Castagnaccio – Tuscan Chestnut Cake

Castagnaccio Toscano is a characteristic chestnut flat cake from the Tuscan region.

This cake is based on chestnut flour, with the addition of olive oil, pine nuts, walnuts, raisins and… rosemary!

Its taste is very unique (atypical for a cake) and it’s ideal for the ones who like desserts that are not too sweet.

In fact, it is sugar-free! Though, you can still add sugar if you can’t do without it (check the “note” section at the end of recipe). It is also gluten-free!

A hand holds a slice of castagnaccio (Italian chestnut cake). In the background, the remaining castagnaccio, some chestnuts and rosemary.


Castagnaccio doesn’t have a clear origin. In fact, due to the presence of chestnut trees in many of the Italian Northern regions, this cake had been a popular street-food in many areas of the Country.

Castagnaccio is even mentioned in a report of the 15th century by an Augustinian priest.

From 1800, Tuscans started exporting this cake to the Southern Italy market.

Legend says that the rosemary leaves of the castagnaccio are like a love potion: a guy that eats a piece given from the hands of a girl, will fall completely in love with her.

Tuscan Castagnaccio

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Soaking Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 people
Traditional chestnut flat cake from Tuscany.


  • bowl
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • whisk
  • spatula
  • circular baking tray (32Ø)


  • 500 g chestnut flour (17.63 oz)
  • 700/750 g water (26.45 oz)
  • 80 g pine nuts (2.82 oz)
  • 80 g raisins (2.82 oz)
  • 80 g walnuts (2.82 oz)
  • 1 rosemary twig
  • extra virgin olive oil (1.41 oz)
  • salt
  • water for soaking


  • Soak the raisins in some water for 10 minutes.
  • Peel off the rosemary, then roughly cut the walnuts.
  • In the bowl, combine flour with water and mix with the whisk until there are no more lumps. You should reach a creamy and homogeneous consistency: depending on the chestnut flour you are using, you may need more or less water.
  • Add the chopped walnuts, the rosemary needles and the pine nuts to the bowl. Remember to leave a small part for the decoration on top.
    Now add the wrong-out raisins and 1 levelled tsp of salt. Mix with the spatula until all the ingredients are well combined.
  • Oil the baking tray, then pour the mixture and level it.
    Garnish the surface with the dried fruit and the rosemary you put apart, then finish with some olive oil.
    Bake at 190°C (374°F), in pre-heated static oven for 30 minutes.
    Leave it to cool down completely before serving.


If you like, you can add 20g of sugar.
Storage: 5 days in a cake container or Tupperware.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Keyword: autumn, chestnut
Castagnaccio (Italian chestnut cake) on a cutting board. Some chestnuts and rosemary around it.

Get in Touch!

If you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag @myitalianvegan on socials. We would love to see the result!

If you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below. We love hearing from you!

Italian Vegan Ricotta Cheese

Vegan Ricotta is the plant-based substitute to dairy ricotta cheese. It’s a fresh and soft cheese made with soya milk.

Ricotta is a key ingredient for many Italian recipes. But you can also eat it on its own or spread on bread.

Stay tuned because next weekend we will publish a great traditional recipe that includes our Vegan Ricotta! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram.

Soy based vegan ricotta cheese ingredients: soya milk and magnesium chloride (nigari).

Origin of Ricotta Cheese

The origin of traditional dairy ricotta dates back even to the Sumerian and Ancient Egyptian civilisations.

In the renowned poem The Odyssey, the one-eyed giant Polyphemus is actually making ricotta when he first meets Ulysses! This proves that ricotta was common during ancient Greek times and, later on, during ancient Rome times.

During the Middle Ages, ricotta was a really popular food.

How to Make Vegan Ricotta Cheese

Vegan Ricotta Cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes
Resting time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 140 g (approx.)
Soya-based substitute of the Italian ricotta.


  • pot
  • wooden spoon
  • strainer
  • big bowl/pot
  • cheesecloth/clean kitchen towel
  • ricotta mould – optional


  • 1 l unsweetened soya milk* (33.81 fluid oz)
  • 1 tsp magnesium chloride (nigari)**


  • In the pot, bring the milk to boiling point. Turn off the heat and add 1 level tsp of nigari, previously dissolved in 30ml of water. Gently mix with the wooden spoon for 1 minute. Cover with a lid and let it cool down for about 15 minutes.
    Be careful: do not add a heaping tsp of nigari otherwise the final result will be slightly bitter (edible but bitter).
  • Place the strainer over a big pot or bowl and cover it with the cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel. Pour the curdled soya milk into the strainer and wrap it with the edges of the cloth/towel.
    Make sure that the bottom of the strainer doesn't touch the draining liquid.
    Let it drain in the fridge for 2 hours. Once it is well drained, your ricotta is ready to be consumed or used both in savoury and sweet preparations.
  • If you like, you can transfer the ricotta in the traditional ricotta mould to give it the traditional shape.


*We recommend you to use a milk with a high percentage of soya (7% or more) – you can check it on the ingredient list of the product.
**You can substitute magnesium chloride with 30ml of lemon juice. Just add it to the milk once it has reached the boiling point, without dissolving it in water.
Course: Snack, Starter
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Keyword: cheese, gluten free, milk, soy
Soy based vegan ricotta cheese on a plate.

Get in Touch!

If you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag @myitalianvegan on socials. We would love to see the result!

If you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below. We love hearing from you!

Vegan Custard or Pastry Cream

Vegan Custard is as simple as it sounds. Everyone knows what a traditional custard is. It’s an egg-based cream that we can find in a multitude of preparations.

In Italy, we don’t differ between custard and pastry cream: for us, it’s always crema pasticcera. In this article, we often use these two terms as synonyms even if we know that in English they are not. Apologies!

You can eat the custard as it is or, more frequently, use the pastry cream as a base ingredient for other sweet preparations.

Vegan Pastry Cream is a plant-based and cruelty-free alternative. It’s absolutely delicious and similar to the traditional custard. You can successfully use it in every preparation that includes custard.

Our recipe is 100% egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.

It’s a cheap and quick recipe to make at home. The ingredients are soya milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract (recommended but optional).

Even if the original custard was not created in Italy (but in France), this is nowadays a basic ingredient for many Italian traditional desserts.

Vegan Custard ingredients: soy milk, cornstarch, sugar, turmeric.

Recipes with Vegan Custard

As we said before, you can use Vegan Custard in any recipe that would include the traditional custard.

Stay connected because next weekend we’ll publish a traditional Italian dessert that includes custard. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram so that you don’t miss any future recipes!

5 Italian Recipes with Vegan Custard (Pastry Cream)

Once you have your creamy Vegan Custard you may be looking for tasty recipe ideas that include it. Here is a list of 10 traditional Italian desserts that include custard.

  1. Vegan Grandma’s Custard Pie (Torta della Nonna)
  2. Vegan Cream Filled Donuts (Bombe alla Crema)
  3. Vegan Lecce Pies (Pasticciotti)
  4. Vegan Fruit Pie (Crostata di Frutta)
  5. Vegan Cream Filled Croissant (Cornetto alla Crema)

Origin of Custard

The traditional custard (made with eggs) was not created in Italy but in France by François Massialot.

He is the author of the book Le cuisinier roïal et bourgeois. It’s considered, by the cuisine scholars, one of the first culinary dictionaries and it includes the crème pâtissière (custard/pastry cream).

Later on, the English translated his works in The Court and Country Cook (1702), sharing his recipes with many chefs and cooks in the World.

It is now a basic ingredient of many culinary traditions, including the Italian one.

Vegan custard represents an evolution of this recipe. It mimics its look and taste and you can use it in every recipe that includes custard.

Vegan Lemon Curd

Starting from Vegan Custard you can easily make Lemon Curd.

It’s originally from England but it is also used in Italian recipes – where it’s called crema al limone.

Just follow the additional step in the recipe to have your plant-based Lemon Curd!

Vegan Custard / Pastry Cream

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 450 g
Plant-based custard and pastry cream.


  • pot
  • whisk
  • cling film


  • 500 ml soya milk (16.9 fluid oz)
  • 90 g sugar (2.82 oz)
  • 50 g cornstarch (1.76 oz)
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract – optional
  • 1 lemon zest (only for lemon curd)


  • In the pot, add the sugar and the cornstarch. Gradually add the milk while whisking.
    Add a pinch of tumeric for the colour and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
    If you wish to make Lemon Curd, also add the zest of 1 lemon. If you want to make simple custard or pastry cream, just skip to the next step.
  • Cook at medium heat until the cream thickens, continuinig to whisk to avoid the formation of lumps.
  • Now leave the custard to cool down covered with some cling film in contact with the surface of the custard.


In the fridge: 3-4 days in Tupperware. When needed, you can blend it with a hand blender to make it creamy again.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: british, english, French, Italian, Vegan
Keyword: cheap, dairy free, easy, egg free, gluten free, lemon

Get in Touch!

If you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag @myitalianvegan on socials. We would love to see the result!

If you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below. We love hearing from you!

About Vegan Lemon Scallopini

If life gives you lemons, make scallopini!

Vegan Lemon Scallopini is a very simple recipe with a strong personality. The main character is, obviously, the sour taste of lemons.

In our plant-based recipe, we swopped the meat with tender seitan. The sage gives extra flavour.

This quick, easy and relatively cheap dish can easily save your meal!

In Italy, we serve it as a secondo (second course).

Ingredients: slices of seitan, four, lemon, oil, salt, pepper, sage leaves.

Origin of Scaloppini

The word scaloppina came from the French escalope that stands for sliver of meat.

Lemon Scaloppini originated from Milan. Scaloppini are nowadays prepared, with different condiments, in the whole country.

The Italian name is scaloppine al limone, whereas in English they’re either called scallopini or scaloppini.

Slices of seitan in lemon sauce in the background; detailed fork with a piece of seitan in the foreground.

10 Scaloppini Vegan Condiments Ideas

You can accompany your scallopini with different sauces, according to regional traditions. Here is a list of 10 yummy condiments you can try after the lemon one (or in case you don’t like lemons).

  1. Lemon Scallopini
  2. Scallopini alla Pizzaiola
  3. Scallopini with Mushrooms
  4. Scallopini with Basil Pesto
  5. Orange Scallopini
  6. Scallopini with Courgettes (zucchini) and Mint
  7. Scallopini with White Wine (add vegan butter and pepper)
  8. Scallopini with White Wine and Onion
  9. Zaffron Scallopini (use vegan cream)
  10. 4 Vegan Cheeses Scallopini

Vegan Lemon Scallopini

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Thin slices of seitan in a lemon sauce.


  • pot
  • pan
  • sieve/skimmer
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • zester/fine grater (optional)
  • lemon juicer (optional)


  • 250 g seitan (8.8 oz)
  • 2 untreated lemons (medium size)
  • 1 l vegetable broth (33.8 fl oz)
  • 60 g flour (any kind) (2.1 oz)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • extra vergin olive oil
  • fresh sage leaves


  • In the pot, heat up the broth. Then slice the seitan and blanch it in the boling broth for 10-15 minutes. Drain the seitan but don't throw away the broth (you may need it later).
  • Add the flour onto the plate and start flouring each slice of seitan, on both sides.
  • Zest and squeeze the lemons, then leave them apart.
  • Heat 4/5 Tbsp of oil in the pan, then add the garlic cloves (peeled) and some sage leaves (save a few for the garnish). Allow to flavour for about 1 minute.
  • Now add the seitan, the lemon juice and the zest (save some of the latter for garnish). Add salt and pepper to taste and let it cook for 5-10 minutes. If needed, add some broth. The final result should be a creamy and soft seitan.
  • Garnish with the remaning zest and sage leaves. Serve warm. Enjoy! 😋


In the fridge: 2-3 days in a Tupperware.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Keyword: cheap, easy, lemon, limone, quick, scallopini, scaloppine, scaloppini
Slices of seitan in lemon sauce on a plate. Decorated with lemon slices and zest.

Recipe Description

How to describe the Frittata? We’ll give it a try:

  • Genuine: It tastes like the most beautiful things in life: like friends, like home, like a Sunday.
  • Fulfilling: The Frittata is your best friend when your stomach is growling. Put it between two slices of bread and it turns into a super energetic packed lunch.
  • Cheap and Convenient: If you are running out of ideas and time, then it’s time for a frittata. Just make sure that you have a pack of chickpea flour, the rest of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen. It’s also a brilliant way to give new life to your leftovers.
Vegan Onion Frittata Ingredients: chickpea flower, water, onions, oil, turmeric, black pepper.

10 Frittata Ideas

Onion is just one of the possible ingredients. You can get creative and basically stuff your frittata as you like. Here are 10 variants we suggest:

  1. Courgettes (zucchini) Frittata
  2. Potato Frittata
  3. Pasta Frittata (usually long pasta)
  4. Asparagus Frittata
  5. Spinach Frittata
  6. Artichoke Frittata
  7. Mushroom Frittata
  8. Bell Pepper Frittata
  9. Broccoli Frittata
  10. Vegan Cheese Frittata

Origin and Curiosities

The frittata is a staple of the Italian cucina povera (cheap cuisine, of the poor class). It has always been a practical solution that fills your stomach while using leftovers.

The original recipe is made with egg so this is the most common vegan version. Also known as farifrittata (flour frittata), since it’s made with chickpea flour.

Main Differences Among Italian Frittata, Spanish Tortilla and French Omelette

The Italian frittata is similar to the Spanish tortilla and the French omelette.

The main difference with the tortilla is that the Spanish recipe is thicker and slightly uncooked inside.

The frittata is cooked on both sides, while the French omelette is only cooked on one side and bent over (leaving the inside softer).

Vegan Onion Frittata

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • nonstick pan with lid (28 cm / 11")
  • bowl
  • whisk (or fork)
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • plate
  • spatula


  • 120 g chickpea flour (4.2 oz.)
  • 240 g water (8.5 oz.)
  • 20 g nutritional yeast – optional (0.7 oz.)
  • 2 medium onions
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • turmeric – optional
  • kala namak salt – optional


  • In the bowl: mix chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt (approx. 5 g), a pinch of pepper, turmeric and kala namak salt.
    chickpea flour and the other dry ingredients in a bowl
  • While whisking, add water gradually to avoid any lumps.
    whisking the mixture
  • Add oil (approx. 10 g), stir and leave it apart.
    a spoon adds oil into the bowl
  • Heat some oil in the pan. Add the onions and fry them for 3-4 minutes.
    slicing onions on a cutting board with a knife
  • Add the liquid mixture and equally distribute it over the pan with the spatula. Make sure the liquid mix covers and mixes with the onions over the whole pan.
    Add the lid and let it cook for 5-7 minutes at low-medium heat.
    sliced onions in a pan
  • After 5-7 minutes, check the bottom of the frittata (it should be golden-brown). Use the spatula and be careful not to break the frittata.
    When the bottom is properly cooked, flip the frittata using a plate. If you've never done it, follow these steps:
    – put the plate upside down over the pan
    – put one hand over the plate and hold the panhandle with the other
    – firmly push your hand over the plate and flip
    – when you have the frittata on your plate, carefully slide it back into the pan
    Let the other side cook for another 5-7 minutes – still covered
    flipping the frittata in the pan
  • When it looks ready, flip it again over a plate. Leave it to cool down for a few minutes and serve.

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