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Spicy Vegan Zucchini Boats

Need a healthy party appetizer or simple summer evening dinner? Spicy Vegan Zucchini Boats to the rescue! These cute little plant-based delights are so easy to put together and turn out perfectly. Blending herbs and spices with fresh summer vegetables makes a wonderful vegan dish. Scoop out the zucchini (and use for muffins or other recipes!), then assemble the filling, stuff zucchinis and bake. These also make fantastic leftovers and transport well for lunch, parties or picnics.

Spicy #vegan zucchini boats; a simple, delicious dinner this summer Click To Tweet

Spicy Vegan Zucchini Boats

Did you know that protein combining is totally OUT? There was information circulating in the 1970s based one one book about how, since meat has all of the 8 essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, lysine) and some plant foods have one limiting amino acid, that if you don’t eat meat, you should be combining foods to get “complete proteins”. For example, rice is missing (or very limited in) lysine and beans are missing methionine so the incorrect belief was that you must eat them together to create a complete protein. This is totally incorrect and has been debunked BUT questions and confusion still abound. The truth is, the body is smart and primed for survival. If you eat a combination of foods throughout each day, you’ll have all the building blocks you need to get access to amino acids. Vegetarians and vegans can easily meet their protein needs through foods like spicy vegan zucchini boats! Think tofu, tempeh, edamame, quinoa, lentils, nuts, and beyond. So many delicious options for those who do not eat meat. If you have more questions about protein for veggies, there are some excellent, trustworthy resources out there such as the Vegetarian Resource Group and the Vegetarian Nutrition dietetic practice group.

What are your thoughts on protein for vegans and veggies? Let me know in the comments!

Vegan Zucchini Boats

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Servings: 4
Author: Ginger Hultin


  • 4 large zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon Tablespoon + 1olive oil (divided)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 jalapeno (diced)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 15 oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (finely chopped, divided)


  • Greasing a glass 9 x 13” casserole dish and set aside. Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise and hollow out the center using a melon baller or metal teaspoon. Lightly brush the tops with one teaspoon of olive oil then place them skin side down in the prepared casserole dish. Warm one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat then the garlic and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and stir to combine flavors for 1 minute. Add the beans, rice, and salsa and beans along with the salsa. Stir everything together and continue to cook for about 5 minutes then remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and then stir in 1/4 cup of the cilantro to the filling. Spoon the filling inside of each zucchini until they are all full then cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes then remove the foil and set the oven to broil. Cook them for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  • Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes then top with fresh cilantro and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

An award-winning, nationally recognized nutrition expert and media spokesperson.

Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll find cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.

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