These Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats are light, flavorful, and so easy to make! Each bite is bursting with buttery shrimp, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and parsley. White wine and fresh lemon juice brightens the whole dish. It's a great healthy recipe that's perfect for summer!
Super Easy, Super Yummy
Shrimp Scampi is an Italian classic. It consists of shrimp bathed in butter and flavored with white wine, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. Pretty simple but don't let that fool you - it explodes with flavor! Traditionally, it's served with angel hair pasta or crusty bread to sop up the juices.
My favorite way to enjoy Shrimp Scampi? In zucchini boats! Zucchini is so versatile because of its mild flavor. When roasted, they get soft and tender but still has a nice bite to it. In this version, the hollowed-out zucchini becomes a great vehicle for the shrimp, onion, garlic, and tomatoes. They bake together to form the juiciest, most succulent dish that feels both light and hearty. Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats are a little sweet, a little tart, and a whole lot of deliciousness!
Is This Healthy?
Absolutely! These Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats are loaded with good-for-you vegetables. Zucchini, onion, garlic, and tomatoes provide plenty of freshness. Shrimp is a great lean protein as well. If you want to leave out the white wine, that's totally fine too!
Shrimp Scampi is usually laden with butter - but we go light with it in this recipe. You only need 1 tablespoon - and it'll still be delicious! You can also leave it out and sub with olive or avocado oil to go dairy-free.
This recipe is gluten-free, low-carb, and each zucchini boat is less than 100 calories! Easy substitutions make this dish dairy-free and paleo friendly as well.
All of the fresh ingredients allow this dish to shine!
- Zucchini: Try to find thick, symmetrical zucchini that will be able to hold a lot of stuffing.
- Unsalted butter: Just a touch to add richness that's classic in shrimp scampi. I prefer using unsalted so I have more control over the seasoning but use whichever you prefer!
- Onion and garlic: Shrimp scampi calls for lots and lots of garlic!
- White wine: Totally optional. When cooking with wine, use one that you like to drink - otherwise you won't like the flavor it imparts. But that doesn't mean it has to be expensive! I recommend using an affordable, dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc in this dish.
- Shrimp: Any size will do here since they'll be diced. I recommend buying frozen to save money. The fresh ones are the same anyway - just thawed and more $$!
- Grape or cherry tomatoes: They add juiciness, sweetness, and a pop of color.
- Fresh parsley: Adds an element of freshness and grassiness.
- Fresh lemon juice: A must when cooking with seafood! It really lifts the dish.
How To Make Them
All you need is 45 minutes and you'll have steaming hot Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats on the table.
- Prep and roast the zucchini. Cut the ends off of each zucchini and cut in half length-wise. To get a nice border, first use a spoon to make an outline in the zucchini. Then shovel into the outline, gradually scraping away there's a nice concavity. Save the scrapings for later - no waste here!
- Cook the veggies. Sauté the onion, garlic, and zucchini in butter with a splash of oil. I recommend using high heat to evaporate as much liquid as possible - just be careful because butter can burn easily. Add the white wine and let reduce completely. Let the veggies cool as much as possible.
- Mix everything together. Add the raw shrimp, tomatoes, parsley, and sautéed veggies into a bowl. Quickly stir to combine - don't let it sit too long or else the hot veggies will start cooking the shrimp.
- Bake. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini and bake again until shrimp is completely opaque, about 10-15 minutes.
- Use a butter wrapper to grease the pan. Whenever you finish a stick of butter, save the wrapper! It makes greasing a casserole, loaf, or baking pan superrrr easy.
- If sautéing with butter over high heat, add a splash of oil too. Butter has a low smoking point and can burn easily due to the milk solids. If cooking over high heat, adding a little oil to the butter will raise the smoking point.
- A warm lemon is juicier than a cold one. Warm citrus will yield more juice. I keep my lemons in the fridge so when I need to juice one, I zap it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until warm to the touch.
If you have leftover Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats, make sure they've cooled completely before storing them away. Place leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Cooked zucchini can get more watery over time - just drain any excess liquid. To reheat, microwave until warm.
I haven't tried freezing them but if you want to, I would recommend wrapping each boat tightly in foil. Place into a zipper-top bag and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, let thaw overnight. Then roast in a 250°F preheated oven for 15 -20 minutes or until warm.
Make It In Advance
Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats are best served fresh! Due to the high vegetable content, it can get watery over time. It will also lose some its great texture if it's cooled and then been reheated.
If you want to save time, I would recommend prepping everything first, such as the onion, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini boats, and shrimp. You can also cook the onion and zucchini mixture ahead of time (up until step 5 in the recipe card). Let it cool in the pan. Combine the shrimp, tomatoes, and parsley in a bowl but don't add the onion/zucchini mixture. When you're ready to serve, mix it all together and assemble the boats. Cook as directed.
Absolutely! The skin will help maintain the zucchini's texture and structure, which is needed when making zucchini boats. It's also full of fiber and nutrients. Just make sure to give each zucchini a good rinse and scrub before cooking.
You can use any kind of shrimp you'd like! Any size works too. I prefer frozen because its more affordable. For convenience, you can also get the pre-peeled and deveined ones.
Look for one that doesn't have any nicks or blemishes and has a nice, firm texture. The skin should be bright green. For zucchini boats, you want ones that are symmetrical and medium in size (so it can fit a baking dish).
Looking For More?
I love eating and creating healthy dishes that are still bursting with flavor. Some staples in my house are:
- Instant Pot Pot Roast
- Healthier Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies
- One-Pot Sausage and Couscous
- Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill (Cha Ca La Vong)
- Sausage and Kale Pasta
Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats
- 3 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- ¼ onion diced; about ⅓ cup
- 4-5 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc
- 6-8 oz shrimp peeled, de-veined, tails removed, and quartered
- ⅔ cup grape or cherry tomatoes diced
- 2 tightly packed tbsp fresh parsley minced
- Fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray oil or use an old butter wrapper to grease a large baking dish that will fit the zucchini halves.
- Cut the ends off the zucchini & cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon or melon baller to hollow out the inside, leaving a ¼" border. Chop and save the remaining zucchini scraps for later.
- Brush about half the melted butter onto the cut-side of the zucchini. Season the top with salt and pepper, then place into the baking dish cut-side up. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining butter with a splash of oil to a skillet. Sauté the onion and leftover zucchini over high heat until softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, toasting for additional 30 seconds. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Pour in white wine, if using. Let reduce completely. Drain excess liquid and let cool.
- To a large bowl, add shrimp, tomatoes, parsley, and cooked onion/zucchini mixture. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss to combine.
- When ready, remove zucchini from the oven and carefully spoon shrimp mixture on top of each boat. Place back into the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes or until shrimp is cooked and zucchini is tender.
- Finish with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Storing Leftovers: Let them cool completely, then store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Drain excess liquid.
- To Freeze Leftovers: I haven't tried freezing these but I would recommend wrapping individual boats tightly in foil. Store in a zipper-top bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight before reheating.
- To Reheat: Microwave until warm. You can also bake at 250°F for 10-15 minutes or until warm.
- To make this dairy-free, substitute with coconut or avocado oil.
- To make this paleo, omit the white wine. Also, replace butter with avocado oil.
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