• Stuffed zucchini flowers (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns

Swap your bouquet of flowers for cheesy fillers and your head and heart will be in sync.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (68 votes)

"While the zucchini is loved around the Mediterranean, the flowers are also prized as the perfect vehicle for stuffing. This is a surefire easy recipe from chef Vanessa Martin who has made them her signature antipasto dish over the many years she has been cooking professionally. Her stuffing is delicious (especially if you opt for truffle pecorino!) and her quick frothy batter takes just a minute." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth 


  • 24 female zucchini flowers
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 tbsp rice flour
  • 300 ml cold soda water, approximately
  • canola oil, for frying


  • 250 g dry ricotta
  • 25 g (¼ cup) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated pecorino cheese or truffle pecorino 
  • 4 bocconcini cheese
  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
  • 50 g toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the filling, place the cheeses in a bowl and combine with your hands, breaking up the bocconcini as you go. Add the chives and pine nuts, then taste and season. Remember that some cheeses are slightly salty so taste prior to seasoning. 

Clean the flowers by removing the stamen (stalk) inside the bud. Trim the base of the stalk and make a cross 1 cm deep in the end. Take a heaped spoonful of filling and place inside the flower, then gently press to seal. Do not squeeze too tight as it will bruise the flower. Place on a tray and refrigerate until ready to fry.

For the batter, mix the flours in a large bowl. Whisk in the cold soda water to a make a batter thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it's too thick it will make the flower too heavy and if’s too thin the cheese will cook too quickly and ooze out and stem of the flower will be raw. Adjust with extra flour or soda water if necessary.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or large deep frying pan to 180°C. Coat each flower in plain flour, shaking off the excess, then dip each flower into batter. Slowly drop into the hot oil, making sure you don't overcrowd the pan as the temperature will drop and the flowers will absorb too much oil or they can stick all together. Fry until light golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel, then sprinkle with salt and eat as soon as possible. 


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Emma Warren. Creative concept by Belinda So.

Brand-new series Food Safari Earth airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand. For recipes and more visit the program site right here.