Courgette or Zucchini Boats with Bolognese Sauce

Courgette or Zucchini Boats

One of the things that I enjoyed the most about my Paleo/Whole 30 challenge in January was the simplicity of it.  No processed foods, no heavy or starchy carbohyrdates, no gluten or wheat. Just plenty of lean and organic protein, fresh seasonal vegetables and lots of fruit. It’s not rocket science and it’s pretty obvious that you are going to feel a million times better and start to shrink. I got to day 26, having also had no alcohol, cakes or chocolate and had lost eight pounds. I also felt clearer headed, had lots more energy and had more ‘even’ moods. Unfortunately, a (stressful) overnight stay in hospital with my little one and then an over-indulgent family party weekend knocked me off my healthy eating pedestal. However, I was able to get back on track and I’d say that I’ve kept to my new rules about 80% of the time, which I think, and hope, is sensible in the long run. So, before I really get going with some February treats, I’m sharing one of my favourite Paleo-friendly dinner ideas, these are my Courgette or Zucchini Boats with Bolognese sauce.  

Courgette or Zucchini Boats

I hope you also managed to catch Cucina Ceri’s really helpful Paleo-themed guest post in January here on Fabulicious Food, which offered plenty of tips on how to swap processed carbs for vegetables. Ceri mentioned many ideas, including using courgette as spaghetti or noodles (check out Ceri’s super-healthy Paleo Prawn Pad Thai, too), stuffing veg with sauces (as per my courgettes here or Ceri’s Stuffed Acorn Squash with tomato and bacon sauce), using cauliflower as rice (I tried that, too and it was really tasty), using aubergine or courgette as lasagna sheets and subbing grain-free flour in dishes, such as gnocchi.   

Courgette or Zucchini Boats

The bolognese sauce recipe I used pretty much followed Ceri’s recipe here for Faux Lasagna. Instead of slicing the courgettes thinly, I halved them, scoped out the middle bits with a teaspoon, sprinkled them with avocado oil, salt and pepper and then baked the courgettes for 15 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius before filling the ‘boats’ with the Bolognese sauce and baking them again for twenty minutes until piping hot. I added the scooped out courgette bits back into the sauce so there was no waste.  I also sprinkled some chopped hazelnuts over the top, too, since you are allowed plenty of healthy nuts and seeds if you’re eating Paleo.

Courgette or Zucchini Boats

I’m sending this recipes across to Fuss Free Helen’s  and Camilla’s Credit Crunch Munch as you can make one really big batch of bolognese sauce and then make it stretch further by stuffing seasonal vegetables.  

Also, I’m linking up to Simple and in Season, this month being hosted by Caroline at Cakes, Crumbs and Cooking – there were leeks, carrots and onions as well as british courgettes in this meal.

Courgette and Zucchini Boats

Simple and in Season

Credit Crunch Munch

I’ll be back tomorrow with some less healthier treats – a Polish baked cheesecake (wheat/gluten free though sadly not calorie free) followed by Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day treats and Valentine’s Day Cupcakes.

I knew the baking ban wouldn’t last!



  1. says

    What a lovely idea Ren! And very attractive too.

    I’ve not tried the Paleo diet (don’t you wish that diet and slimming diet had completely words for them?) but I realise that many aspects are similar to how I eat. it seems in line with many of the ideas behind South Beach and my efforts to eat as much raw vegan as I can.

    I think it takes years to work out what is best for your body, and when you get it right the benefits are immense.

    Many thanks for sending to Credit Crunch Munch, and sorry for taking forever to come and comment.

  2. says

    They look delicious Ren. I’m sure I wouldn’t manage to survive on the Paleo diet – I like my carbs far too much, but this looks like a perfect Paleo recipe, full of delicious and nutritious whole foods. Thanks for entering into Simple and In Season!

  3. says

    I love this idea for courgettes – especially because your beautiful photography really does do the dish justice! Thanks for all the mentions above too. Looking forward to seeing more of your ‘whole-foods’ creations in 2013 x

  4. says

    brilliant idea! I feel there’s so many posibilities with these courgette boats! could top them with other sorts of mince, or maybe even a veggie filling, or rice (not paleo though). I don’t believe in being too rigid with any form of diet, as long as we enjoy real, whole foods (key word: enjoy) but wish you all the best, and I’m sure you’re doing amazing! food def looks awesome and healthy :)

    • Ren says

      Hi Shu Han, you are right, so many possibilities, even a lovely egg fried rice perhaps?! I love the lettuce and pork mince wraps, so that filling could go in here as a change xx

  5. Liz Thomas says

    Those look lovely. A bit like a recipe idea I came across in an Elizabeth David book (forget which one) which was for cooking lobster thermidor in courgette cases — I tried it and it was wonderful, though obviously not suitable for the diet with all that cream and cheese!

    Been going vaguely along the same diet track myself and do feel better for sticking to just veg and lean meat,. I have lost a bit of weight but it’s the wine that’s my problem. Do so enjoy the end of the day glass or three with friends down at the village cafe.

    I’m definitely going to try this recipe.

    Thanks and wishing you a very happy, healthy and delicious Year of the Snake.


    • Ren says

      Dear LIz, great news that you are also enjoying a healthy start to the year. In my book, a little glass of red wine can be healthy! I love the tought of popping to the village cafe with friends for a glass of wine :-) Happy Year of the Snake, too. We’re going into China Town at the weekend to join in!

  6. says

    Ooh Ren you’ve inspired me as I have courgettes and nuts that need using and I think this looks easier to cook than stuffed marrow which has quite a tough skin. Thank you for entering such an economical and delicious dish which I will definitely be making soon:-)

    • Ren says

      Yes I once tried to cook a marrow abd it took over an hour before it started to soften. Courgettes and nice and quick. Looking forward to the Credit Crunch round up!

  7. says

    This looks delicious Ren! Bolognese is one of our favourites and even though I always add extra veg to the sauce, it probably could be a bit healthier. My OH is not a big fan of veggies so this looks like a good way to persuade him to eat more :)

    • Ren says

      Hi Jen, oh great, I really hope he likes it. You could, of course, stuff them with rice, too. I have a Globe Courgette recipe somewhere, but this keeps things nice and light!