Fried squash blossoms with cashew cheese are a vegan appetizer that’s sure to impress! Delicate squash or zucchini blossoms are stuffed with cashew cheese, dredged in flour and spices, and shallow fried.
What results is an appetizer that you’ll be thinking about all year long, until squash blossom season comes around again.
Hey, you. Sitting at your laptop.
You know that you’ve thought about stuffing and frying delicate squash blossoms. You’ve seen them at the farmers market in their vibrant hues of yellows, greens, and orange.
But then you’ve stopped, wondering what you’d stuff them with, if they’d fall apart at the seams, if they’d be worth all the trouble.
I know, because I’ve been there. I was you, oh, but two days ago.
I’d heard friends wax poetic about the beauty of fried stuffed squash blossoms. But with no restaurants in the area offering such a thing, let alone a vegan version of the thing, it would mean I’d be in charge of the cashew soaking and processing, blossom dredging and sizzling…
So while I’ve seen squash blossoms at the farmers market, I’ve given a wanton look and then taken my adventurous culinary spirit to the stands selling oyster mushrooms and garlic scapes.
These have been worthy endeavors, sure. No regrets. But stuffed squash blossoms…
It’s not often that my husband bandies about “This tastes like something we’d get at Millennium…” But bandy he did. And referring to something I’ve made in our little kitchen as rivaling that of that legendary restaurant in the heart of the Bay Area… Well, that’s high praise.
Fried squash blossoms
So I encourage you to get some while the squash blossoms are still on offer at the farmers market. Do it before they’re replaced with the season of actual squash to be served with vegan gravy, orange cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes. All of those fall foods that are lovely, but can we postpone that a bit?
Before the opportunity passes I entreat you to pick up a handful of squash blossoms, fresh herbs, and some raw cashews.
One bite of the crisp outer breading through the slight give of the blossom and into the rich and decadent cashew cream, and you’ll have that experience that forces you to stop conversation and just sit with the total envelopment of taste satisfaction.
If you have any squash blossoms left over, you can make sauteed squash blossoms next! After all, the squash blossom season only lasts so long.
How to cook squash blossoms
Look for squash blossoms at your local farmers market. If a farmer usually sells zucchini or squash, that’s a good place to start. In my area, squash blossoms usually sell for $1 to $2 a bunch. You want fresh looking squash blossoms that aren’t wilty or withered.
Take them home, carefully rinse them, and inspect them for any bugs inside. If you find any, relocate them back to the outdoors. Carefully remove the pistil from inside of the flower.
Make the cashew cheese
Keep in mind that you’ll want to soak the cashews ahead of time for the cashew cheese filling. There’s not a lot of liquid in this cashew cheese, and so you’ll definitely want to soak the cashews in water for several hours first.
Drain the cashews, and then blend them in a food processor with miso paste, nutritional yeast flakes, and extra virgin olive oil. Add fresh chopped basil and combine.
One note: You might be tempted to omit the miso from the cheese, because organic miso can be pricey. Get the miso. It’s completely worth it for the hit of round notes and umami it brings to the blossoms.
Fill the squash blossoms
To fill the squash blossoms, use a cake decorating funnel bag or a plastic freezer bag with the corner cut off. Squeeze the bag until each blossom is generously filled.
Now it’s time to bread them. Fill a small bowl with plain non-dairy milk and cornstarch. On a separate plate, combine flour, oregano, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper.
Dip each filled blossom into the milk mixture, shake to remove any excess, and then roll each blossom in the flour mixture.
Fry the stuffed squash blossoms
Cover the bottom of a skillet with oil about 1/4 inch deep. Bring to a medium high heat and fry the flowers, turning occasionally as each side browns. They will fry fully in about five minutes.
Move the fried squash blossoms to a paper towel or kitchen towel-lined plate to drain excess oil and then serve.
Fried cashew cheese stuffed squash blossoms
For the cashew cheese
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 until completely blended. Add the chopped fresh basil and continue to blend until fully combined. The cheese will be very thick and paste like. That is a good thing, because it will help the blossom to seal shut, and it won't ooze out during the cooking process.
To make the squash blossoms and breading
- Gently open each blossom and remove the pistil. Tear a single seam down each blossom to give clearance for the cashew cheese. Check for any bugs inside of the flowers and relocate them, if needed. Gently rinse the blossoms and lightly blot with a towel.
- Fill a cake decorating funnel bag with the cashew cheese (or cut a corner off of a plastic freezer bag and use that to squeeze the cheese into the blossoms). Generously fill each blossom, making sure that each one gets enough cheese before pressing the blossoms closed with the sticky cashew cheese keeping them shut. Ideally you should use all of the cashew cheese mixture. (The flouring will also help encase the blossom, and so don't be afraid to be generous with the filling.)
- Fill a small bowl with non-dairy milk and cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves.
- On a separate plate, combine the flour, oregano, thyme, sage, 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. (Actually rolling the flowers through the flour will help set the cheese inside.) 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.