Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats

Grilled Mexican zucchini boats, inspired by Mexican street corn. Zucchini boats rubbed with a flavorful mix of spices are grilled, then filled with a creamy cotija cheese. Perfect dish for summer entertaining!

Wow! That last post was a popular one. Since apparently y’all love all things Mexican grilled, here’s another take on it – Mexican grilled zucchini boats.

I made these for a Mexican themed supper club last week. They were simple, looked beautiful and everyone loved them. I know this catchphrase is totally passé, but I can’t help myself - winning! Grilling the large zucchini boats gave them a wonderful charred flavor, but retained just the right amount of crunch. The spice mixture, made with plenty of smoked paprika, enhanced the smoky flavor and added a hint of spice. Cotija, a semi-firm Mexican cheese, similar in flavor and texture to feta, freshened the flavor. You could also use queso fresca or ricotta salata as a substitute.

I tried making zucchini boats once before by cooking them in the oven and I was really disappointed with it. Maybe it was the recipe, but I found they turned out too soft and lacked flavor. Grilling them got the texture and flavor just right. I’ll definitely be making these again and playing with some new fillings. I’m thinking tempeh chili or sweet potatoes and black beans for a main, or serving smaller zucchini stuffed with hummus or cashew cheese as an appetizer. I imagine this would be a really great way to get kids to eat veggies too!

Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats

Serves 8 as a side

Dish inspired by Joy the Baker, spice mix from Naturally Ella.


Spice mix:

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado, sucanat or other unrefined sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 4 large zucchinis
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup crubled cotija, feta, or queso fresco cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime


  1. Mix all the spice mix ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  3. Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the zucchini seeds, making a boat. Sprinkle each generously with the spice mixture.
  4. Place each zucchini cut side down on the grill. Grill about 15 minutes without turning until the zucchini is well marked and crisp-tender.
  5. Mix the cheese and yogurt in a small bowl. Divide the cheese mixture evenly between the boats. Garnish with cilantro and sprinkle with lime juice.