Crab-Stuffed Zucchini & Summer Squash Boats on the Grill
These quick and easy crab-stuffed zucchini and summer squash boats on the grill are the perfect light summer meal! Serve with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of chopped parsley and grated cheese for a simple and light lunch or dinner!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: November 1, 2022
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Hey, zucchini and summer squash season is here!
It’s time we turn to celebrate this fleeting season with as many ways to enjoy these prolific garden fruits (Yes, they are technically fruits.) in as many ways as we possibly can before they’re gone. After all, summer is relatively short, in this neck of the woods, you know.
Packing A Serious Punch of Nutritional Value
When you think of summer and fruit, the first foods that probably come to mind are berries and watermelon. But zucchini and summer squash, often considered to be vegetables, are actually fruits that pack a serious punch of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that offer many health and nutrition benefits.
Packed full of nutrients, high in antioxidants, and other health-boosting components, and low in calories; tasty zucchini and summer squash are inexpensive, delicious foods to include in your diet. They also support everything from healthy digestion, reducing inflammation, and being great for your heart, vision, and bone health, to maintaining a healthy prostate and more!
Ideas for Using Zucchini and Summer Squash
There are heaps upon heaps of way to use these incredibly versatile fruits:
You can shred, sprinkle and spiral them into salads and onto sandwiches, slice them into strips to eat with dips or hummus, stir-fry, grill or pan-fry them, and even cut them into cubes to add them to your breakfast smoothie.
Because they have a very high water content – 95-percent water, and a low-calorie density, adding them to your plate can give a boost to the volume of your meals without sending your calorie intake off the Richter scale. One small-size squash contains only about 20 calories!
Promoting Good Gut Health
Because they are high in water content, eating them promotes healthy digestion. And, zucchini and summer squash contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Without getting too technical or getting gross, this is important because the insoluble fiber, which adds bulk, can soften your stools, helping foods to pass through your gut more efficiently, thus reducing the risk of constipation.
Meanwhile, soluble fiber works to feed the beneficial bacteria living in your gut. It nourishes your gut cells and turns these friendly bacteria into short-chain fatty acids that, in turn, ferment fiber in your colon, ultimately playing an essential role in your colon health.
The long and short of all this is that zucchini and summer squash are the super perfect food for people with tummy troubles!
The Perfect Low-Carb Substitute for Pasta
Zucchini and summer squash are also the perfect low-carb substitute for pasta, whether you’re making zoodles, lasagna, or using them as a shell to stuff. That’s because 200 grams (or one medium-size, 10-12 ounce squash) contains only about eighteen grams of carbs, while four ounces of pasta yields over 80 grams.
New to my collection of creative squash recipes this year is zucchini and summer squash boats. They’re such a simple, fresh, and delicious mealtime option for enjoying these peak-season fruits when you’re trying not to let any go to waste. And using them as boats is the perfect substitute in place of filling a pasta shell.
Crab-Stuffed Zucchini & Summer Squash Boat Ingredients
(And yes, they are all gluten-free!)
Eating meals that are as light as possible is one of our requirements of summer eating, and this stuffed zucchini recipe is perfect for serving as a light meal. It requires only a handful of ingredients, and it is ready to eat in about 30 minutes! Here’s all you’ll need:
- Zucchini or summer squash, of course! Either squash works perfectly well as the boat to hold the filling.
- Sweet peppers, you’ll need one cup total. You could use one-half cup, either yellow or red bell pepper, mixed with green bell pepper for the other half cup.
- For the onion, green onion or red onion works well; it’s delicious whichever you choose.
- Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend® seasoning adds an abundance of taste.
- My favorite breadcrumbs are Aleias Original Real Panko Gluten Free Crumbs® – they’re the very best I’ve found! I’m looking into how we might work together, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can order them online direct through Aleias and a few other popular online stores I’ve found.
- Romano cheese adds melty, cheesy, savory flavor.
- Morey’s® imitation crabmeat is an over the top delicious brand of imitation crabmeat. If you can find it, you’ll LOVE It! TransOcean® brand is our second runner up.
- The only “Real” (gluten-free) Mayonnaise is Hellman’s® or Best Foods® if you live west of the Rockies.
- Completely optional is flat-leaf parsley (chopped for garnish), and lemon wedges, if desired for serving.
That’s it! It’s time to get cooking.
Although zucchini and summer squash boats might appear on the surface to be mega time-consuming, making them is super simple, taking plus-or-minus about 30 minutes and a few easy steps. Here is all you will need to do:
Picture the recipe step-by-step...
- Prep the squash! Wash the unpeeled squash with cold water, pat them dry with a towel, remove any bad spots, and cut each zucchini or summer squash in half lengthwise, trimming the ends if desired, then hollow out using a large metal spoon, and discard the seeds and pulp, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 -inch thick shells. Place the boats cut side up on a shallow pan or baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down for two minutes, turn 45-degrees, and continue grilling for an additional two minutes or until the edges of the squash start to brown. Remove from the grill to fill. NOTE: DO NOT TURN OFF THE GRILL! (You’ll need it again in a few minutes for the final step.)
- Make the filling. To save some time here, you can pre-prep by chopping the bell pepper and onion earlier in the week and storing them in snack bags in the refrigerator. If you haven’t done this ahead of time, chop up the peppers and onion and add them to a medium-size bowl. Then, add the seasoning blend, breadcrumbs, cheese, crab, and mayonnaise, and stir until mixed.
- Assemble the boats. Spoon the filling into the pre-grilled zucchini and summer squash boat halves and place the filled halves back on the grill. Cook them for 6-8 minutes or until the stuffing begins to look slightly melty and golden on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving with lemon wedges if desired and enjoy!
We made this crab-stuffed zucchini and summer squash recipe (inspired by the salmon-stuffed zucchini from the Better Homes & Gardens website) several times already during this season. The big difference in preparing it is that we made ours using an outdoor grill, but you could easily also use an indoor grill or grill pan to achieve similar results to ours.
Following these tips will give you the best possible results every time.
- Size matters. This recipe works the absolute best with medium-size zucchini and summer squash (10-12 oz.). We found that while smaller squash equals less of the yummy filling and larger-sized squash equals more room for the delicious mixture, by using medium-size squash, the weight of the loaded boats is overall the easiest to cook, maneuver, and transfer to and from the grill.
- If your zucchini or summer squash is smaller (6-8 oz.) or larger (Over 12 oz.), you can still make this dish. Follow the instructions to prepare as directed, stuffing each half. Depending on the size of the squash that you use, you may need to adjust your grilling and cooking times slightly.
- Don’t scoop too much. Make sure that you leave a sturdy 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer of outer squash flesh to support the filling. If you scoop out too much, the boats will be flimsy and hard to transfer to and from the grill.
- Use good-quality breadcrumbs. If you cannot find ready-to-go good-quality gluten-free breadcrumbs, make your own. Breadcrumbs are easy to make yourself. Cut gluten-free bread into cubes. Season them with a few dried herbs and spices to your liking. I usually use salt and pepper, onion powder, and some dried parsley. Toss to mix, then toast them until golden brown before placing them into a food processor or blender jar to pulse to your desired crumb size before using.
How much to make:
We like these crab-stuffed zucchini boats served as a main dish; they also make a great side dish to serve with hamburgers, a juicy steak, or with ribs. If you make this recipe with three medium-size zucchini or summer squash, it will serve four to six people as a main course or up to eight people as a side dish. If you want to make less or need to make more, you can always adjust the servings in the recipe. Learn how to do it by clicking on the link that says “CLICK HERE” in the upper right corner of the recipe card below.
Are you looking for more zucchini and summer squash recipes?
Around here, we’re getting creative again this year as we explore the many ways to eat and use zucchini and summer squash in meals and treats from sunup to sundown. Here are a few of our favorites that we are sure you’ll want to try:
When you try this recipe I would love to hear your thoughts. You can add your comment by clicking on the blue-green comment bubble on the bottom right of your screen to jump to the comment area below.
Happy zucchini season. Enjoy!
Crab-Stuffed Zucchini & Summer Squash Boats
- Grill (indoor or outdoor) or grill pan
- Shallow Pan or Baking Sheet
- Cutting Board
- Medium-size Bowl
- Utensils (Cook’s Knife, Grill Tongs, Measuring Cups and Spoons, Large Spoon)
For the Squash
For the Filling
- ½ cup green Bell Pepper chopped
- ½ cup yellow Bell Pepper chopped
- ⅓ cup green Onion finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoon Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning Blend
- ½ cup gluten-free Panko-style Breadcrumbs
- ½ cup Romano Cheese shredded
- 8 ounces gluten-free Imitation Crab
- 1 cup gluten-free Mayonnaise
- sprig Flat-leaf Parsley chopped for garnish
- Lemon wedges if desired for serving
- Preheat your grill, or indoor grill or grill pan to 350°F
For the Squash
- Wash unpeeled squash with cold water, pat dry with a towel, remove any bad spots, and cut each zucchini or summer squash in half lengthwise, trimming the ends if desired. Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard the seeds and pulp, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 -inch thick shells. Place the hollowed-out shells cut side up on a shallow pan or baking sheet, drizzle the inside of each shell with garlic grapeseed oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down for two minutes, turn 45-degrees, and continue grilling for an additional two minutes or until the edges of the squash start to brown. Remove from the grill to fill. DO NOT TURN OFF THE GRILL! (You’ll need it again in a few minutes for the final step.)
For the Filling
- Combine the bell peppers, onion, seasoning blend, breadcrumbs, and cheese in a medium-size bowl and stir to combine. Add the crab, and mayonnaise, stir until mixed.
To Assemble & Grill (The Final Step)
- Spoon the crab mixture into the pre-grilled zucchini and summer squash halves. Place the filled halves back on the grill. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the filling and cheese begins to look slightly melted and golden on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving with lemon wedges if desired.
(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)
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