A simple side: sautéed squash blossoms

One of my favorite things about my husband is the unabashed excitement he expresses for the simple joys in life – a powerful thunderstorm, a contented cat, a good mail day, or cashew cheese-stuffed squash blossoms.  As we walk to the farmers market, there’s one thing David is certainly going to say…  “I wonder if they’ll have squash blossoms!”  He’s been asking this question since the market opened for spring in May.  Since May I’ve said the same thing, “They didn’t have them last year until August,” but his hopeful spirit knows no bounds.  As we scan the tables, paying particular notice to the gray-haired gentleman who sold them to us last year, week after week there are no blossoms in sight.  That is, until August hit, and then like an orange and yellow miracle, there they were packed in green boxes, their delicate blossoms curling into themselves.  We purchased two containers, eager for what was to come.

The next day I soaked cashews and almonds and moved my computer to the kitchen.  There I pulled up the recipe for fried cashew cheese-stuffed squash blossoms.  The cashew cheese spun in the food processor, and I remembered why I’d purchased my piping bag (for stuffing blossoms).  Then they were battered, stuffed, and fried until they were delicately crisp on the outside and warm and creamy on the inside.  For a light companion to this heavy appetizer, I served lentil soup.  With blissful smiles and contented bellies, we were left with one more container…

Before sautéing the blossoms, remove the pistils and hard stems.

Now, if you’re only going to have squash blossoms once this year, make the fried cashew cheese-stuffed appetizers.  They’re completely decadent and entirely worth it.  But if you’re looking for something to do with your blossoms that’s on the lighter side, they are lovely simply sautéed in garlic in a medium-hot pan.  The pan should be hot enough that the blooms wilt fast.  (If necessary, press them into the heat of the pan with a spatula.)  The blossoms, generally from zucchini plants, are mild and light, and they pick up the flavors of garlic wonderfully.  Of course, they are prone to shrinkage, and so 6 to 8 blossoms works as a small side for one.

To make the blossoms stretch, consider adding them to a pizza after they’ve been sautéed in garlic.  They go marvelously with caramelized onions, thinly sliced roasted potatoes, artichoke hearts, and a layer of pesto, marinara, or a combination of both.  As per usual, I put them on a cornmeal crust, but any crust would do.  (I think this pizza would be especially lovely with Kristy’s tofu chèvre.)

I have a couple more ideas up my sleeves before squash blossom season is over (and that’s hard to manage since I’m mostly wearing tank tops these days).  More on that later…

Sautéed Garlicky Squash Blossoms

Serves 1 as a small side or 2 on a small pizza

  • 2 teaspoons organic canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 squash blossoms, pistils and hard stems removed

In a medium-sized skillet, bring oil to a medium-high heat.  Sauté garlic in oil a minute or two, until fragrant.  Add squash blossoms to the pan and sauté until wilted.  Serve immediately or use as a pizza topping.

18 thoughts on “A simple side: sautéed squash blossoms

  1. Wow, this is so cool. I have never heard of or seen squash blossoms. It’s good to know that they are edible. The pizza and the fried cashew cheese stuffed blossoms look so delicious. Droool.

    • Apparently squash blossoms are popular in Mexican cooking. In addition to being stuffed and fried, they’re used in soups and quesadillas. They’re called flores de calabaza. Knowing this opens up a world of recipe ideas!

    • I admired them from afar for a while last year before I actually purchased them. This year, I didn’t wait an instant! Some people just use the flowers as a pretty edible garnish, and so if nothing else, they’d be a gorgeous addition to one of your raw dishes.

  2. i have blossom envy & i am kicking myself for not planting zucchini this year, if only to harvest the blossoms! if i can seek some out locally we’ll be feasting on your stuffed blossom recipe.

  3. So beautiful, Cadry! I love the way squash blossoms look. The fried ones sound delectable, and I love that they’re not deep-fried. If I come upon squash blossoms at the market, I may give this a try. (I thought when I planted squash this year I’d have lots of blossoms, but the plants completely disappeared, and I don’t even have squash stems. I think I have a squash curse.)

    • Thanks, Andrea! Try them if you get a chance! They’re definitely one of my favorite summertime treats, and easily the most decadent one. Sorry to hear about the squash curse! Last year I had such terrible luck trying to grow anything, I decided I’d use my “garden fund” for the farmers market instead! :)

  4. I have yet to see any squash blossoms in person. I’ve only just lusted after them on the internet (that makes me sound so creepy). I need to find them because in addition to stuffing them with cashew cheese, the pizza you described sounds amazing (thank you for mentioning the chèvre!). Perhaps next Wednesday, I will try to make my way to the huge Santa Monica farmers market… I need some squash blossoms in my life!

    • Good luck on your squash blossom search! A friend of mine in LA did a vegan pizza crawl a while back, and she got squash blossom pizza at one of the stops. The restaurant she said she was at was called “Street,” but I’m not aware of that one. In searching for more info, I saw that Pizzeria Mozza on Highland and in Newport have a squash blossom pizza, and their crust is vegan. I’ve never tried it there, but it could be worth checking it out!

  5. I was meant to find your site. I LOVE squash blossoms and haven’t had any for so long because I’m so use to them with cheese. I am going to have to try to make them with cashew cheese. What a wonderful idea. And the saute looks great!

    • Let me know if you try them! I only became aware of stuffed squash blossoms after I went vegan, and so I’ve never had the ones with animal-based cheese. I think you’ll love these!

  6. Despite growing a bumper crop of zucchini a few years back, I’m still yet to try squash blossoms. I’ve only seen recipes previously for stuffed and fried ones which sounds a bit fiddly so I love the sound of your recipe for it’s simplicity!

    • Yes, the stuffed, breaded, and fried ones are SO DELICIOUS, but they certainly take more time and effort than a simple sauté. Plus, there are only so many times in a season that a person can justify making a meal of fried blossoms stuffed with nut-based cheese! :)

  7. Thanks for sharing, Cadry! I don’t think I’ve ever seen these before, and if I had, I surely wouldn’t have known what to do with them. I like this simple side, and the stuffed ones look irresistible! I’ll be on the hunt for squash blossoms later today :)

    • Best of luck finding them at your farmers market! It’s not a bad idea to ask around to any of the growers who sell zucchini. If they know you’re interested, maybe they’d save a few for you next week! :)

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