low cal ) said” you have to make this more often, it’s really good”

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yay! The low carb/low cal is an added bonus =)

  13. Natonya Wallace says

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!! The seasoning was perfect. Thank you for sharing this recipe and this will be my Taco Tuesday recipe every other week.

    • Melissa Williams says

      That makes me happy, thanks for letting me know!

  14. Jenna says

    5 stars
    Such a yummy healthy meal!! My family loved it.

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