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Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini Boats, Vegan zucchini boats, vegan dinner, zucchini, zucchini boats, Middle Eastern, Middle Eastern dinner, plant based dinner, plant based, vegan, vegetarian, whole food plant based, gluten free, recipe, wfpb, healthy, healthy vegan, oil free, no refined sugar, no oil, refined sugar free, dairy free, dairy, dinner, lunch, healthy recipe, vegan meal

Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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  • Author: Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


Full of flavor, stuffed with lentils and brown rice, these delicious Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini Boats are a new take on a Classic Lebanese stuffed “koosa” (zucchini).  The inexpensive and humble zucchini is brimming with deliciously earthy-spiced rice and lentils, then topped with a refreshing veggie salad and a zingy garlic yogurt dressing that is sure to knock your socks off.  A fabulous Whole Food Plant Based recipe, vegan, oil free, sugar free, gluten free, no processed ingredients.



Zucchini Boat Ingredients:

Salad Topper Ingredients:

  • 12 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 mini English cucumbers, sliced into coins
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • Sea salt (+/- to taste) *
  • Pepper (+/- to taste) *
  • 3 Tablespoon lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint (+/- to taste) *

Yogurt-Tahini Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened plain plant yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 2 small garlic cloves (or 1 large)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (+/- to taste) *


Zucchini Boat Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  3. Cut off a tiny bit off both ends of the zucchini, then slice them in half lengthwise. Then take each zucchini half and dig a canal, remove the seeds to create a “canoe-type boat”.  Make sure you do not remove too much of the zucchini as you want a nice canoe.
  4. When all 5 zucchinis have been prepared, you should have 10 zucchini boats. Place them on the parchment paper, cut side up, sprinkle each boat with sea salt and black pepper, then turn them up-side-down (cut-side down) onto the parchment paper.  Place in a preheated 350 F oven and bake for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and set them aside until the stuffing is ready.

Zucchini Boat Stuffing Instructions

  1. In a large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven/pot or similarly large stockpot, add the diced onion. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes to soften them.  Do not add a splash of water, you want them to turn golden brown. Keep them moving around the pan to avoid burning.
  2. Once the onions are softened and golden, then turn down the heat and add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Next add the 3 cups of water and 1 cup of vegetable broth; then add the tomato paste and increase the heat to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Stir to incorporate the tomato paste into the broth/water mixture.
  4. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, coriander, sea salt, pepper, minced dried onion, and red pepper flake and stir to incorporate the seasonings.
  5. Add the lentils and cook uncovered for 15 minutes on medium heat. See recipe notes – cooking times vary by lentils used.
  6. After 15 minutes, then add the rice, stir once to incorporate, and simmer covered for another 20-25 minutes. See recipe notes on rice cooking times.
  7. After the additional 20 to 25 minutes has expired, check the rice and lentils to ensure they are both tender. Avoid stirring the mixture, you do not want the rice to release starches and become mushy. Stirring rice too often during the cooking phase causes the rice to become mushy.  Once the lentils and rice are tender, and when all or most of the liquid has been be absorbed, it is done. You are now ready to stuff the zucchinis.

Zucchini Boat Assembly Instructions

  1. Place a tiny amount of water onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  You are just wetting the bottom.  There should be no standing water. This just prevents the zucchini skins from sticking to the bottom of the casserole pan.
  2. Lay the cooked/baked zucchini boats into your casserole pan, then fill each zucchini boat with the stuffing mixture. Once all the zucchinis are filled, press the filling down and add any additional leftover filling on top. It’s fine if the filing is piled high and overflows. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 20 minutes.  You are just looking to heat everything through since both the zucchini boats and lentil/rice mixture have already been cooked.

Salad Topper Instructions:

  1. Mix all the salad topper ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Yogurt Tahini Sauce instructions:

  1. Place the yogurt, lemon juice, and tahini in a small bowl and mix well.
  2. Chop the garlic on a cutting board, then add the sea salt on top of the garlic, and smash the together to form a garlic/sea salt paste, then add the paste to the yogurt mixture and whisk until incorporated.


*Vegetable Stock:  We use Low-Sodium Pacific Organic Vegetable Stock.  We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.

*Small Brown Lentils (Pardina/Spanish Brown):  You can substitute any type of lentil for the brown lentils (other than red); however, you will need to adjust the cooking time.  Small brown lentils typically cook faster than green lentils. ALSO see the notes on rice as you need to coordinate their tenderness timing with 10 minutes or so.  We have found that the Small Brown Lentils works beautifully with this recipe.

*Rice:  The beauty of this recipe is you can substitute any type of rice you wish as well.  The key is to find the best time to place both the lentils and rice (separately or together) into the pot so they are both tender at the same time, so adjust your times accordingly.  If you are using a brown rice, then brown rice typically takes longer to cook than a white or basmati rice.  Also, green lentils typically take longer to cook than the small brown lentils. If you are combining green lentils and brown rice, then you can add both the green lentils and brown rice at the same time and cook them with the cover on the pot to ensure they are both done at the same time or at least close to the same time.  If you are nervous about the coordination of cooking times, then cook your lentils until tender and add cookedrice near the last 10 minutes or so of the cooking time.

*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.

*Salad Topper and Yogurt Tahini Sauce:  This dish is best when all the elements are combined.  Sort of like if you are making pasta, you want the tomato sauce to make the dish complete; same concept here.  The zucchini boats are best with the salad topper and yogurt tahini sauce.