I’m so excited that I actually, finally tried this. I’m here to tell you it’s so easy and so incredibly delicious. So if you planted too many squash plants, as I do every year, you won’t feel guilty grabbing some of the blossoms and making this delicious dish.
As an aside, most recipes call this dish an “appetizer”. I found them so rich and filling that I served them with a side salad and we were stuffed. Ha, get it? Anyway, they are totally filling enough for a main course.
Also, this recipe is all vegan and gluten-free, but of course, you can change it up. Here’s how: use ricotta in place of the cashews and parmesan in place of the nutritional yeast. And obviously, cow milk in place of plant–based milk and 1 egg for the breading, instead of the starch.
Here’s what you need:
For the cashew cheese
- 3/4 cup raw cashews soaked in water overnight, or do a quick soak*
- 1 Tablespoon miso paste
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
For the squash blossoms and breading
- 8 squash blossoms
- 1 cup plain non-dairy milk, unsweetened
- 1 Tablespoon kuzu root starch or cornstarch
- ½ cup gluten free baking flour
- Pinch of dried oregano
- Pinch of dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for frying
To make the cheese
- Drain the cashews and process them with miso paste, nutritional yeast flakes, and extra-virgin olive oil in a high-speed blender or food processer until completely blended & creamy. Stir in the chopped fresh basil until fully combined. The “cheese “will be very thick, which is what you want.
To make the squash blossoms and breading
- Tear a single seam down each blossom. Gently open each blossom and remove the pistils or stamen Rinse the blossoms and lightly & blot with a towel.
- Using a spoon and your fingers, generously fill each blossom, making sure that each one gets enough cheese before pressing the blossoms closed.
- Fill a small bowl with non-dairy milk and kuzu starch. Stir until the starch dissolves.
- On a separate plate, combine the flour, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Before breading the flowers, cover the bottom of a pan with oil, about ¼ inch deep. Set it to a medium-high heat and let it warm.
- Dip each flower into the milk mixture, shake to remove excess, and roll in the flour. Set aside on a plate while you finish the rest of the flowers.
- Put a pinch of flour in the pan, and if bubbles immediately form around it, the oil is hot and ready. Add the blossoms to the oil. Let them brown before turning, until each side is crisp and done. They will cook in about five minutes.
- When the blossoms are done, move them to a paper towel or kitchen towel-lined plate to drain excess oil and then serve.
Serve them straight up, or use your favorite pasta sauce as a dipping sauce. I like spicy arrabbiata and it was heaven!
*Quick Soak Method: Who has the time or forethought to soak overnight? Not I. So I discovered that if you throw the cashews in a pot and cover them with water, bring to a boil, turn off and cover for 15 minutes, it has the same effect.