Tex-Mex Zucchini Boats are tasty veggie snacks that will please even the pickiest eaters. If you are into a light and low-carb meal, then these are great alternatives especially for tacos or enchiladas lovers! These easy-to-make, grab-and-go healthy snacks are ideal for game days, movie nights, and picnics.
No one can deny that zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables out there. You can grill it as a side dish for your protein, use it to make crispy fried fritters, or make noodles out of it. I can think of a zillion ways to prepare it, yet I’m still amazed at how much flavor it can provide to a dish. (Check out our roundup of our favorite zucchini recipes!) This green summer squash is ideal for mixing with other ingredients or in simple dishes that accentuate the flavor of fresh herbs especially now that they are in season. Making these Zucchini boats loaded with a spiced filling made of zucchini, tofu, and corn is so much fun. There are different ways and variations of zucchini boats. So, this dish will be an addition to the list of zesty and vibrant recipes that you and your family can absolutely enjoy anytime.
How to prepare the Zucchini Boats
We need to prepare the zucchini boats before cooking the filling. First, we have to choose the best zucchini that we can find. Small to medium-sized zucchini is ideal (no longer than 6 to 8 inches). They should be firm with no cuts or nicks. Fresh zucchini will have little hairs on it.
Making the boats is a piece of cake! For this dish, you need 2 medium zucchini. Trim the stem end of your zucchini before cooking. To do this, I use a knife to gently round the end of the zucchini and remove the stem. Afterward, cut each zucchini in half, lengthwise. Hollow out the zucchini with a measuring spoon (teaspoon) or melon baller, creating a boat. Set aside the zucchini flesh until the rest of the ingredients are ready.
What you’ll need:
Although this recipe for Tex Mex Zucchini Boats appears to have many ingredients, all of them are simply vegetables or seasonings plus tofu. Thus the preparation is quick and easy as well as it will only require a very short cooking time. A budget and pantry-friendly dish!
Zucchini – 2 medium zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise. We will be using a 9×13 inch baking pan, so make sure you get ones that will fit.
Tofu – Choose that is extra firm. Any extra water should be drained and pressed out. You can use a tofu press for this. If you have none. place the tofu on a cutting board, and wrap it in a dishtowel or paper towel. Place a heavy object on top, like a skillet, and let it sit and drain for 30-45 minutes.
Corn kernels – Whether frozen, canned, or fresh, provide natural sweetness and crunch to the mixture.
Garlic and Yellow or Red Onion – For sautéing, use 3 garlic cloves and 1/2 medium-sized onion.
Taco seasoning – We are putting 3 tablespoons but use as little or as much as you wish, depending on how spicy or intense your family likes their dishes. However, if you do not have this in your pantry, you can mix paprika, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder.
Salsa – I prefer basic salsa, but if you are feeling want to spice things up, here are some variations that you can try:
Red salsa (Salsa Roja): The sauce is mainly contains cooked or canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and hot peppers.
Fresh salsa (Salsa Fresca or pico de gallo): Tomato salsa using fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeños for that extra heat.
Green salsa (salsa verde or tomatillo salsa) – Tomatillos, a small green tomato type with a tangy flavor, are used in this salsa.
Non-tomato-based salsas – Peach, mango, corn, pineapple, and other fruits and vegetables used to make the sauce.
Cilantro and Lime juice – Gives a tangy, zesty note to the dish. However, cilantro can be omitted if you don’t like it.
How to make Tex-Mex Zucchini Boats
You will adore the simple way to cook this Tex Mex Zucchini Boat dish. Here are the steps:
Preheat your oven to 425 °F.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, add oil and saute garlic, onion for about 1 minute. Then add the diced zucchini and stir for another minute.
Crumble the tofu into the pan with your fingertips. Add the corn, taco seasoning, and salt. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
In a 9×13-inch baking pan, arrange the zucchini halves. Fill the zucchini halves with the tofu mixture, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. You may need to set another 10 minutes after removing the foil.
Lastly, serve with warm salsa and cilantro on top.
Can Zucchini Boats be made ahead of time?
Yes, these can be prepared up to two days ahead of time. Separately, keep the filling in an airtight container, if possible. So, all you have to do is prepare the zucchini boats in a baking dish and scoop the filling, and they are ready to bake.
Storing the zucchini boats in the refrigerator can last 3 to 4 days. Use airtight containers or plastic bags.
On the other hand, freezing the zucchini boats, might not be a good idea. When frozen and reheated, it becomes mushy. However, if you can’t prevent it, cooking these will take a little longer because they’ll be cold. Simply keep an eye on them and test with a fork to see if they’ve softened.
Recipe Tips for Tex-Mex Zucchini Boats
Create score lines. Before scooping the meat, it is a good idea to score them first. It gives a beautiful path that makes scooping out simpler.
Don’t scoop too much. I like to leave a little meat on the zucchini to prevent it from becoming too thin and unable to hold the filling.
Use a melon baller or measuring spoon. To scoop out the inside of the zucchini, use a tiny measuring spoon or melon baller. Initially, the first couple of scoops will require some force, so be cautious not to press too hard or the zucchini will crack. Eventually, you will be able to scoop straight along your score lines and make it easy to create that hollow.
Lay them flat. To make the zucchini flat, cut a tiny slice from the bottom. It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as the filling can be placed comfortably.
Toppings and Add-ons
Others prefer this dish with melted cheese on top. You may use vegan cheese made from chickpea, cashew, potato, or soy.
Black beans – The beans are combined in the filling. You have to be sure to drain and rinse these first to get rid of extra sodium.
Sour cream is another option for a great way to finish your zucchini boats. A lot of vegan sour creams are made from cashews which you can use for this recipe.
What to do with extra zucchinis?
There’s no need to throw away the remaining zucchini. We can make the extra zucchini in five different recipes.
Zucchini and Potato Casserole – This is a must-try summer side dish. It’s loaded with zucchini, potatoes, and bell pepper with the addition of bread crumbs for added crunch on top.
Summer Zucchini and Hominy – Fresh zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and hominy (Mexican dried corn kernel) combination to make a light but satisfying dish.
Vegan Zucchini Bread – It is a simple and delicious bread using zucchini which makes it moister and gives that perfect texture. It is customizable as you can add your favorite nuts or dried fruits.
Banana Zucchini Cookies – It’s an unusual combo, but believe me, it works incredibly well. Banana and zucchini work well together because they add sweetness and moisture to the cookie. No need to add extra sugar or egg in this recipe.
1/2of a 16 ounce package of extra firm tofudrained and pressed
1cupof corn kernelscanned, frozen or fresh
3tablespoonsof taco seasoning
Cilantrofor garnish (optional)
Scoop out the middle innards of the zucchini, dice them up, and set them aside.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add the diced zucchini and let it cook for another minute.
Using your fingers, crumble the tofu into the pan. Add the corn, taco seasoning, and salt; cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the zucchini halves in a 9x13 inch pan. Fill the hollowed zucchini halves with tofu mixture, cover with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
Serve warm with salsa and cilantro (if using) on top.
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My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
'Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways...
we got to start taking better care of ourselves " - Dead Prez