Zucchini Involtini with Almond Ricotta

Created by Laura Wright
4.89 from 9 votes

Zucchini involtini with almond ricotta is a rustic, beautiful, and delicious main course that's naturally vegan and grain-free.

An overhead shot of zucchini Involtini with almond ricotta in a grey enamelware baking dish on top of a white background.
An up close, overhead shot of 3 rolls of zucchini Involtini on a little moat of marinara sauce, plated on a white speckled plate. A fork is to the side.
A 3/4 angle shot of two basil plants in a pot, photographed outside. One is a bright green basil and the other is a deep burgundy variety of basil.
An overhead shot of ingredients for a vegan almond ricotta on top of a worn wood cutting board.
A side angle shot of ingredients for zucchini Involtini on top of a butcher block kitchen counter with white tile in the background.

Super rustic main courses like zucchini involtini are what summer cooking is all about. I’ll clarify that this one is totally fine to make on those summer nights when the temperatures aren’t still blazing hot. This recipe has a tiny bit of oven time–just a tiny bit! All of the components are cooked, so you’re just warming it all through.

We douse thin zucchini slices in olive oil, salt, and pepper and then we grill them to soften and char slightly. Those perfectly cooked zucchini slices form a nice tight roll around some creamy almond-based ricotta with lots of fresh basil thrown in. All of the dreamy-cheesy bundles are set into a vast pool of marinara and warmed through in the oven. I serve mine with chili flakes, extra chopped basil, and almond “parm.” Oh, and a couple glasses of wine :)

This is a naturally grain-free and vegan recipe that’s pretty simple to make. You could make the ricotta (minus the basil) up to five days in advance. Just keep it in a sealed container in the fridge and stir in the chopped basil when you’re ready to assemble the zucchini involtini.

Hope that you’re having the best summer ever. I can’t believe it’s already August tomorrow! Gotta make these next few weeks count, everybody. Love to you all.

An overhead shot of very thin zucchini slices, seasoned with salt and pepper.
An overhead shot of three grilled strips of zucchini with dollops of herbed almond ricotta on top, ready to be rolled up.
An overhead shot of zucchini Involtini being rolled up, assembled and placed in a baking dish with marinara.
An up close, overhead shot of zucchini Involtini with almond ricotta in a baking dish.The rolls of zucchini are topped with basil leaves.

Zucchini Involtini with Almond Ricotta

Zucchini involtini with almond ricotta is a rustic, beautiful, and delicious main course that's naturally vegan and grain-free.
4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings 4 (with sides)

Ingredients

Almond Ricotta

  • 1 cup sliced almonds, soaked for at least 1 hour
  • ¼ cup hot water, plus extra
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons light miso
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, finely sliced

Zucchini Involtini

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • olive oil (to coat/cook zucchini)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups prepared marinara sauce, plus extra
  • chili flakes
  • chopped fresh basil
  • vegan “parm”, for serving

Notes

  • I grilled my zucchini slices, but you could also just give them a quick sear in an oiled skillet over medium heat. You just want to soften them up a bit and get a bit of colour on the edges
  • The best tool for slicing uniformly thin zucchini is a Benriner mandolin. I’ve had mine forever and it continues to be one of my most used kitchen tools. A sharp Y-peeler is also great!
  • I went the convenience route and used jarred marinara. Use any recipe that you love if you want to DIY.
  • Sprinkles of almond-based “parm” are ideal here! I have a recipe posted here.

Instructions

  • Make the almond ricotta. First, drain the almonds. Then, in a food processor, combine the drained almonds, hot water, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, miso, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Run the motor until you have a smooth, ricotta-like texture, scraping the sides down a couple times. Add more water if necessary. Stir in the basil and set aside in the refrigerator.
  • Using a mandolin slicer or a very sharp knife, slice the zucchini lengthwise so that you get nice, even noodle-like slices that are still sturdy enough to go on a grill. You’ll need 16-20 total. Transfer slices to a large bowl and toss with enough olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat.
  • Preheat a grill over medium-high. Lay the slices of zucchini out over the grates and grill until light char marks are visible. Flip the zucchini over and cook until the other side is charred as well. Remove the grilled zucchini from the grill and place on a plate.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the marinara sauce into an 8 to 9-inch round dish.
  • Set up an assembly line with the grilled zucchini, almond ricotta, an empty dinner plate and the dish with the marinara.
  • Take one slice of grilled zucchini and lay it out on the dinner plate. Place 1 even tablespoon of the ricotta at the wider base of the zucchini. Carefully roll it up, ensuring that the ricotta doesn’t squeeze out the sides. Carefully place the rolled zucchini in the dish with the marinara. Repeat with the remaining zucchini and almond ricotta.
  • Once the dish is full and you’ve gone through all of your prep, cover the top of the dish with foil. Bake the zucchini involtini until warmed all the way through, about 25 minutes. Serve zucchini involtini with extra warmed marinara, chili flakes, chopped basil, and almond “parm.”
31/07/2019 (Last Updated 18/03/2024)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, gluten free, grain-free, grill, main course, quick, refined sugar-free, roasted, salty, side dish, sour, spring, summer, umami, vegan, winter

24 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Claudia

    5 stars
    Just prepped this for a labor day picnic. So much easier than anticipated. Almond ricotta made the night before. It looks beautiful in the pan and I’m certain will be a fan favorite today. Thanks, Laura, for your never ending plant based cooking creativity. You inspire me.

  • Bella

    This looks delicious! Is there any way I could use eggplant here instead?

    • Laura

      Hi Bella,
      You definitely could use eggplant instead! You will have to slice it a bit thicker, but it will be so delicious.
      -L

  • Samantha

    5 stars
    Made this last summer and it was bomb!! Definitely going to add it to next weeks meal plan

  • Tahara MacDonald

    4 stars
    Made this last night. I turned them on their end so I could cram more ricotta in each one. So yummy! I didn’t have miso so I subbed soya

  • Jocelyne

    5 stars
    Definitely one of my go to faves! 

  • Leah N

    This was so good, I have a ton of zucchini and this was a great way to use some of it up. I will be making this again soon. 

  • Angela

    5 stars
    Classic recipe in my kitchen. Simple and delicious! !

  • Jenny

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe! My vegan son and chef D-I-L loves it.  Also tasty for the no – vegans!  Thank you!

  • Bailey A Haines

    delicious and special

  • Hilary

    I have a soy allergy. Is there a substitute for the miso?

    • Laura

      There are lots of alternative misos available on the market these days. You can get soy-free ones made from chickpeas, barley, and rice. If you can’t find one of these options, I would recommend a teaspoon of coconut aminos.
      -L

  • CindyMac

    I have made these multiple times now. ALWAYS a huge hit w my GF/Dairyfree fam members. I prefer cashew to the almond but it all works exactly as shown. Delish.

  • Misty Pittman

    Me and a couple friends made this a few weekends back and it was fantastic! Definitely a fun thing to do with a group (we had an assembly line going), but I also wouldn’t hesitate to make it on a lazy Sunday afternoon and keep all the leftovers to myself. Surprisingly satisfying. We served up with sourdough bruschetta and sparkling wine.

  • Kayleigh McDougall

    Would this work just as well with normal ricotta cheese if you wanted to make it veggie but not necessarily vegan?

    • Laura

      Yes definitely!
      -L

  • kozy

    awesome!
    I’m going to the Leslieville FM tomorrow to get zuchs, making the ricotta as I type this (chopping whole, then soaking extra in warm water) … methinks instead of an oven, just gonna stick it back on the BBQ, save on heating the house and electricity ++ additional smokiness perhaps… I’ll let you know
    Love following you in IG! <3

  • Sarah

    Ugh, I just saw your directions above re: prep without a grill! Never mind! Very excited to give this a try!

    • Laura

      Glad that you got it sorted! ;)
      -L

  • Sarah

    This looks amazing, Laura! Quick question — if I don’t have easy access to a grill, is there some other way I might prep the zucchini? Or perhaps just save this for a BBQ at a friend’s house? Thank you!

  • Kristen

    Is there a substitute for the almonds? This looks so good, i have to make this nut free. Thanks

    • Laura

      The only appropriate nut-free substitute I can think of is an equal amount of soaked raw sunflower seeds. But even then, I think they may be a touch more gritty than this almond version. Definitely soak them for longer (about 3 hours) if you decide to try it. There’s also a great recipe for tofu-based ricotta on the Sweet Simple Vegan site. You can find it here.
      -L

    • CindyMac

      I use same amount of raw cashew and works beautifully