Monday, August 8, 2011

Ricotta Stuffed Baked Squash Blossoms

                                             Ricotta Stuffed Baked Squash Blossoms

I think I have a new favorite dinner! I was so happy to see these beautiful edible flowers at our local fresh52 farmer's market. I have never eaten or tried making them before so, it was a new and exciting experience. I had to put a few different recipes I found together and they turned out amazing! The flowers really don't have a strong taste but it is a nice way to make a ravioli type dish. Plus it is fun to tell your kids they are having flowers for dinner. The ricotta is so delicious. It is made from soaked raw cashews. Cashews are rich in iron, protein, magnesium ( beneficial for bone growth),  antioxidants, copper (good for flexibility in bones, joints and blood vessels), they also have been proven to protect against heart disease. I served this over quinoa pasta shells with a light tomato sauce. Any type of pasta would work . Gluten-free, vegan, contains cashews and  soy.

Batter Ingredients:
1. 2 cups Gf or wheat bread crumbs
2. 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
3. sea salt and black pepper to taste

The Filling: Ricotta nut cheese
Vegan Ricotta Cashew Nut "Cheese" by:
makes 2 1/2 cups

2 cups of soaked raw cashews/pinch of salt, drained
2 tsp garlic powder or 3 fresh garlic cloves
1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer (for richer flavor)
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice
*you can also use red wine or balsamic vinegar's if you prefer those flavors
1 Tbsp dried Italian herb blend
1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (or honey)
1/3 cup fresh chives or 1 green onion
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp minimum)
garnish: handful of fresh chopped chives or 1 green onion


1. Add raw cashews to a big bowl of water, add a pinch of salt. Soak in fridge overnight or at least for about 2-4 hours. More soaking, smoother texture.

2. Drain soaked cashews. Add them to a food processor.

3. Add in the vinegar or lemon juice, soy milk or creamer, agave and EVOO.

4. Blend on high until smooth. This may take a few minutes depending on the strength of your food processor. If your ricotta is looking too dry, add more soy milk and/or more EVOO. I used soy creamer which made my ricotta nice and creamy.

Batter Ingredients:
1. 2 cups Gf or wheat bread crumbs
2. 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
3. sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350. Take your cheese mixture and pipe it into each blossom gently ( I used a pastry filler). With your fingers or tongs, carefully dip each flower in non-dairy milk of choice then into the bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Repeat until all of your blossoms are filled and breaded. I had 10 with left over cheese. Spray a baking pan or use parchment paper under the blossoms. Bake at 350 for 12-15 mins. Serve over your favorite pasta with a drizzle of warm marinara. I made my own sauce with the recipe below.

Tomato sauce:
1 clove chopped garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sugar

Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat, stirring until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add all other ingredients and cook until sauce has thickened (around 25 mins).

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