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Recipe: Chickpea and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Written by Lena Mozayani | Tuesday, 4 May 2021

nutrition recipes

Full of nutritious ingredients, these zucchini boats are very easy to make and go exceptionally well with a side of homemade tzatziki.

The flavours for these zucchini boats were inspired by a traditional Middle Eastern dish called Maftoul (hand rolled couscous). When I was a kid, my grandmother used to make Maftoul with a side of a mixed vegetable broth of zucchini, carrots, pumpkin, potato and chickpeas spiced with cinnamon and cumin. It was a celebratory dish made only on special occasions since it would take all day to hand roll the couscous!

For a gluten free alternative, I decided to substitute the couscous for quinoa. Full of nutritious ingredients, these zucchini boats were very easy to make. Most importantly, being so yummy, they were a big hit with the kids.

I served them with a side of homemade tzatziki that complemented the flavours beautifully!

Nutritional benefits:

Zucchini is high in vitamin A for eye health, vitamin B6 for neurological function and vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system and reduces oxidative stress. It is packed full of the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene that also act as antioxidants and have anti-cancer effects. As an added benefit, zucchini contains both soluble and insoluble fibres which contribute to a healthy digestive system and heart. Being low in carbohydrates, zucchini also helps keep insulin and blood sugar levels low.

Quinoa is a great plant-based source of protein. It also contains the polyphenols quercetin and kaempferol that exert antioxidant effects and help protect against chronic diseases and cancers.

Chickpeas are another excellent plant-based protein source that contain minerals such as magnesium and potassium for heart health.

Note: When preparing chickpeas and quinoa, be sure to soak them prior to cooking to get rid of phytates, which are anti-nutrients that reduce the absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc.

Now, I could go on and on about the benefits of zucchini and the other ingredients in these awesome little green boats, but let’s get to how I made them! P.s. This recipe serves 4.


  • 4 large zucchinis
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of one lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Trim off the stem ends then cut each zucchini in half.
  3. Using a zucchini corer or a teaspoon, hollow out the zucchini by removing the flesh so that they resemble a boat.
  4. In a bowl, mix cooked quinoa, chickpeas, carrot, red onion, parsley.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk cumin, cinnamon, salt, olive oil and lemon juice, then mix through to season the quinoa mix.
  6. Line the zucchini boats in a baking tray.
  7. Fill each zucchini boat with quinoa mix and cover tray with foil.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Test with a fork.
  9. Remove from oven and serve immediately with a side of tzatziki.

Homemade tzatziki - combine yoghurt (or alternative), chopped mint, diced cucumber and salt to taste

No waste tip - You can cook the zucchini flesh with olive oil, lemon, mint, salt and pepper as a side dish or add to a soup.


Lena Mozayani

Lena Mozayani is a science teacher who is currently studying a BHSc in Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine with Endeavour. She has been passionate about natural medicine for the last 10 years and believes that what we eat impacts profoundly on our overall health.

Read more by Lena Mozayani