Vegan Air Fryer Zucchini Boats Recipe

Ah the air fryer- a lazy chef’s best friend. Who needs an oven when you basically have a convection oven on your counter?

These air fryer zucchini boats can be a super simple and quick summertime snack or a great side dish for a delectable meal.

The best part about them is that you can really play around with the ingredients that you put inside of the boats. This does not have to be a vegan-only meal- it tastes great with any type of meat, or cheese. 

I am a huge local food fanatic so most of the ingredients pictured are from the local farmer’s market. I find this particular recipe to be an essential summertime recipe to have on hand because it uses all my favorite veggies that are in season in the summertime. 

This recipe could also be easily changed based on what ingredients are in season. All around, a recipe you will want to keep!

Ingredients You Will Need

  • 2 zucchini’s 
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1 onion, any color
  • 1 jalapeno or mild green pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ tsp. of smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp of onion salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Dash of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Optional Toppings

How to Make It

STEP 1: Prep the Zucchini.

Slice the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the insides, and brush with olive oil. You can also add salt and pepper to the zucchini at this point. 

STEP 2: Chop the Veggies. 

Chop the rest of the veggies and mix them all together in a bowl.

Add the garlic, smoked paprika, onion salt, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Give everything a good mix and set aside. 

STEP 3: Cook the Zucchini.

Place the zucchini in the air fryer first without any of the other veggies.

I find I can only fit two slices of zucchini in my air fryer at a time. The zucchini goes in for 5 minutes at 390℉. 

STEP 4: Add the Veggies.

After the timer goes off, put the veggie mixture inside of the zucchini bowls and cook at 390 again for another 10 minutes.

STEP 5: Add Your Toppings.

Top with the sliced cabbage, green onions, hot sauce, nutritional yeast or anything you desire. Serve immediately.

Optional Modifications 

As mentioned above, this recipe can be made in so many different ways, from different vegan options to meat and cheese lover variations. 

If you are vegetarian and are wanting some cheese added to it, pretty much any cheese shredded on top of these boats will suffice.

You can use a cheese that will melt nicely and give a stringy texture such as mozzarella, or you can use a cheese like parmesan as a topping to sprinkle on top after the dish comes out of the air fryer. 

If you are the type that needs meat with any meal, have no fear, this recipe is also for you! Shredded beef or pork are great options to use inside the zucchini.

I would suggest browning the meat on a stovetop first if you would like to try this variation. 

For those of you that came here specifically because it is a vegan recipe– if this is a dish you would like to make into the main course- add a protein like mushrooms, tofu, or even some nuts at the end.

I also love to add nutritional yeast as a topping to any vegan meal I make- you vegans need your vitamin B-12!

If you are an avid follower of the keto diet, this could be a great recipe for breakfast. This is already a keto recipe, but adding things like avocado, bacon bits, or an egg on the side, would make it that much more filling, and check all the boxes for your keto diet!

Can You Prepare This Recipe Ahead of Time?

You can prep this recipe ahead of time, but I would suggest it tastes best right out of the air fryer. If you are the type of person that likes to meal prep, it could be good to chop all the veggies you want to throw in the boats ahead of time.

If you do this though, wait to put the oil and spices in the veggie mixture for fear of them getting soggy. 

What To Serve With This Dish

  • Kale salads
  • Crispy Air Fryer Breaded Mushrooms- try the recipe from our site!
  • Sweet potatoes cooked any way you desire
  • Mushrooms cooked in coconut oil and garlic and a side salad
  • For non-vegans: pair it with eggs for breakfast, or as a side to your mushroom and steak dinner!

Cooking Times By Air Fryer Model 

ModelCooking timeTemperature
Ninja Foodi15 min390℉
Philips Airfryer XXL(HD9630)16 min390℉
Nuwave Bravo XL Grill17 min375℉
Power XL 2&3 Qt Vortex18 min375℉
Cuisinart17 min390℉
Cosori15 min415℉
Breville Smart Oven15 min400℉

Storage

This meal is best right out of the airfryer, but I find that it does taste great cold. You can store it in the fridge, but you will want to eat it within a day or two because it will get soggy, especially if you are using the tomatoes this recipe calls for. I do not suggest freezing this recipe. 

What Goes Well With Zucchini Boats?

To keep it vegan, I love adding kale salads to anything. I have made my kale salad with anything from cannellini beans and oyster mushrooms, to quinoa and dried cranberries. It’s another great recipe to have on hand that can be modified every time you make it. 

If you are a meat eater, these zucchini boats would be a great side to a steak dinner, or pork chops. I’m also a fan of a big burger, with a lot of veggies like this on the side. 

I think this recipe would also be great as a breakfast dish. I envision two sunny side up eggs, two zucchini boats and a side of oyster mushrooms cooked in butter and garlic. Yum!

Other Tips and Tricks

Do not skip cooking the zucchini alone first. While it won’t ruin your meal if you don’t, cooking the zucc’s for that five minutes without any of the other veggies, really gives the dish an extra flair that your house guests will drool over! 

Also, I find that brushing the olive oil onto the zucchini boats really helps if you are wanting that grill like taste and texture. 

This recipe is great for beginner chefs who want to play around with flavors! Make it spicy if you want, and use different seasonings like Italian seasoning, dried basil, etc. 

You could even try a different vegetable as the “boat.” Don’t let the confines of this recipe hold you back- the world is your air fryer!

Zucchini Boats in Air Fryer

Zucchini Boats in Air Fryer

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

These delicious and simple zucchini boats are not only tasty but also nutritious! Use them as a side, the main dish, or a simple summertime snack. They can be vegan, vegetarian, keto, gluten-free, or even have additional meat inside. With endless variations, you will never get bored of these!

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini’s
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1 onion, any color
  • 1 jalapeno or mild green pepper
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ tsp. of smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp of onion salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Dash of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Optional toppings:
  • Red or green cabbage
  • Hot sauce
  • Green onions
  • Nutritional yeast

Instructions

  1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the insides, and brush with olive oil. You can also add salt and pepper to the zucchini at this point. 
  2. Chop the rest of the veggies and mix them all together in a bowl. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, onion salt, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Give everything a good mix and set it aside. 
  3. Place the zucchini in the air fryer first without any of the other veggies. I find I can only fit two slices of zucchini in my air fryer at a time. The zucchini goes in for 5 minutes at 390℉. 
  4. After the timer goes off, put the veggie mixture inside of the zucchini bowls and cook at 390 again for another 10 minutes.
  5. Top with the sliced cabbage, green onions, hot sauce, nutritional yeast, or anything you desire. Serve immediately. 

Notes

This is a great recipe for those of you who are gluten-free. If you want to add some gluten, potatoes would be a great addition to this. Also, if you want to add meat or cheese to this recipe, see the details above.

You can also make this recipe as spicy or as mild as you would like it. Don’t forget to put your chef’s hat on and play around with the recipe and ingredients as much as you would like!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g
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