Skinnytaste > Main Ingredient > Zucchini Recipes > Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats

Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats are one of my favorites! Hollowed out zucchini boats stuffed with a cumin spiced ground turkey and black bean mixture with summer corn and tomato, baked in the oven with melted cheese – YUM!

Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats
Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats

This recipe was inspired by my Sante Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers which worked wonderful as a filling for these zucchini boats! If you’re like me and have so much zucchini you don’t know what to do with it, check out 35 Skinnytaste Zucchini recipes which includes a few other stuffed zucchini boat varieties.

This idea is perfect for low-carb and gluten-free diets – and yes, yellow squash would also work well.

Do you eat the skin on zucchini boats?

I often get asked this question and the answer is yes. Unlike other squashes, the skin of the zucchini is very thin and tender and even more so once cooked. Not only that but it’s super high in antioxidants that are great benefits for your eyes, skin and heart.

Can I freeze zucchini boats?

Yes, you can make this ahead and bake it when you’re ready to eat. It can also be prepared a day ahead or freeze whatever you don’t plan on eating to bake another day. Leftovers also make a great lunch, my teenager loved these – enjoy!

Another Quick Tip:

You can make this with ground beef or ground chicken or use more veggies to make this vegetarian. You can also swap the cheese for vegan cheese to turn into a vegan dish.  And finally, I like to blanch the zucchini first so that it bakes quicker, but if that seems like too much work, just bake it an additional 10 minutes and it should be fine.

More Zucchini Boat Recipes You will Love:

Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats

4.80 from 10 votes
Hollowed out zucchini boats stuffed with a cumin spiced ground turkey and black bean mixture with summer corn and tomato, all baked in the oven with melted cheese – YUM!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats
Total: 1 hr 20 mins
Yield: 5 servings
Serving Size: 2 halves


For the filling:

  • 12 oz 93% lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 hot pickled serrano pepper, chopped (or jalepeño) more to taste
  • 1 large diced tomato
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  •  kosher salt to taste

For the zucchini:

  • 5 medium zucchini, 7 oz each, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup jarred mild salsa
  • 15 tbsp shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Using a small spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell on each half. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside 3/4 of a cup to add to the turkey filling, (squeeze excess water with a paper towel) discarding the rest or save to use in another recipe.
  • Drop zucchini halves in boiling water and cook 1 minute. Remove from water.
  • In a large skillet brown the turkey and season with salt. When the turkey is browned, add onion, garlic, black beans, cilantro, serrano pepper, diced tomatoes, reserved zucchini and cumin. Mix well and simmer on low, covered for 20 minutes.
  • Remove lid, add corn and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until all the liquid reduces.
  • Place the salsa in the bottom of a large baking dish (or two medium size dishes) and place the hollowed out zucchini cut side up in the dish.
  • Using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats dividing the filling equally, about 1/3 cup in each, pressing firmly. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

Last Step:

Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.



Serving: 2 halves, Calories: 273 kcal, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Protein: 23 g, Fat: 9 g, Cholesterol: 49 mg, Sodium: 437 mg, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 5 g



Rate and review this recipe!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this Recipe:

74 comments on “Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats”

  1. Avatar photo
    Shari Alexander

    I made this for dinner tonight but used ground chicken breast instead of turkey. It is so good & so filling! Even my husband liked it! I will definitely be making this again!

  2. My family loved these zucchini boats! Very tasty and turkey is a delicious substitute for beef . My husband said,” dont lose that recipe “!

  3. This recipe is great! I have never been a fan of zucchini boats and being from a non-veggie family there is no way I would even try. I really liked the sound of the recipe so I cubed the zucchini and roasted it on the grill. When the zucchini was roasted I poured the rest of the (cooked as directed) ingredients over top and let it grill for about 15 mins. Oh yum! Even my “what’s that green stuff” son asked for seconds. This is a keeper!

  4. This was good!  A bit labor intensive, but very tasty.  Instead of a diced tomato, I used a can of diced tomatoes with chiles for some heat.  Otherwise, I followed the directions to the T.  

  5. So good. I actually tripled the recipe and then added a can of diced tomatoes.  Healthy can be good! Thank you!

  6. I love this recipe for entertaining.
    * I can make it ahead and therefore spend time with my guests.
    * It is healthy
    * it is NOT a casserole
    * It is NOT chicken (I don’t have anything against chicken, just eat A LOT of it…and this provides nice variety)

    It is my new “go to”!!

  7. This recipe has on my list to make for awhile now. I finally made it 2 nights ago. It took me about 2.5 hours to complete….therefore I put it in the fridge to consume the following day. Just thought I’d mention that because I didn’t realize how labor intensive it would be. I will probably not make it again just because of that.

    1. Hi Meg, you MUST use recipe builder when getting points. The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting 0 points foods such as eggs, chicken, fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, that is why.

      The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”)

  8. I tried this recipe for dinner this evening, my son told me this was a keeper!   I’ll have to wait until later to see how the others like it.  I made one small change, while my kids love zucchini, they don’t prefer a whole/half, they prefer diced or spiral.  I just diced the zucchini, simmered it with a little water in a covered skillet until tender.  I then layered the zucchini in the skillet added the salsa then meat mixture, topped with cheese and baked for 20 minutes.  Love the recipes!

  9. Made recipe to the T as always.. delish!! Love zucchini! Freezes well too.  Happy there are ratings on your site now so I can give you all the credit deserved for my most loved recipes of yours for the past many years. Thanks, Gina!

  10. Avatar photo
    Andrea Hernandez

    I made this last night. It was a real hit whith the kids. Great way to get the kids to eat veggies. My four year old loved it. The flavors were an amazing combination. Thanks for the recipe, it’s a keeper. 

  11. Why are we putting salsa on the bottom of the baking dish? I can’t figure out what purpose it serves.

  12. Avatar photo
    Melissa Bollinger

    I made these last night and they were so yummy! Perfect for a light summer dinner on the deck and very filling for 5sp!  My son and husband loved them too. I did use 96/4 ground beef instead of ground turkey, which worked fine.  Great alternative to the more traditional Italian inspired zucchini recipes.   

  13. What a Great meal. I fixed this last night an my wife wanted seconds.
    I did not add any salt to the recipe, but used Trader Joes 21 seasoning salute, and canned diced tomatoes ” no salt added”, and low sodium salsa.
    Absolutely the Best zucchini recipe I have ever found!
    Thank You

  14. Made that tonight for dinner they came out amazing!! Loved it will definitely make it again they were so filling to!

  15. I have everything to make this but am having second thoughts. I am concerned the zucchini I bought are too skinny. Its all they had. I did buy an extra one assuming I'd have filling left over.

    Any thoughts?

  16. Love this recipe!!! I made it last night for the first time and all three of my kids and my husband were begging for seconds. I will definitely make this again. I see it becoming a regular in our house 🙂