Your new favorite no cook appetizer – healthy, light and delicious paleo + vegan zucchini rolls with home made herbed cashew ricotta, mint, avocado and crushed almonds. GF.
I love brainstorming recipe ideas with others. Nothing fills me with more excitement than talking about food and cooking with my favorite people. This recipe came to be thanks to one of my favorite cousins – D. She’s a couple years younger than me and for a while she used to tell me just how much she dreaded cooking and trips to the grocery store. This would break my heart.
I secretly knew she’d come around eventually, and luckily for me she has.
Literally the other week she called me, excited, gushing about her trip to the grocery store. I felt proud. This must be what mothers feel like whenthey are having a positive influence of their children.
For years I’ve been obsessed with food and cooking (always always claiming the only shopping I enjoy is grocery shopping) so when a former supermarket hater comes around – I feel personally responsible. Another person coming around to my side of things.
So now that she loves to cook too – a whole new world of topics has opened up to us – recipes, ingredients, cooking techniques. So that’s how I first came across this herbed cashew cream cheese recipe. My cousin sent it to me raving about it.
One thing I didn’t have for this recipe though – a cheesecloth (and apparently they are hard to come by, because I couldn’t find one at Wegman’s or Walmart) and I really had no idea how crucial that would be. Good thing, my cousin D, the new foodie in the family had already tested it and confirmed that I would not in fact be needing the cheesecloth – she made it without it and it worked. You see why I love swapping recipe notes with friends and family? That one tip just saved me $4 bucks.
Naturally I never follow the recipe as is so I had to add in some of my own touches (or the ones my cousin recommended)- most notably the nutritional yeast – key for a more cheesey taste. Seriously isn’t nutritional yeast the best cheesey addition to the vegan diet? For years I could not for the life of me find it in stores (and was always too stubborn to ask the employees for help), but once I spotted it, I always have some on hand (and it is always added to my vegan basil pesto).
This was my first attempt at making a vegan ricotta/cream cheese and I looooved it. As did both my parents and D (not my cousin D, my boyfriend D). It reminds me in texture of those Boursin cheeses – remember those little round ones? It has that perfect smooth and soft cheese consistency and is perfectly herby and cheesey in flavor. I think you could fool the average cheese lover into thinking this was a non vegan cashew cheese recipe.
What was I going to do with a big bowl of cashew ricotta though? I just so happened to remember that once upon a time (in a land of horribly ugly food photography) I made zucchini rolls with ricotta and slivered almonds. Why not use that as inspiration for a re-make with a much better cover photo and higher quality animal and gut friendly ingredients?
And so these vegan zucchini rolls with herbed cashew ricotta, mint and avocado came to me.
Avocados, just because I find the need to add avocados to any dish where it might work in the slightest.
And mint, because well mint and zucchini were made to be together. Those two are the best of friends and simply allow eachother’s flavors to shine. I could not think up a better flavor duo than zucchini and mint. When you have your first bite of these vegan zucchini roll your eyes will literally be bursting with flavor that your mouth is overwhelmed with.
It’s like that. Seriously. Get that mandolin out, thinly slice the zucchini and let those sit with a bit of sprinkled salt to remove some of that added moisture and then get rolling. Each zucchini slice is topped with a spoonful of herbed cashew ricotta, an avocado slice and a mint leaf.
It just looks friendly and happy, doesn’t it?
Meet your new favorite no cook appetizer.
Your new favorite no cook appetizer - healthy, light and delicious vegan zucchini rolls with home made herbed cashew rictotta, mint, avocado and crushed almonds. GF.
25 minPrep Time
25 minTotal Time
- 2-3 zucchini, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 1 - 2 avocado, halved and sliced
- handful mint leaves, separated
- 1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds, pounded
- For the Cashew Ricotta:
- 2 cups cashews, halved and soaked in water overnight, then rinsed and drained
- 4 - 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons chopped parlsey
- 4 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 1 lemon, zested
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
- Place thinly sliced zucchini slices on a paper towel and salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, dry the moisture that forms on top with a paper towel.
- In a blender or food processor blend cashews with viengar, lemon juice and water until smooth. This could take a few minutes.
- Remove from blender and place the cashew mixture in a large bowl. Add parsley, green onions, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Mix.
- Place each zucchini slice in front of you. Spoon the cashew ricotta onto the zucchini slice, top with a bit of almonds, a piece of avocado and a mint leaf.
- Roll the zucchini up.
- Repeat with remaining zucchini.
Recipe for cashew ricotta adapted from Free From Heaven