Mexican zucchini boats, easy, plant-based goodness filled with quinoa and black beans and smothered with homemade enchilada sauce and baked to perfection.

Mexican Zucchini Boats [Vegan]

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Cooking Time



For the Enchilada Sauce:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

For the Filling:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 – 15 oz. (400 gm.) can black beans or pinto beans
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper or red pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice2 zucchini squash (courgette), cut in half, lengthwise with the seeds cleaned out

For the Avocado Salsa (Optional):

  • 1 ripe avocado cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 small red onion, diced small (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (coriander) chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime


  1. To make the enchilada sauce, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic and stir it around for about 30 seconds.
  2. For ease of fitting them in the pan, try to get straight zucchinis.
  3. Add the tomato paste, chili powder and oregano and stir so the spices are mixed in. Whisk in the vegetable broth and then add the nutritional yeast. Bring the pot to a slow simmer for 15 minutes, whisking it occasionally until it starts to thicken. Once you take the sauce off the heat and before you cover the zucchini boats, stir in the lime juice.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, add the rinsed quinoa and 1 ½ cups of water to a medium pot and bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Cook the quinoa, covered or uncovered (fluffier if you cook it uncovered) until all the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes).
  5. Pause to prepare the zucchinis by trimming off the stems and ends and then cutting each zucchini in half, lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the middle of each half, being sure that you leave enough at each end, so you form a bit of a zucchini canoe. Place each zucchini half in a baking dish. Set aside for the moment.
  6. Now, preheat the oven to 4000F (2000C).
  7. To make the filling, in a medium skillet, sauté the diced onion and green pepper until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the garlic, 1 tsp. maple syrup, 1 tsp. chili powder and 1 tsp. cumin and continue to sauté for another 30 seconds.
  9. Stir in the black beans and the quinoa and mix in 1 cup of the enchilada sauce. Take the filling off the heat.
  10. Use a spoon to fill each zucchini boat with the filling. You may need to press it a bit to get it all in. It will set up as it cooks, so it’s ok to pile it on.
  11. Add about half of the reserved enchilada sauce over the zucchini boats and place them in the center of the hot oven, uncovered and bake for 25 minutes. Halfway through the baking process, add the remainder of the sauce. You can also baste the zucchini boats with sauce from the bottom of the baking dish to keep the filling moist.
  12. While the zucchini boats are baking, you can make a quick avocado salsa by simply mixing all the ingredients together. This dish is also great with just a simple green salad.


To reheat Mexican zucchini boats, cover them with foil. They can also be reheated in the microwave.


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