This is my favorite way to prepare Italian Stuffed Zucchini Flowers -stuffed with mozzarella and goat cheese, dipped in a light batter, and fried. This delicious summer bite makes the most perfect appetizer.
Perhaps you didn’t know that the flowers that grow on a zucchini plant are edible and are just so lovely. There are so many ways to enjoy zucchini flowers.
Not only can they be stuffed, they could be added to a frittata, pasta, and even in a salad. They are delightful as a summertime appetizer, and go very well with a nice glass of Prosecco!
This is a simple recipe and just has a few steps to make these delights. First, you put together the filling mixture. You could customize to your liking, but we used goat cheese and mozzarella. Next, you put together the basic batter of just flour, salt and some sparkling water. The batter is so light, which results in nice and crispy flowers.
Where can I find zucchini flowers?
In case you don’t have a green thumb and a garden full of zucchini plants like my in-laws in Italy, you should be able to find them at farmers markets and some specialty markets. In Italy, they are packaged in bunches and I’ve seen them in the summer at every grocery store.
I wasn’t even planning on posting these photos. We make stuffed zucchini flowers every summer when we’re in Italy. It’s literally impossible to capture my mother-in-law cooking. She doesn’t like me hovering around with the camera and she moves really fast!
Last summer, my dear father-in-law passed away while we were in Italy. Domenico was the one that went down to the garden every morning to bring up the zucchini flowers he just picked.
This is the view from their garden. They grow every thing under the sun.
A day or so after he passed away, his dear friend Giuseppe rang the bell and brought my mother-in-law the most beautiful bouquet of zucchini flowers.
And yes, I risked my life to grab a hold of the bouquet to capture this quick photo without my mother-in-law catching me.
Since my mother-in-law wasn’t up to gardening, Giuseppe picked them for her. Look how gorgeous they are!
When to pick zucchini flowers?
I learn a lot from my suocera (my mother-in-law) when we visit them. Every day they would go to tend to the garden and I have been reprimanded for not picking the flowers correctly. The male flower is the only zucchini flower that should be picked.
My father-in-law would normally go to pick them right at sunrise. Just remember, early to mid morning is the best time to pick them while the flowers are fully open and easier to remove the stamen and easier to stuff.
Since the ones on stems do not turn into zucchini, that’s the ones you’ll want to look for. When you are ready to harvest some flowers, be sure to cut the stems 3m below the base of the zucchini blossom.
You could cut the flowers from the zucchini (my mother-in-law would not be happy!), just make sure the flower is big enough and you’re not removing any fruit with the flower.
Which flowers do I pick off my zucchini plant?
The zucchini plants have male and female flowers. You will want to pick the male, as the females grow the zucchini. Each plant will have more than enough male flowers. Just be sure to leave some behind for pollination.
You’ll recognize the male flowers, as they’ll have the long stems that are thin and there is no fruit at the end of the flower. The female flower will have the zucchini growing at the base.
Early to mid morning is the best time to pick them while the flowers are fully open and easier to remove the stamen and easier to stuff. Cut the stems about 3cm below the base of the flower. The ones on stems won’t turn into fruit; taking the flower off the fruit won’t hurt the fruit – just let the flowers get big enough to make sure you’re not picking off fruit with it.
Both the male flowers and female flowers can be picked and eaten, but the female blossoms are the only ones that will grow fruit, so it’s usually better to pick the male squash blossoms.
The ones that we cooked up on this day in Italy were the female ones. My mother-in-law is a very frugal shopper, and she even negotiates at the fruit + veggie markets. All I remember from = this day, she haggled down the vendor to get this case of zucchini and the flowers, and it was very, very inexpensive
What ingredients are in stuffed zucchini blossoms?
For the batter
- all-purpose flour
- San Pelligrino sparkling water, or club soda
- sea salt
For the stuffing
- zucchini flowers
- goat cheese
- shredded mozzarella
- fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
- sea salt
How do I prepare zucchini flowers?
Before you start cooking them up, clean them and make sure there are no ants inside or any other bugs. And while you’re cleaning them, remove the stamen. Also, rinse them out to make sure there isn’t any dirt inside. Gently dry them on a paper towel while you prep the filling and the batter.
How to Cut and Stuff Zucchini Flowers
- It’s best to use scissors to prep them. If you have the male flower with the stem attached, you’ll want to carefully remove the stamen. Be sure to leave a bit of the stem on the flower (½ inch of stem is perfect). Rinse them off and gently dry them.
- Handle them carefully while you add in your filling. You could use a pastry bag or a spoon to stuff in the filling. Close the flower around the filling and dip it in the batter. Fry on each side for 2-3 minutes. As soon as they’re golden brown, drain them on a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet.
Some other recipes to enjoy:
- Pasta with Zucchini and Potatoes
- Zucchini and Corn Fritters
- Easy Crustless Zucchini and Cheese Quiche
- Easy Marinated Zucchini
Italian Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
- FOR THE BATTER
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¾ cup plus 1 Tablespoon San Pelligrino sparkling water or club soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- FOR THE STUFFING
- 10 zucchini flowers flowers will vary in size (you may use more or less)
- 1 log of goat cheese room temperature
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 small fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes
- ½ teaspoon sea salt more to taste
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs. Whisk in the flour, cornstarch, sparkling water, and salt; set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the goat cheese, shredded mozzarella, and salt. Stir together until smooth. Carefully spoon 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons filling into each blossom. Add a cube of mozzarella into the filling and gently twist the blossoms to seal it around the filling.
- You could also add the filling mixture to a zip locked or piping bag. If using pastry bag (or zipped lock bag with corner cut off), pipe about two tsp. cheese mixture into each zucchini blossom.
- Twist the petals at the top to keep the filling from spilling out during frying.
- In a large frying pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom (oil should reach 350F).
- When oil is hot, dip each stuffed blossom in the batter, letting any excess batter drip off.
- Add the blossoms to the pan, without crowding them, and fry 2-3 minutes each side until they are golden brown, turning occasionally.
- Place the blossoms on a paper tile lined dish or baking sheet to drain. Enjoy while they’re hot!
Male blossoms will have a pollen-covered stamen inside which you want to gently remove before stuffing.
Female blossoms will usually have the beginnings of a baby zucchini growing in place of a stem (the ones that we actually fried for these photos).