Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (GF & Vegan)
August 10, 2017
Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms are a fun Italian appetizer with a crisp gluten-free panko crust exterior and a creamy ricotta and Parmesan interior wrapped up in a delicate zucchini blossom. We have even made a vegan (dairy-free) version too!
Healthy World Cuisine will be celebrating “Delicious Italy” with a whole segment of Italian recipes to please your family and friends. Today we are going to start out with a delicious Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms. Please go pour yourself a glass of wine and let’s get this party started.
You are going to just love this appetizer as the moment you bite into that super crunchy panko bread crumb exterior, you are going to start smiling. Then when you think this is the best appetizer you have eaten; your teeth will sink into that delicate zucchini blossom and then into the cheesy herbed goodness and your heart will melt. Well don’t take our word for it, give it a try yourself. The boys gave it 2 thumbs up and proceeded to eat 16 each and asked if there were more.
It is prime zucchini and zucchini flow blossom season. We love eating seasonally and love visiting the farmer’s markets for fresh produce grown locally. We found these beauties at the Farming Farmers and Artisan’s Market. You will probably not be able to find zucchini blossoms at your local grocery store as zucchini flowers perish quickly. Zucchini blossoms are best found at a farmer’s market or if you plant your own garden and plant zucchini you can pick your own blossoms. Just be sure not to pick all the female plants or you will not have any zucchini to harvest.
What do zucchini blossoms taste like? We think they have a delicate zucchini squash taste. They do not taste floral in nature. The blossoms are very tender and delicate and have the perfect shape to hold in the herbed ricotta.
There are a couple of things to note when cooking with zucchini blossoms…
- Do not wash them under running water or they will be ruined. If you need to, take a slightly damp cloth and remove any obvious dirt or bugs.
- They must be used right away and within 24 hours is optimal. It is best to keep the zucchini blossoms refrigerated. Use within 48 at the most. If they have a long enough stem, put them in water in the refrigerator to preserve until use.
Here is how to clean a zucchini blossom…
- Remove the outer 5 prong picker on the outside of the flower at the top of the stem, where the flower meets the stem.
- Slice open the flower lengthwise. Open the flower with your fingers gently.
- Remove the stamen with scissors or knife and dust off the pollen.
- If zucchini blossom stem is long, trim so that about 1 inch remains.
The best part about this Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms is that you can have all that delicious crispiness with baking instead of deep frying. Less mess, less time in the kitchen and way better for your poor liver that is responsible for breaking down all that fat.
The secret to making your baked ricotta stuffed zucchini blossoms extra crispy is to first toast your panko bread crumbs in the pan before coating your zucchini blossoms with them and then baking. Now that we have let the secret out of the bag…this is also the process we use to make baked crispy homemade chicken strips and they are super delicious. If you like, you can even make your own panko homemade breadcrumbs.
Just for the heck of it we made a couple of batches of our baked ricotta stuffed zucchini blossoms. We made one regular with real dairy ricotta and parmesan cheese and free range eggs to coat. This batch was sublime.
We made our second batch completely vegan! Yes, you heard us right! I bet you are wondering how. Right???
Did you know that you can substitute plain dairy-free coconut yogurt or soy yogurt for eggs? The eggs provide the role of helping the gluten-free bread crumbs stick on the zucchini blossoms. The dairy- free coconut yogurt or soy yogurt helps the breadcrumbs stick too, maybe even better. Brilliant, right!
We used Better Than Ricotta Cheese by Tofutti http://www.tofutti.com/dairy-free-cheeses/better-than-cheese-ricotta/ or you can make your own at home. If you would like a vegan or dairy-free parmesan check out this recipe https://minimalistbaker.com/how-to-make-vegan-parmesan-cheese/ or try one of the specialty stores for vegan parmesan cheese.
In the recipe below, we will list both the regular and vegan options for the recipe. These delicious Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms. The secret to success is setting up a culinary station just like the FORD assembly line process.
If you suffer from Dairy or lactose intolerances, you can still enjoy this delicious recipe. Win-Win! We also have a Vegetable Tofu Ricotta Lasagna that was loved by even the carnivores in the crew.
Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms are perfectly delicious and herbed all on their own. However, we served ours with a delicious easy 5-minute sun-dried tomato pesto sauce (Coming to a monitor near you soon) or you could use a marinara sauce for dipping as well. Have you tried our Dairy-Free Polenta bites appetizer? Another fun and easy appetizer is simple roasted mini red peppers. They are fabulous all on their own or on top of a crostini.
If you love Zucchini blossoms, stay tuned because we have another Italian recipe with homemade pasta that is going to knock your socks off.
Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (GF & Vegan)
August 10, 2017
Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms are an Italian appetizer with a crispy crust and a cheesy filling wrapped up in a delicate zucchini blossom.
- Prep: 20 mins
- Cook: 20 mins
- Yields: 16 Appetizers
1Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.
2Clean and prepare zucchini blossoms. Do not wash them under running water or they will be ruined. If you need to, take a slightly damp cloth and remove any obvious dirt or bugs. Remove the outer 5 prong picker on the outside of the flower at the top of the stem, where the flower meets the stem.
3Slice open the flower lengthwise. Open the flower with your fingers gently.
4Remove the stamen with scissors or knife and dust off the pollen.
5If zucchini blossom stem is long, trim so that about 1 inch remains.
6Toast the panko bread crumbs in a dry frying pan until golden brown over low-medium heat. About 3 minutes (keep your eye on the crumbs, stir and do not burn in pan as they brown quite quickly) Remove from pan onto a plate to cool. Add dried basil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
7Make the ricotta herbed filling. In a medium bowl add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste.
8In a medium bowl add either your beaten egg (regular) or 1/3 cup of dairy free plain yogurt (vegan). If yogurt is too thick just thin with a little almond milk or water – about 1-2 teaspoons as needed to be consistency of beaten egg.
9Stuff the Zucchini Flowers. Place the ricotta herbed mixture in a baggie and cut the edge off or use a pastry bag and gently fill just enough stuffing to fill the zucchini blossoms so that the cheese can be covered by the flower. Close the flower and twist flower at the top to seal.
10Dunk the stuffed zucchini flower into either the egg (regular) or dairy free plain yogurt (vegan) on all sides to coat. Remove from mixture and then coat the exterior of the stuffed ricotta zucchini blossom with toasted herbed panko bread crumbs to cover all sides and edges.
11Place stuffed, dipped and coated zucchini flowers on to a lined parchment baking sheet or spray with a little olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with a little salt upon exiting the oven.
12Serve with a delightful sun-dried tomato pesto sauce or marinara sauce and Enjoy!