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What To Serve With Zucchini Boats – 45 Side Dishes

This article was updated on the 13th of August 2023 for clarity and freshness.

If you’re wondering what to serve with your zucchini boats, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 45 of the most popular and tasty side dishes for stuffed zucchini boats.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best side dishes to serve with zucchini boats include chicken skewers, corn salad, crispy kale, and summer Panzanella salad. For really easy-to-cook side dishes, go for pesto pasta or cilantro lime rice. Try cheesy mashed potatoes or garlic knots for something more indulgent.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

Starchy sides

Zucchini boats are great on their own, but they’re even better with a starchy dish on the side. A slice of crusty bread is great, especially for mopping up the saucy filling. But you can also try pasta or rice dishes for a more filling meal.

Cilantro lime rice

This zingy rice dish is satisfying without being heavy. The citrusy notes of cilantro and the lime juice brighten the rice up and go well with the grassy, slightly sweet flavor of zucchini.

Rasa Malaysia makes this rice dish over the stovetop, but you can also use this recipe in your rice cooker or Instant Pot to make the process more convenient.

Psst… not a fan of zesty notes? Other rice dishes you could have with zucchini boats include buttered rice and rice and peas.

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Cilantro lime rice
Go Greek
Lemon rice
Make it low-carb
Garlic herb cauliflower rice

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are the ultimate side dish — they go with everything. And they’ll turn your zucchini boats into a plate of warming comfort food.

My favorite thing about mash is how many different varieties there are. Truffle mash, garlic mash, mustard mash, and even French onion mashed potatoes. But for me, nothing can beat cheesy mashed potatoes.

This recipe uses three different types of cheese (parmesan, white cheddar, and cream cheese), which makes the silky spuds extra rich and yummy!

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Cheesy mashed potatoes
Add a tangy twist
Sour cream and chive mashed red potatoes
Make it low-carb
Parsnip puree

Pesto pasta

Pesto pasta is the perfect side dish if you’re in a hurry. It’s super easy to make and it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. You can even drizzle some of the pesto sauce over your zucchini boats to tie the two dishes together.

Nourish and Fete’s recipe includes homemade pesto sauce. Although if you’re in a rush or don’t have all the ingredients needed, store-bought pesto works fine.

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Fresh pesto pasta with peas
Make a classic
Spaghetti aglio e olio
Make it decadent
Sun-dried tomato and mushroom pasta

Garlic knots

If you have saucy zucchini boats then you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got something you can use to mop up any leftover sauce. And that’s where these garlic knots come in.

Damn Delicious uses ready-made biscuit dough for these treats, making them a breeze to prepare. The whole process — from shaping the dough to baking — will only take you less than 30 minutes. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Pro tip: make a double batch because these garlic parmesan knots are super addictive. No one will leave the table hungry!

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Garlic parmesan knots
Make it easy
Cheesy garlic bread
Make it quick
Irish soda bread

Sweet potato fries

I like regular potato fries, but I LOVE sweet potato fries.

Their natural sweetness combined with the garlicky seasoning makes for the most addictive sweet-savory combo. Just remember to add cornstarch to your spice mixture – it’s one of the keys to giving your sweet potato fries that extra crispy bite.

Psst… sweet potato fries are better when served with a dipping sauce. But you can skip making one and dunk the fries in your zucchini boat’s saucy filling instead.

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Sweet potato fries
Make it unique
Smashed sweet potatoes
Make it low-carb
Baked jicama fries

Vegetables and salads

Zucchini is already packed with tons of nutrients, but why not add more with veggie sides and salads? They’ll complete the meal, without making you too full.

Sauteed cabbage

This sauteed cabbage will ensure your zucchini boats remain the star of the show.

It sounds too simple, but the high heat brings out the cabbage’s natural sweetness and the addition of butter plus paprika takes it further up a notch.

You can also control the texture of the cabbage by adjusting the cooking time. I personally like mine a bit more tender, so I cook it down a few minutes longer than what the recipe calls for.

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Sauteed cabbage
Make it tangy
Braised German red cabbage
Fire up the oven
Roasted cabbage wedges 

Arugula pear salad

This is one of my go-to salads for any main dish, saucy zucchini boats included.

The combination of the peppery arugula, lightly sweet pears, and zesty lemon dressing is exactly what you need to cut through the richness of your zucchini boat filling. Plus, the walnuts bring a delectable crunch to contrast all of your zucchini boats’ soft, tender textures.

Psst… not a fan of arugula? No worries, you can switch things up and use any leafy green you like. Kale or baby spinach leaves are all good alternatives.

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Arugula pear salad
Make a classic
Caesar salad
Make it basic
Butter lettuce green goddess salad

Green bean almondine

Bring a healthy, delicious French twist to your zucchini boat meal with a serving of green bean almondine.

This classic dish involves cooking the green beans in brown butter and almonds, infusing them with a delectable nutty twist that makes them stand out from the usual veggie sides.

Psst… I use haricot verts when I make this dish because they cook faster, but you can also stick with green beans for a more budget-friendly option. 

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Green bean almondine
Fire up the oven
Garlic parmesan roasted green beans
Make it indulgent
Green beans in creamy sauce 

Steamed vegetables 

Did you know that steaming veg is the healthiest way to cook it? The reason is that the vegetables aren’t submerged in the hot water like they are in the boiling method, so most of their nutrients are preserved instead of leaking into the water.

And they don’t have to be boring — it’s all about how you dress them up. Life Tastes Good goes with classic melted garlic butter, but I like adding a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of kick.

Enjoy these bright, perfectly crisp-tender veggies alongside your zucchini boats for a complete and nourishing meal.

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Steamed vegetables with garlic butter
Make it effortless
Roasted vegetables
Fire up the grill
Grilled vegetables

Crispy kale

Zucchini boats can be a little soft in terms of texture, so I like to have something crispy on the side.

And normally, crispy means fried and unhealthy, but not these kale chips. They add a really nice crunch without being too filling or greasy since they’re baked. Plus, kale leaves naturally have fewer calories than starchy spuds, so you can enjoy these chips guilt-free.

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Sea salt and garlic kale chips
Skip the kale
Roasted arugula chips
Back to basics
Homemade baked potato chips

Summer-inspired dishes

Zucchini boats are great any time of year, but they’re best in the summer when zucchinis are in season. Serve them with a juicy panzanella salad or some fragrant grilled chicken for the ultimate summer–themed meal.

Summer panzanella salad

Got some stale bread you want to use up? Consider this a sign to make Panzanella salad.

This fresh and light Italian classic is perfect for pairing with zucchini boats. The tangy vinaigrette provides a nice contrast to the mild flavor of the zucchini and the meaty filling, while the croutons add a satisfying crunch to every bite.

Pro tip: if you want to make the salad a little more indulgent, toss in some mozzarella balls. 

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Panzanella salad
Another Italian classic
Caprese salad
Make it different
Marinated cherry tomatoes

Chicken skewers 

If you’re looking to add some more protein to your plate, you can’t go wrong with these chicken skewers.

This recipe from Moribyan marinates the chicken pieces in a tangy yogurt dressing and seasons them with warm spices. They’re excellent alongside Moroccan-inspired zucchini boats.

But the beauty of these skewers is you can use any flavoring you like. For example, if you have a Mexican-flavored zucchini boat, then use Mexican spices!

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Chicken skewers
Go Greek
Chicken souvlaki 
Skip the chicken
Grilled vegetable skewers with halloumi

Corn salad

Go all in on the summer theme and whip up a batch of this gorgeous corn salad.

Dowshiftology uses grilled corn for this salad, which brings a smoky, sweet flavor that’ll have your guests coming back for more. Sure, there’s extra work because you’ll need to shave off the kernels after grilling the corn, but I guarantee the effort is worth it.

And you can make a picture-perfect dish by sprinkling the corn over the top of your zucchini boats.

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Corn salad
Go Mexican
Mexican street corn (elotes)
Add more veg
Corn succotash

Quick-pickled red onions

These pickled red onions are great for adding a fresh bite to your zucchini boats.

The overnight soak in the brine gives the onions a vibrant pink color that’ll brighten up your casserole. Plus, the brine infuses them with a zippy tangy-sweet flavor that makes them an excellent palate cleanser. 

These pickled red onions last for a month in the fridge, but I guarantee they’ll be eaten long before that.

Why we love this recipe: you get so much use out of a batch. 

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Quick pickled red onions
Add more veg
Escabeche (pickled Mexican vegetables)
Add more heat
Hot pepper relish


While pairing soup with zucchini boats might seem unusual, I believe that zucchini boats complement gazpacho better than bread does.

The soup is served cold, making it ideal for a hot summer’s day when you want something light. And you can use it like tomato sauce and dip the zucchini boats into your bowl.

Still not sold? You can also serve gazpacho as a starter instead.

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Spanish gazpacho
Jazz it up
Sweet corn gazpacho
Another classic
Cauliflower soup

What To Serve With Zucchini Boats – Crispy Kale

In this short recipe, I show you exactly how to make crispy kale to serve with your zucchini boats.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: crispy kale recipe, what to serve with zucchini boats, zucchini boat side dishes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 4 person
Calories: 550kcal


  • 1 medium-sized bunch of kale
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of garlic powder


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Wash the kale leaves and dry them thoroughly.
  • Tear the leaves off the stems and into smaller pieces. Arrange them on an unlined baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and gently massage it into the kale leaves. Only add a few more drops if you need more olive oil.
  • Season the massaged kale with sea salt and garlic powder and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Rotate the pan and flip any pieces that are crisping up and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent overcooking.
  • After baking, leave the kale chips to rest for 3-5 minutes to crisp up further.
  • Serve immediately or store in a paper bag.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 550kcal

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