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We’ve Reinvented the Classic Tuna Melt with These Flavorful (and Spicy!) Zucchini Boats

Gluten-free doesn't equate flavor-free, as this spicy and filling favorite clearly demonstrates.

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The tuna melt: It’s a lunchtime staple, with a simple list of ingredients and a creamy, cheesy serving of deliciousness that’s hard to top. This classic sandwich takes your basic grilled cheese to new heights. But unfortunately, once you’ve gone gluten-free, it’s not exactly on your list of can-eat meals. Well, we’ve got an alternative that’s veg-based and so incredibly flavorful, you’ll be pleasantly surprised: Spicy Tuna Melt Zucchini Boats.

Zucchini is kind of like the bread of the veggie world. It’s a blank canvas that you can infuse any flavor you’d like into, and it’s sturdy enough to carry even the thickest, most decadent of fillings. In our tuna melt zucchini boats, we’ve topped slices of this do-anything veggie with a mixture of tuna, mayo, cheese, celery and plenty of spice. Between the jalapeños and the sprinkling of chipotle chile powder added onto the tuna salad, each bite is seriously spicy.

And because we’ve replaced the bread that sandwiches your typical tuna melt with a veg, this lunchtime favorite becomes a gluten-free meal. It’s quick, it’s clean and it’s so easy to make – and once you try these Spicy Tuna Melt Zucchini Boats, you’re going to love all of the flavor they impart. Your tuna melt is all grown up and, we think, even better!

After you make this veggie, bread-free version, you can also try one of our other takes on the tuna melt:

Spicy Tuna Melt Zucchini Boats

Prep Time
10 min
30 min


  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch each sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 5-oz cans solid white tuna, drained
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • ¼ cup avocado mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp pickled jalapeños, diced, plus more rings for topping (optional)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place zucchini in a glass baking dish and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together tuna, celery, green onion, mayonnaise, Dijon, diced jalapeños and chipotle powder. Stir in half of the cheese and mix until well combined.
  3. Top each zucchini half with one quarter of the tuna mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes until zucchini is tender and cheese is golden. Top with more pickled jalapeños if desired.