Baked Stuffed Squash Blossoms (Gluten- and Grain-free)

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Squash blossoms are popular in Mexican and Italian cooking, and it shouldn’t be surprising because the delicate beauty these edible flowers add to a recipe is undeniable. They are often added to soup, sauces and stuffed inside quesadillas. Sometimes they are dipped in flour, then stiff beaten eggs and fried. My quick and easy squash blossom snack is a healthy alternative to frying. A quick brush of chile sauce is added to heighten the flavor of the mild blossoms.

Squash blossoms are available in Mexican and Italian markets in late summer and early autumn. I have never seen them in a mainstream supermarket, but there’s always a chance they may show up. In case you live in the Los Angeles area, I purchased these beauties at the Tapatio Market in Bell Gardens.

You can eat the blossoms, stems and all. After baking, they can be arranged like a mandala in a plate for striking presentation. Adding a few splashes of red to the plate finished the presentation of this dish nicely.

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Ingredients:

1 bunch squash blossoms

cotija cheese (to taste)

2 tsp. chile sauce (I used Cholula Brand)

1 tsp. coconut or olive oil

herbs such as Mexican oregano, epazote, dill or chives (optional)

diced red vegetables such as red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes or pimentos for garnish

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Gently rinse the squash blossoms in cool water. Pat dry with paper towel.

3. Arrange blossoms on a parchment or baking paper covered baking sheet.

4. Stuff each blossom with a small piece of cotija cheese. Cotija is quite salty, so only a small (1/4 inch) crumble is needed.

5. In a cup or small bowl, mix the chile sauce and oil.

6. Brush each squash blossom with the chile/oil mixture.

7. Bake in the 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

8. To crisp up the blossoms after baking, broil the squash blossoms on high for one to two minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning them.

9. Arrange on a plate. Add something red, like slices of cherry tomatoes, bell peppers or pimentos, to make your presentation pop.

10. Enjoy as hors d’oeuvres at a celebration or as an afternoon or late night snack.

 

Note: If you are watching your sodium intake, replace the cotija cheese with queso fresco or another Mexican cheese that crumbles rather than melts.

Add some dried Mexican oregano and epazote for a more pungent flavor, or fresh dill and chives for a burst of freshness.

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