These loaded Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats are bursting with fresh flavor and are so easy to make! Juicy plump shrimp, vibrant tomatoes, minced garlic, and fresh parsley are bathed in a delicious white wine and butter sauce. It tastes decadent, while also being light and healthy. It truly is the perfect summer meal!
🍤 The Best Garlicky Shrimp
Shrimp Scampi is an Italian classic made with shrimp, garlic, white wine, butter, and lemon juice. It sounds simple but don't let that fool you! Scampi is super delicious, nostalgic, and classic - it's everyone's favorite! For more Italian favorites, check out Pork Ragù, Leeks and Bacon Carbonara, or Tortellini and Sausage Bake.
The best part about Shrimp Scampi is its versatility. Serve it over angel hair pasta, with a crusty piece of bread, or on its own as an appetizer. Orrr how about stuffed into roasted zucchini boats? Yes, please.
What Are Zucchini Boats?
They're a truly delicious and healthy way to enjoy summer squash. The zucchini is sliced in half and hollowed out to make a vessel or "boat". Stuff it whatever your heart desires and bake until they're tender, juicy, and super tasty.
In this recipe, we combine the best of both world: garlicky Shrimp Scampi and Zucchini Boats. It's a veggie-forward dish with a rich wine and butter sauce, roasted tomatoes, fresh parsley, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. It's the epitome of summer in one bite but it's so delicious you'll want it year-round!
Why You'll Love It
- Healthy: This light, low-carb meal is loaded with squash, tomatoes, and lean protein. It's also gluten-free with less than 100 calories per boat.
- Easy: With only 9 ingredients and 45 minutes needed, this shrimp and zucchini recipe is great for a quick weeknight meal.
- Fun twist on a classic: If you love Shrimp Scampi, this is a fun new way to enjoy it! It takes familiar ingredients into an interesting vessel for a new family favorite.
- Zucchini: Look for medium-sized, thick, and fairly symmetrical zucchini so it can hold the filling.
- Butter: Just a touch to add richness. I prefer using unsalted butter so I have more control over the seasoning.
- Onion and garlic: Classic aromatics. I like these extra garlicky!
- White wine: 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.
- Shrimp: Any size will do here since they'll be diced. If not already, make sure to peel, devein, and remove the tails first.
- Tomatoes: Adds color, brightness, and juiciness. I like the tomatoes because they're easier to prep. But any size or variation would work here.
- Parsley: Grassy, fresh, and vibrant.
- Lemon juice: A generous amount to brighten the whole dish.
Substitutions & Variations
- To make this dairy free, replace the butter with olive oil.
- You can leave out the white wine, if preferred. Just add a little more lemon juice at the end.
- Instead of initially roasting the zucchini, you can grill them. Brush with butter, season with salt and pepper, and grill over direct heat cut-side down for 3-5 minutes.
- Like a little spice with these? Sprinkle red pepper flakes in when sautéing the onion and squash. You can also top these with pickled red peppers.
🔪 How To Make Shrimp Stuffed Zucchini Boats
⬇️ Please scroll down to the recipe card to see full ingredient
amounts and instructions.
STEP ONE: First, prepare the zucchini boats. Trim the ends off the squash and cut in half lengthwise. To get a nice border, first use a spoon or knife to make an outline in the zucchini. Then shovel into the outline, gradually scraping away there's a nice concavity. Save the flesh for the next step. Brush the squash with melted butter, season, and roast in a 400°F oven for about 10 minutes.
STEP TWO: To a large skillet, add the remaining melted butter and a splash of oil to increase the smoking point. Cook the onion and zucchini for a few minutes until tender.
STEP THREE: Add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
STEP FOUR: Pour in the white wine and increase the heat to high. Constantly stir and let the vegetables absorb the wine. It should take about 5 minutes. Then drain any excess liquid and cool as much as possible.
STEP FIVE: To a bowl, add diced shrimp, tomatoes, parsley, cooked vegetable mixture, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
STEP SIX: Spoon the shrimp filling into each boat. Roast again until shrimp is completely opaque, about 10-15 minutes. Then squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the top and enjoy!
What To Serve with Shrimp Zucchini Boats
- Serve these alongside healthy and refreshing salads for a light meal. I love them with Watermelon Beet Salad, Pea, Burrata, and Prosciutto Pasta Salad, and Citrus Salad.
- Add flavorful carbohydrates on the side like Lemon Basil Rice, Parmesan Potato Wedges, or Brown Butter Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
- Serving zucchini boats with shrimp at a dinner party? Lemon Dill Hummus and Seafood Salad are great for parties and events!
💭 Top Tips
- Score the zucchini before hollowing it. This ensures you'll leave a thick enough border for the stuffing. Use a small spoon or paring knife to make an outline in the squash before scooping out the flesh. Don't remove too much or else it'll break when stuffed.
- If the zucchini keeps falling over, slice a small sliver off the bottom to make it flat and sturdy.
- 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.
- Drain the sautéed veggies. Squash releases a lot of liquid when cooked, plus we're adding in white wine. So leave behind any excess liquid before stuffing. You can also wrap the cooked veggies in cheesecloth or paper towels and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Don't pre-cook the shrimp. Shrimp is a very lean and quick-cooking protein. When overcooked, it'll be tough and rubbery. Just roasting it once in the boats will result in super tender, juicy, and bouncy shrimp.
- A warm lemon is juicier than a cold one. Before juicing, I'll zap any citrus in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until warm to the touch.
🥡 Storing and Freezing
Storing: Let any leftover Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Boats cool completely. Then place into an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezing: I do not recommend freezing stuffed zucchini. When thawed, they will release too much water and alter the taste and texture.
Reheating: Reheat zucchini shrimp boats in the microwave in 30 second intervals until hot. Alternatively, you can bake them at 300°F for about 10 minutes.
Make Ahead: These shrimp stuffed zucchini are best served fresh. Due to the high vegetable content, it can get watery over time.
But to make them ahead of time, I recommend storing each of the components separate and assemble the boats day-of.
- Prepare the zucchini boats, unstuffed. If uncooked, store in the fridge for maximum 1 day. If roasted, they'll last 3 days in the fridge.
- Thaw and chop the shrimp one day in advance.
- Chop and mince the onion, zucchini flesh, garlic, tomatoes, and parsley. Store separately in the fridge for maximum 3 days. You can also sauté the onion, squash, and garlic 2 days in advance, drain as much liquid, and store in the fridge.
📖 Recipe FAQs
Absolutely! The skin will help maintain the squash's texture and structure, which is needed when making zucchini boats. It's also full of fiber and nutrients. Just make sure to give them a good rinse and scrub before cooking.
You can use any kind or size of shrimp you'd like. You'll just have to prepare the shrimp so it's peeled, deveined, and without tails before cooking. I prefer frozen because it's more affordable. To thaw frozen shrimp, leave in the fridge overnight or let sit in a bowl of cold water.
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).
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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 raw shrimp peeled, de-veined, tails removed, and quartered
- ⅔ cup grape or cherry tomatoes quartered
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley minced
- Cooking oil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. With a small spoon or paring knife, make an outline around the zucchini, leaving a ¼" thick border. Then use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out the flesh to make a zucchini boat. Chop the scooped-out zucchini flesh and set aside.
- Brush about half of the melted butter onto the surface of the zucchini boats. Season with salt and pepper, then place into a large baking dish cut-side up. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining butter with a splash of oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, sauté the onion and chopped zucchini flesh until softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, cooking for 30 seconds until fragrant. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Pour in white wine, if using. Turn heat to high and let reduce completely, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Drain excess liquid and let cool.
- To a large bowl, add shrimp, tomatoes, parsley, and cooked vegetable mixture. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir 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.
- To make this dairy-free, replace the butter with olive oil.
- You can leave out the white wine, if preferred. Just add a little more lemon juice at the end.
- Instead of initially roasting the zucchini, you can grill them. Brush with butter, season with salt and pepper, and grill over direct heat cut-side down for 5 minutes.
- If your zucchini keeps falling over, slice a small sliver off the bottom to make it flat and sturdy.
- Store leftovers in air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
👩🏻🍳 Products I Used
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