Zucchini flowers are in season here in Italy and they are popping up all over restaurant menus. They often appear on menus in the traditional Roman way which is with a mozzarella and anchovy stuffing and are then battered and deep fried. Other traditional ways of preparing them are stuffing them with cheese, or making them with pasta or risotto, but the inspiration for this recipe came from dinner out the other night. I had a cheat night, which I have to say that I have had too many of them lately and I am ready to get back on track, but cheat nights aside, I had a fabulous stuffed zucchini flower with a French sort of ricotta with herbs that was pan fried. This recipe is my healthy take on the one I had at the bistro the other night. I subbed the cheese for cashews and tofu, to make it a little lighter in calories and fat, and then added in a good dose of basil, and it turned out fantastically! It ended up not taking much time at all to make either, bonus!
Cashew Basil Ricotta
1/2 c. silken tofu
1/2 c. cashews
1/2 vegetable stock cube
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
6 basil leaves
1/2 Tbs cornstarch
6 zucchini flowers
1. Soak the cashews using the quick-soak method (30 mins in hot water). In the meantime clean the zucchini flowers out by removing the stem inside (I learned this afterwards, oops! you can still eat it though). Once the cashews have soaked long enough blend all the ingredients together (except the flowers ;))
2. Spoon the mixture into the flowers, make sure not to fill them too much so you can twist the tops closed. Place the stuffed flowers in a hot pan with about 2 Tbs of olive oil. Brown each side – about 5 minutes on each side.
I served these with traditional bruschetta and a this salad http://haveashnick.com/2013/05/23/beets-of-my-heart/ with a simple tahini dressing. It was a super yummy dinner!
* This makes more than 6 flowers, I ended up having enough left over to make 7, but normally they sell them in packs of 6 here so I kept the left overs and made this https://vivatheveg.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/lunch-idea-stacked-english-muffin/ with it!