Meatless Mexican Zucchini Boats {A Meatless Monday Recipe

Meatless Mexican Zucchini Boats {A Meatless Monday Recipe

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These Meatless Mexican Zucchini Boats are so good you won’t even miss the meat! 

I mean it. 

You won’t. 

I’ll even pinkie-promise on it.

This is a vegetarian version of the Mexican Zucchini Boats I posted about years ago. The original recipe uses ground beef. After I posted the recipe using the beef, a vegetarian Mountain Kitchen reader suggested that I make a vegetarian-friendly version perhaps with beans instead of the beef. 

zucchini on carving board

I was intrigued, I had already been thinking about making a vegetarian version of the Mexican zucchini boats for Meatless Monday, although I didn’t know exactly how I would do it.

A bean version would be perfect! That is exactly what I did. Instead of using ground beef, I used vegetarian refried beans as the protein. I also changed up the seasonings just a bit to make the Mexican zucchini boats more flavorful, meatless, low-carb and gluten-free!

prepared meatless Mexican zucchini boats on plate

David and I love this bean version of the zucchini boats for their creamy texture, slight smokiness, and not to mention they are so easy to make. They are a healthy alternative to taco night and only requires just a few ingredients to make. 

Here, let me show you how I made them:

meatless Mexican zucchini boats with mountain view

How to make Meatless Mexican Zucchini Boats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil. Brush with oil or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Cut the zucchini lengthwise and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds in the middle. Try to leave about ¼-inch of flesh around the outside of the zucchini so they have some structure to them. Discard the scooped zucchini. Place the zucchini on the prepared sheet pan with an inch or two between each other.

scooped out zucchini

I have seen recipes that say to use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds, but I actually find it harder to use a melon baller. It is too sharp and it tends to cut too much of the flesh. A spoon is the best tool for the job.

To make the zucchini lay flat so they won’t rock back and forth on the baking sheet, simply cut a small sliver of skin off of the bottom of the boats, being careful not to cut too much of the flesh of the zucchini.

sliced bottom of zucchini

In a medium skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and peppers to the pan and cook until they are soft; about 5 to 10 minutes. Season the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt and pepper. The salt helps to break down the vegetables and helps them to soften.

When the onions and peppers are soft, add in the beans, cumin and chili powder to the skillet. The beans will be very thick at first but they will loosen up as they get warmer. Stir the mixture together constantly until the beans are warmed through, about 3 to 5 minutes. 

Next, add in the salsa and stir well to combine, until warmed through. Then, turn off the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese.

close up photo of beans in boats

Divide the bean filling among the zucchini boats on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet of zucchini boats inside the preheated oven. 

Bake the zucchini boats approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until the zucchini are fork-tender but still has some structure to them. 

meatless Mexican zucchini boats on sheet pan in oven

Cooking too long will turn mushy. You actually want them to have a slight crunch to them.

When the zucchini are tender, remove the sheet pan from the oven. 

topping with extra cheese

If desired, top the zucchini boats with more cheese and return them to the oven for two more minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Serve the meatless Mexican zucchini boats warm with sour cream, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired. 

We hope you will enjoy these Meatless Mexican Zucchini Boats as much as we do. 

Enjoy!

Meatless Mexican Zucchini Boats

Meatless Mexican Zucchini Boats are stuffed with refried beans mixed with onions, Mexican seasonings, salsa, and cheese. A yummy Meatless Monday meal!
Course lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, gluten-free, Low-Carb, Meatless Monday, Mexican, Vegetarian
Keyword Boats, low-carb, mexican, Refried Beans, zucchini
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 300kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchini halved and scooped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced (about ½ cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper deveined seeded and diced
  • 16 ounce canned refried beans (vegetarian or vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ cup salsa Your favorite is perfect!
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese grated + extra for topping if desired
  • sour cream for serving, optional
  • fresh cilantro for serving, optional
  • lime wedges for serving, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil. Brush with oil or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Cut the zucchini lengthwise and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds in the middle. Try to leave about ¼-inch of flesh around the outside of the zucchini so they have some structure to them. Discard the scooped zucchini. Place the zucchini on the prepared sheet pan with an inch or two between each other.
    To make the zucchini lay flat so they won’t rock back and forth on the baking sheet, simply cut a small sliver of skin off of the bottom of the boats, being careful not to cut too much of the flesh of the zucchini.
  • In a medium skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and peppers to the pan and cook until they are soft; about 5 to 10 minutes. Season the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt and pepper. The salt helps to break down the vegetables and helps them to soften.
  • When the onions and peppers are soft, add in the beans, cumin and chili powder to the skillet. The beans will be very thick at first but they will loosen up as they get warmer. Stir the mixture together constantly until the beans are warmed through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Next, add in the salsa and stir well to combine, until warmed through. Then, turn off the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese.
  • Divide the bean filling among the zucchini boats on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet of zucchini boats inside the preheated oven. 
  • Bake the zucchini boats approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until the zucchini are fork-tender but still has some structure to them. 
    Cooking too long will turn mushy. You actually want them to have a slight crunch to them.
  • When the zucchini are tender, remove the sheet pan from the oven. 
    If desired, top the zucchini boats with more cheese and return them to the oven for two more minutes, or until the cheese melts.
  • Serve the meatless Mexican zucchini boats warm with sour cream, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired. 

Notes

I have seen recipes that say to use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds, but I actually find it harder to use a melon baller. It is too sharp and it tends to cut too much of the flesh. A spoon is the best tool for the job.
To make the zucchini lay flat so they won’t rock back and forth on the baking sheet, simply cut a small sliver of skin off of the bottom of the boats, being careful not to cut too much of the flesh of the zucchini.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 1274mg | Potassium: 694mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1285IU | Vitamin C: 41.8mg | Calcium: 309mg | Iron: 2.9mg
Did you try this recipe? Tell us what you think!Give this recipe a star rating, leave a comment below and share pictures of your food with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter! We can’t wait to see them! Don’t forget to mention @TheMountainKitchen or tag #TheMountainKitchen!

This is an updated post from August 25, 2014.

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The Mountain Kitchen

Hi, my name is Debbie, Author and Photographer at The Mountain Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious homemade recipes using clean food ingredients, and stories about mountain life.
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