Last year I shared a recipe for Pizza Zucchini Boats and I knew it wouldn’t end there. This year I’ve made a zucchini boat I like even more – these unbelievably delicious and perfectly flavorful Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats! With these you save on carbs by swapping out the classic tortilla wrapped enchiladas with hallowed out zucchini boats instead.
I was actually really surprised myself by how much I truly loved these! I was so skeptical at first and I thought there’s no way I could ever trade in a classic, cheese loaded, pure comfort food enchilada for a healthier version. Indeed was I wrong.
The key with these is making sure you find wide zucchini, otherwise you won’t be fitting very much filling in them. Trust me you will love this filling so you’re going to want to be able to load them up. You might look a little crazy at the store digging through the zucchini for 5 minutes looking for the wider ones but it’s worth it :).
Also key to these is Ancho chili powder, please don’t just swap it out with more regular chili powder – like I used to be guilty of doing. It has a more robust depth of flavor and really just makes these, plus I’ve been adding it to everything lately. You’ll have no problem using it up.
If you like Southwestern and Mexican flavors you simply have to try these! I don’t think I could talk them up enough, you just need to see for yourself.
They’ll make you believe healthy eating is very doable. I loved them so much that I made them again the next day for my sisters family and she was wiping the sauce clean from her plate. Who knew? Zucchini enchiladas are a thing and they are amazing!
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Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats
All the flavors of chicken enchiladas without the extra carbs from tortillas. These are so flavorful, perfectly filling and perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (from about 1 lb)
- 4 medium zucchini (2 1/2 lbs), sliced in half through length*
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (be sure they are chopped fine or they won't cook through)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup frozen corn
- 1 1/4 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
- For serving: diced Roma tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped yellow onion (optional), light sour cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats.
Brush tops and bottoms with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and place in two baking dishes (I used a 13 by 9 and a 9 by 9). Bake in preheated oven until zucchini is nearly tender, about 20 - 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot add onion and saute 3 - 4 minutes until soft. Add garlic and saute 10 seconds longer.
Remove from heat, pour in tomato sauce, ancho chili powder, chili powder, cumin and paprika. In a liquid measuring cup whisk together the water and cornstarch until well blended then pour into tomato sauce mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a light boil, stirring frequently. Allow to gently boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in shredded chicken.
Remove zucchini from oven and spoon chicken mixture into zucchini. Sprinkle tops with corn and then cheese blend. Return to oven and bake 5 - 10 minutes longer until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender.
Serve warm topped with diced tomatoes and cilantro, and optional onion and sour cream.
*Look for zucchini that is wider and more uniform in width.
Recipe source: Cooking Classy