12 Fun Food Boats for Summer

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Boats aren’t just a vessel meant to get you across a body of water or for enjoying a hot summer day. They’re also a fun and functional way to present food at a summer gathering, eliminating the need for large bowls and platters, and making cleanup even easier. Kids will get a kick out of them too. These edible boats are perfect for everyday dinners, big barbecues or dinner parties — regardless of whether you’ll actually be near the water.

Zucchini and Corn Pirate Boats (pictured above)

Marcela Valladolid takes the idea of food boats to a literal level, adding a mast to the head of her stuffed zucchini. Stick grape tomatoes, zucchini slices and a green onion stalk on a skewer to add fun flair to this summer side dish. The boat itself is stuffed with zucchini, corn, tomatoes and bacon for salty, meaty flavor that pirates both big and small will love.

Avo-Scramble

Sure, you could bake an egg in an avocado. Or you could scramble an egg and serve it inside an avocado topped with plenty of black pepper, hot sauce and bacon. Make this seasonal breakfast for any houseguests, or whip it up in your vacation house or hotel room’s kitchenette — no bowls required.

Inside-Out Eggplant Parm

Who doesn’t love eggplant Parm, especially when the purple-hued veggie is in season? Serve individual portions in eggplant halves so no one has to fight over the last corner in the baking dish.

Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers

These baby bell peppers are perfect party appetizers, or you can load up your dinner plate with them. Cook the peppers in a skillet first to blister the skins, then bake them with a spicy, cheesy pork mixture to develop that juicy, roasted pepper flavor. They can be made up to four hours ahead and popped in the oven right before company comes over; they take just 10 minutes to finish.

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Italian Stuffed Jalapenos

Who would have guessed that jalapenos, when halved, resemble little canoes? For these Italian-stuffed jalapenos, Guy Fieri slices peppers and leaves the seeds in to retain extra heat. A blend of three cheeses tames the flames just enough, making these a great appetizer option for a crowd.

Cheese Boat

Why serve cheese dip in a bowl when you can serve it in a bread boat? Trisha Yearwood hollows out a French loaf before filling it with a blend of cheese, bell pepper and corned beef. Serve with a side of corn chips for a party-stealing appetizer that’s at home at an alfresco dinner or a game-day gathering (tailgating season is right around the corner!).

Zucchini Boats

A melon baller allows you to scoop out the insides of zucchini in seconds flat, making room for turkey meatballs. Pesto-topped orzo is the perfect accompanying side dish.

Summer Squash Boats

The key to these boats is using straightneck summer squash as opposed to crookneck. It makes for easy scooping (and the crookneck squash could make for wasted boat real estate). Finish the turkey sausage filling with a sprinkling of panko breadcrumbs to give these boats satisfying crunch.

Stuffed Eggplant with Veal and Spinach

Even when roasted, dark-purple eggplant retains its shape, which makes it an ideal boat — stuffed here with veal. Homemade breadcrumbs are the game changer in this dish, giving the mixture of spinach and meat a comforting crunch.

Pineapple Boats: How-To

Pineapples are the perfect vessels for summertime beverages, mixed fruits, savory-sweet salads (like chicken), or frozen sweets like ice cream and sorbet. Follow this how-to guide to learn how to make a pineapple boat, then you choose the filling. Slicing a pineapple into quarters gives you easy access to the core, which is too dense to be eaten and needs to be cut out.

Coconut Sundae

If you’re going to do all the work of opening up a coconut, you might as well reward yourself by eating a scoop of ice cream out of it. Go all-out and make it the base of a sundae.

Campfire Banana Boats

Ree Drummond’s banana boats are great for a campfire gathering or cozy fire pit circle. Slice bananas most of the way through to create a pocket, then stuff with caramel bits, chocolate chips, crumbled graham crackers and mini marshmallows. Roast the foil-wrapped bananas for a treat reminiscent of — but entirely different than — s’mores.

More Ingredients As Bowls

Want to experiment with making your own food boats? Up your presentation game by carving bowls out of even more ingredients, from potatoes to cantaloupe.