Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe


I threw together this zucchini-flecked ricotta cheesecake when I got home from the farmers' market the other day. The green and yellow squash skins along with a nice amount of chopped dill visually pepper the interior of this savory cake. I used just enough egg to hold things together, creating a simple batter made primarily of ricotta cheese but also flavored with a bit of garlic, shallots, lemon zest, and a few straggler ingredients I found lounging around the kitchen seeking higher purpose. Lighter and less egg-y than a quiche it takes a while to bake, but minimal time ahead of that. I suspect that along with a few sides, it would be a welcome addition to any picnic basket.

Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe

Keep in mind this is a ricotta based cheesecake - not one based on cream cheese. The texture is going to be different (and delicious) in its own right .


Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake

To shred the zucchini use a box grater - most micro planes are too fine, you want shredded zucchini, not mush. Feel free to play around with the "add-in" ingredients - for example, use whatever chopped herbs you like. I had dill on hand, and I like how it tastes with summer squash, so dill it was. I suspect anything from chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or chives, to spices, chopped spinach, or corn could work here. Also, when I have the time and inclination I'll drain the ricotta through cheesecloth to get even more moisture out of the cake, but to be honest, most times I won't bother. Lastly, I use a springform pan here, but you could use an equivalent baking dish or deep tart pan as well.

2 cups zucchini, unpeeled & grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 325F degrees, racks the middle. Butter/oil a 7-inch springform pan.

In a strainer, toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and let sit for ten minutes. Now aggressively squeeze and press out as much moisture as you can. Set aside.

In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, shallots, garlic, dill and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs and continue mixing until well combined. Now stir in the shredded zucchini. Fill the springform pan with the ricotta mixture and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for sixty minutes. If there is any moisture left on top of the cake at this point, carefully use a bit of paper towel to dab it off. Now sprinkle with the goat cheese and return to the oven for another 20 -30 minutes or until the goat cheese is melted and the cake barely jiggles in the center (it will set up more as it cools).

At this point, if the cake is baked and set, but the top isn't quite golden, I'll zap it with the broiler (just about a minute) to get a bit more color on top. Remove from the oven and let cool five minutes, then release the cake from its pan. Cool completely, serve at room temperature drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a few sprigs of dill.

Serves 8.

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Comments


Mireille

Wow, this looks delicious! I love to think of ways to "savourize" dishes, which are normally dessert.

July 30, 2008
 

It looks fab. I love the top, all brown and rustic. Would make a wonderful lunch.

July 30, 2008
 

It looks like a frittata, but I love the addition of ricotta, to create a light texture and a boost of flavor. I might even add some sauteed corn...
Looks wonderful - a perfect dish for a brunch!

July 30, 2008
 

Perfect timing! I made my first ever ricotta last week (here's a picture) and I'm picking up another batch of milk tomorrow. The farmer said he was saving me extra so I could make more cheese.

I know what I'll be making with it!

July 30, 2008
 

Mmm... that looks good. :)

July 31, 2008
 

Mmmm, this would make an excellent lunch for us these days. Thanks!

July 31, 2008
 

You're always one step ahead of me! I planned to bake something with zucchini over this weekend. it's freakish. you always post what I've been wanting to make.
looks great.:)
I think ricotta is a wonderful cheese to combine, more delicate in flavor.

July 31, 2008
 

What an uncommon-looking savory cheesecake! It looks more like a quiche -- I can't wait to try it. I wonder though how it would do with Brie. I've been experimenting with Brie these days -- it may be too soft to set after being warmed, but I think I'll give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration. I'll let you know how I fare!

July 31, 2008
 

Alie

I am definitely making this over the weekend! I've tried a few of your recipes and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I love your blog!

July 31, 2008
 

It certainly looks good and seasonal for sure.

July 31, 2008
 

This sounds delicious. I've been using the recipe you posted for ricotta cheese (an archived post) quite a bit lately. This will have to be dinner for me soon.

July 31, 2008
 

i have a surfeit of FM carrots and dill right now, so i think i'll try it with that instead of the zucchini. can't wait- this will make a perfect summer lunch.

July 31, 2008
 

Pam

Heidi, quick question for you, and I'm sorry to post it here, but the recipes in question are closed to comments now. I have been inundated with fruit from our CSA share and was planning to make some of the cakes you posted earlier this month - i.e., the buttermilk cake and the cobbler, using up as much as possible of the plums, apricots and berries I have on hand. What I'd like to do is freeze the cakes to take with us when we head to the beach in August. Have you tried freezing these? Do you think they'd freeze well? My guess is the buttermilk cake would be ok, but I'm not sure about the cobbler.
Thanks so much. Btw, great timing on the zucchini recipes - we're getting tons of those, too! I made the zucchini bread several times last year and it is fabulous :-).
Pam in Arlington, VA

July 31, 2008
 

Heather

Wow, this looks incredible! And much better for you than cheesecake....the savory stuff always pulls me in more anyway.

July 31, 2008
 

I can't eat the cream cheese based cheesecakes, so this will be fantastic for me. It looks so lovely and rustic.

July 31, 2008
 

Deborah

This looks fabulous and very elegant in a rustic way. It might be really interesting to do a variation on it with slicing the zucchini and mixing it with a chunky pasta like rigatoni. Bake it in a casserole and top with a little extra Parm. What a great flavor combo this is.

July 31, 2008
 

Deborah

This looks fabulous and very elegant in a rustic way. It might be really interesting to do a variation on it with slicing the zucchini and mixing it with a chunky pasta like rigatoni. Bake it in a casserole and top with a little extra Parm. What a great flavor combo this is.

July 31, 2008
 

This looks so wonderful what a great combination! You always have great recipes -

Cheers
Cathy
www.wheresmydamnanswer.com

July 31, 2008
 

Heidi--this looks incredible! I'm going to a potluck dinner party next week, and the host is gluten-free. This is *perfect*. I can't wait to make it (and eat it!).

I also have an unrelated question. I've been running across a lot of summer recipes calling for "mint". But, given that peppermint and spearmint (not to mention the countless other varieties!) are such different flavors, I'm confused which one to use. When you call for "mint" in a recipe, which do you have in mind?

thanks-thanks-thanks!

July 31, 2008
 

Pat

This looks really delicious and I always look forward to receiving your recipes. They're creative and fun to make. Thanks!

July 31, 2008
 

yum! I make a very similar version using spinach all throughout the year -- it's so easy and delicious!

I have some gargantuan summer squash in my garden right now, so I'll have to give this version a try! Thanks!

July 31, 2008
 

YUM! I was just looking for a recipe to use up my zucchini. Fantastic. Thanks for the great recipe, as always, Heidi.

Sheila
www.livewell360.com

July 31, 2008
 

Stephanie

If you want to use up your zucchini try also the "Quinoa and Grilled Zucchini" recipe here - it will blow you away. Best Quinoa recipe ever. (well, at least to my mouth)

July 31, 2008
 

A savory cheesecake, eh?? Interesting!!

July 31, 2008
 

Lori

Perfect recipe to use up an abundance of fresh zucchini. Plus, your timing is impeccable...the LA Times says today is National Cheesecake Day! (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2008/07/celebrate-natio.html)

July 31, 2008
 

This looks great. Dill and summer squash are fantastic together!

July 31, 2008
 

Look absolutely delicious and I love zuchhini and ricotta!! xxGloria

July 31, 2008
 

Holly B.

Hi heidi:

I am loyal, if quiet, reader and have been so pleased with many of your recipes (you're my first source in the "what can I do NEW" recipe search).

Anyway, I'm thinking--would it work to halve and bak in individual ramekins? The BF and I are cheese lovers to the point that is is scary to have enough ricotta cheesecake around for 8 and realize suddenly that we've only fed 2. So, I'm looking for ways to make it a bit more manageable for small households.

Holly B

July 31, 2008
 

Oh, this is mouth watering! And a great use for zucchini!

July 31, 2008
 

Beautiful!

July 31, 2008
 

Lovely!

July 31, 2008
 

Lily

This looks delicious!!

July 31, 2008
 

Ooh... in a couple weeks I'm planning on making my own Ricotta at a workshop at Whole Foods.. what a perfect use!! Fabulous.

July 31, 2008
 

oh this looks so so good. I think I'll have to make this this weekend

July 31, 2008
 

Hey! Great idea. We just got an overly large zucchini (about the size of a small dog) and I have been pondering the ways to use it. Coincidentally, I also have ricotta lurking in the fridge and waiting to go bad before I use it. Triple play: about eight herbs in big, beautiful form in my garden out back.

Perfect, unfussy summer menu addition! Thanks.

July 31, 2008
 

This recipe looks really good, it amazes me how you can do with zucchini- Wow cheese cake now.

July 31, 2008
 

Hi Heidi

I love your approach to food, simple, organic and delicious! The "cheesecake" looks really good, I am a vegetarian so I am looking forward to trying this recipe at home. I have a question about the baking. Did you do a water bath, as in most cheesecakes, or not? My spring form pan leaks... so I wanted to know which pan to use. I appreciate your help.
Thanks!

July 31, 2008
 

This sounds so good!!

July 31, 2008
 

Sounds amazing. Comfort food for summer!

July 31, 2008
 

anniem

Heidi, I made it and it was delicious. A bit similar to a tried and true one that I make frequently. Recipe below. Note; like you, I say grate the zucchini but in the interests of speed I take them to a coarse chop in the processor and it works just fine.
4 medium zucchini grated [or chopped coarsely]
1 large onion finely chopped
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup selfraising flour
1/2 cup olive oil
5 eggs beaten
3 rashers chopped bacon [omit for vego option]
salt and pepper
Mix it all together and pour into large flan dish. Bake 180 Celsius 30-40mins till golden and firm on edge but still a bit soft in middle. Serve hot warm or room temperature. It never disappoints and everyone seems to like it but yours made a good change.

July 31, 2008
 

This looks like a gorgeous dish. Your pictures are so crisp and beautiful.

July 31, 2008
 

Oh Heidi, glorious, glorious recipe. Love the idea of a savoury ricotta cheesecake. I can imagine using this basic idea in many, many different ways.

July 31, 2008
 

Lynette

Another great way to deal to those "triffid zuchinni" Heidi. I loved also Jen's (Modern Beet), version with spinach as it makes it perfect for this time of year down under.

July 31, 2008
 

Chuy

A rose, um, I mean a fritatta, by another name tastes....

July 31, 2008
 

Libby Dornbush

To Pam who asked about freezing these cake/berry mixtures. I did a few pans of blueberry grunt last month, took one out several days ago, and it was great. I let it thaw, then just reheated it briefly before serving. So I'd definitely give the cobblers a try

August 1, 2008
 

A friend sent me one of your recipes via email last night and I loved it. I am brand new to your blog and am finding so many great menu ideas here. I am adding you as a permanent link on my blog. Keep up the good work...Rosemary
http://contentinacottage.blogspot.com

August 1, 2008
 

My neighbors must think I'm absolutely insane as every time I visit your blog I call out "Oh my goodness!"

You rock :)

August 1, 2008
 

chandler

I served this warm right out of the oven last night alongside the previous recipe, herb salad, and I was in food heaven. To begin with, these recipes are almost always balanced visually with colors and contrasts and textures which is an immense component of food satisfaction for me. The texture variations in each recipe add a very gratifying dimension which I find missing in much day to day fare. Finally, the flavor combinations used in so many of these recipes are as bold and rewarding to the palate as the above-mentioned colors, contrasts, and textures are to the eye. Finally, if ever I am dubious of a recipe - either by title or list of ingredients, I am often clinched by the photography. Pleasure in every realm! Innumerable thanks! CC

August 1, 2008
 

This cheesecake would definitely be a welcome addition to my picnic basket that's for sure. I love savoury cakes like this as I really, really don't dig sweet things at all. Just don't get it. Fruit is sweet enough for me. I'm really curious as to the final texture of the cake, was it still kind of pillowy inside?

August 1, 2008
 

Kristin

Great recipe idea--Look forward to trying it out for a concert in Prospect Park this weekend!

August 1, 2008
 

Emily

Loved this idea Heidi! I just made the recipe and it's cooking on my counter. If it tastes half as good as it looks, we're in business.

As I didn't have a 7" springform, I used a large tart pan and reduced the initial cooking time to 45 minutes, with an additional 15 after the addition of the goat cheese...seems to have worked!

August 1, 2008
 

Whoa! yummy. thanks for the share.

August 1, 2008
 

I made a variation of your recipe last night - fabulous! Added just-picked green beans from the garden, lots of herbs, and, since dairy is not our thing, instead of the cheeses I used tofu (have to try it with the softer silky kind next time for a change of pace). An excellent meal.
I also took the liberty of linking to 101cookbooks.com from my blog since your recipes are a perfect complement to organically grown foods - I didn't think you'd mind ;)

August 2, 2008
 

Betsy Lahaussois

I found some pumpkin shaped zucchini at the market, and stuffed them with something inspired by your recipe....(actually I used a bunch of chard, sauteed and squeezed dry, along with the grated insides of the zucchini, ricotta, parmisan, two egg yellows but no whites to keep it drier, etc.) Filled the little globes, put their hats back on, placed in an oiled dish, and baked. I think they will be really good--I plan to serve them at room temperature as an appetizer tonight.

August 2, 2008
 

Lisa

I made this with egg whites instead of whole eggs and low fat ricotta. I also used chives instead of dill (didn't grow any this year.) It was light and delicious. The smell coming out of the oven was amazing. I made it as an appetizer for a light dinner, but it would be a wonderful addition to brunch. Very nice!

HS: Sounds great Lisa, glad it worked out with the substitutions.

August 2, 2008
 

This one's a keeper! I made the ricotta first and drained it well, and used a grated zucchini-like squash and some fresh corn. My pan was a little bigger, so it came out skinnier than yours, but tasted fabulous, both warm and chilled overnight. (Photos here.)

This is a perfect use for homemade ricotta. Thanks for the inspiration!

August 2, 2008
 

Angelica

I am having this one for supper tonight -- have just sprinkled the goat cheese and it looks amazing! I have added a bit of sun dried tomatoes too. Thanks Heidi! : )

August 2, 2008
 

The p and a delicious chronicles!!

it seems lovely... i have to try it

August 2, 2008
 

Geekgirl

Wow - this was so good! Even the picky teenagers in my house loved it. I made it after getting home from work last night and the only drawback was the long cooking time since everyone was famished. But all agreed the wait was worth it. Needless to say, we didn't wait for it to cool to room temperature but ate it warm out of the oven.

I wonder if this is one of those dishes that's even better the next day? Not that it would last that long at our house!

I didn't have goat cheese on hand but did crumble some feta over the top. Also substituted lemon thyme for the dill. Definitely a dish I'll be making again and experimenting with!

August 2, 2008
 

Amy

This was great. I just made it and I loved the subtle flavors. DEFINITELY be sure to broil it for a few minutes at the end to get that crisp, brown top. Delicious recipe, Heidi. Many thanks!

August 2, 2008
 

I love the idea of a savory cheesecake! This is a great twist on the classic them and wonderfully seasonal. Thanks!

August 3, 2008
 

Biz319

I made this last night - SO GOOD! The only thing I changed was I used Egg Beaters instead of eggs. Came out so light and fluffy. A great way to use up zucchini other than making bread. Thanks Heidi!

August 3, 2008
 

Isin

Delicious ! I frequently cook this dish either with my mom's method or with a traditional Anatolian recipe. Both are almost similar to yours. My mom's recipe includes also grated potatoes to make it less juicy and avoid pre-cooking. I strongly advise !! The traditional dish involves boiled rice, the reasoning behind is presumably the same.
Both versions include less cheese though.

I like it with a lot of fresh greens, not only dill but also parsley and basil work very well. Goes very well with a nice yoghurt sauce.

August 3, 2008
 

I made this today and it was delicious. I think that next time i might eliminate the goat cheese and use many more vegetables in the filling.

it was a hit at my brother's 50th birthday party!

August 3, 2008
 

I made this this evening. It was wonderful! Thank you yet again for another amazing recipe.

August 3, 2008
 

I've made almost an identical dish, but I called it a zucchini ricotta frittata because it was more based on eggs than cheese but the flavor was incredible. I almost forgot about it, I need to relive that recipe it was an excellent meal. I used rosemary and thyme to season it which combined the simple flavors nicely.

August 3, 2008
 

Anna

I just made this today for myself and housemates with basil and sun dried tomatoes - everyone loved it! delish!

August 3, 2008
 

Heidi, this looks spectacular. I would love to give this a try - tks for sharing!

August 4, 2008
 

Divine. I have a friend who is fanatical about savory cheesecakes. I have been enjoying his herby cheesecakes that combine cream cheese with other cheese for a while. I dont think we've attempted a ricotta base yet though. Interesting idea.

August 4, 2008
 

Edith

I made this for brunch yesterday. I didn't have a 7" pan so I used a springform that was a little larger and baked it for 45 minutes, added the goat cheese and baked it for another 10 minutes. We did wait 5 minutes before trying the cheesecake. Delicious. It would be a great recipe for a company brunch.

August 4, 2008
 

Annie

LOVE this recipe! I made it this weekend after picking up most of the ingredients from farmer's markets. The only change I made was to sub a bit of parmesan in place of the goat cheese on the top before the last 20 minutes of baking.

I'm actually lunching on a left over piece right now, crumbled on a bed of mixed baby lettuces & baby roma tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil - DELICIOUS!

August 4, 2008
 

Vince

I actually make something similar to this with feta, scallions and flat-leafed parsley. Served with a dollop of strained yogurt, yum. Can't wait to try your version though!

August 5, 2008
 

Ariel

made this with thyme for dinner tonight. Yummy, so good that my husband kept cutting off little slivers after he was full. I will be cutting back on the zest next time though, it came across a little heavy.

August 5, 2008
 

i am eating a piece right now. yum! this site is so wonderful. i don't mean to be overly gushy. it is just so, so perfect.

OK! so! i only have a 9 inch springform pan, so i upped the ricotta to 4c, the eggs to 4 eggs, the zucchini to 3c, etc. everything the same, but a wee bit more. the 4c ricotta & 4 eggs worked out great for the 9 inch pan.

also on the herbs: i put in handfuls of finely chopped whatever-my-husband-brought-in-from-the-garden. we have no dill (it died.) tons of tender herbs (tarragon, basil parsley)--a hit.

August 6, 2008