Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

DinnerMake-aheadItalian SausageStuffed ZucchiniZucchini

Have a few extra-large zucchinis? Stuff them with Italian sausage, onions, garlic, tomato, and fresh breadcrumbs, and bake!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Fellow gardeners, you know this tale well. You step away from your garden bed for one minute (or a weekend) and come back to find a monster zucchini hiding in the greenery.

Sometimes the plant warns you. Regular zucchini production starts slowing down, odd for early summer. The reason? All of the plant’s attention is going to feeding that one humongous, baseball bat of a zuke.

Fortunately, those ginormous zucchini are perfect for stuffing!

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

How To Make Stuffed Zucchini

Making stuffed zucchini is easy. You just cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, and scoop out the insides, leaving a shell to stuff with whatever your heart desires.

This week my heart desired Italian sausage, so my friends, this is what we are using to stuff this particular zucchini.

We brown some Italian sausage, onions, garlic, and some of the zucchini insides, and mix it with fresh breadcrumbs, basil, tomatoes, oregano, and Parmesan cheese. One egg is all you need to bind the stuffing together.

Into the oven go these stuffed zucchini boats to bake for 40 minutes. Yum!

Make-Ahead Stuffed Zucchini

Need to make ahead? You can easily stuff the zucchini a day ahead of time. Just stuff the zucchini, keep it chilled, then bake right before serving.

This is a meal in and of itself—no need to serve it with anything else.

By the way, zucchini tends to become watery and mushy when frozen, so we don’t recommend freezing this recipe.

Check Out More Ways to Stuff a Zucchini

Updated August 11, 2019 : We spiffed up this post with some additional tips to make sure its foolproof. No changes to the original recipe. Enjoy!

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4

You can stuff the zucchini a day ahead of time and bake right before serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 large zucchini, 12 to 14 inches long (about 1 1/4 to 2 pounds) or 3 to 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 slices bread, pulsed in food processor or blender to make fresh breadcrumbs (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (less or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method

1 Preheat oven to 375°F.

2 Cook the sausage: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the sausage, and gently cook until it is mostly (but not completely) cooked through.

Stir frequently and break up the sausage into smaller pieces while it cooks. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.

3 Prep the zucchini: Cut the zucchini in half. Use a metal spoon to scoop out the insides of the zucchini, leaving the zucchini shell about 1/4-inch thick. Remove and discard any thick seeds from the insides you've scooped out.

Chop up about a cup of the remaining zucchini flesh. (Whatever remains beyond a cup use for another purpose, discard, or compost.)

4 Cook the onions and garlic: You should have 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan (rendered from the sausage). If not, add more olive oil so that you have at least a tablespoon of fat in the pan, and heat on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.

Add the chopped zucchini and cook a minute or two more, remove from the skillet and add it to the bowl of sausage.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Recipe cook the onions and garlic

5 Make the stuffing: Add the rest of the stuffing ingredients to the sausage and onions.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini make the stuffing

6 Stuff the zucchini and bake: Place the zucchini halves in a baking dish and add the stuffing. (At this point you can make ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.) Add 1/4-inch of water to the bottom of the pan, which will help zucchini cook evenly and prevent the bottom of it from drying out too much in the oven.

Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes. Let sit to cool briefly before serving.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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13 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Traci

    This is my second go-round with this recipe the first one is a really large zucchini this time of used 4 small and I use chopped mushrooms instead of tomato is I have a picky eater and I use panko instead of the fresh bread crumbs and let me tell you this recipe is to die for my picky eater and I just love it thank you my picky eater asked me to make this one and make sure he knows how to make it you’re awesome

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Rebecca

    LOVED this recipe.
    I am dairy free so I subbed the parmesan for nutritional yeast. Also pre-baked my zucchini after hollowing out for about 20 minutes which made it perfectly tender once everything was done!
    I highly recommend and will definitely be making again!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Denise

    This recipe was delicious!! Will definitely make it again. The only thing I would suggest is to blanch the zucchini before stuffing it. The zucchini was a bit too firm for me.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Kate

    This is really delicious! I’m gluten free so I substitued minced white mushrooms for the bread crumbs and sauted the mushrooms with the onions and garlic. My family loved it! it s the perfect use for the jumbo zucchini that often happens over night! Absolutely Yummy!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Suzy

    We really enjoyed this! Some might not appreciate my tweaks, but trust me that you can veganize this recipe and it’s wonderful! Cutting the recipe in half, I used 2 smallish zucchini. I stuffed with 2 links of Field Roast Italian “sausage,” a flax egg and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. All the other fresh veggies and herbs really made the dish pop! Thanks for the recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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