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!

Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Risotto consists of a creamy and warm rice and it can contain other various ingredients. Today we’ll show you a very traditional version that features mushrooms.

It’s a very popular Italian primo piatto (first course) and a pretty easy instant pot!

In our Vegan Mushroom Risotto we swopped the dairy butter and cheese of the original recipe with plant-based ones.

Background: vegan Italian mushroom risotto on a plate. Foreground: forkful of risotto.

Recipe Peculiarities

Risotto stands out from other rice preparations for the maintenance of starch. In fact – through cooking – it gels, blending the rice grains together.

2 common procedures are toasting of rice on a pan (with a fat substance e.g. oil) and low heat cooking. The latter wants a constant presence, progressively adding the broth that the rice will absorb.

The most appropriate rice varieties are Arborio, Carnaroli, Baldo and Vialone nano.

Ingredient Substitutions

For this recipe, you can either use cultivated or wild mushrooms.

If you prefer, you can swop the onion with leek.

Vegan Italian mushroom risotto on a plate – parsley on top.

Origin of Italian Risotto

Risotto originated in the Veneto region and then spread in the rest of Northen Italy. Now you can find it all over Italy with its numerous variants.

Its invention and first development is uncertain. It seems that it was first prepared around 1500 by lower-class people.

It’s believed that, around the mid XIX century, 2 risotto recipes spread from Lombardy region to the rest of Northen Italy. The first one was risotto alla certosina, that included leftovers and was probably invented by the monaci della Certosina (Carthusian monks). The second one was risotto alla milanese (Milan style risotto) that featured the precious saffron (which mocked gold, an ingredient that you could find in Medieval courts).

10 Vegan Risotto Recipe Ideas

Mushrooms risotto is one of the Italian traditional risotti. Here is a list of 10 ideas for risotto recipes in case you fancy something different:

  1. mushroom risotto
  2. risotto alla milanese (with zaffron)
  3. radicchio risotto
  4. asparagus risotto
  5. artichoke risotto
  6. pumpkin risotto
  7. vegan cacio e pepe (pecorino cheese and pepper) risotto
  8. risotto alla parmigiana (with vegan parmesan)
  9. tomato risotto
  10. mushroom and pea risotto

Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Soaking Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 people
Warm and creamy rice with mushrooms and plant-based cheese.


  • pan or pot
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • bowl


  • 250 g Carnaroli rice (or Arborio or Roma)
  • 350 g common mushrooms
  • 20 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 60 g fresh onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 30 g grated plant-based parmesan (we used Gondino)
  • 100 ml white vegan wine
  • 1 tsp nut butter (we suggest peanut, walnut or almond)
  • vegetable stock
  • extra virgin olive oil


  • First, heat up your vegetable stock (around 500 ml/16.9 fl oz.). Alternatively, you can use water.
    In the bowl, rehydrate the porcini mushrooms with some warm water for 20-30 minutes.
  • On the cutting board, finely chop the onion and the peeled garlic clove.
  • Now chop your common mushrooms.
  • Wring out carefully the rehydrated porcini mushrooms, then chop them.
  • In the pan/pot, heat up some olive oil. Add your chopped onion and let it fry for 1-2 minutes.
    Now add the chopped garlic and let it fry for 1 minute.
  • Add your mushrooms and let them season for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the rice and stir. Simmer with your white wine until reduced.
    Add some vegetable stock (enough so that everything is covered). Let it cook, covered with a lid, until the broth is absorbed and the rice is cooked. If the rice is not cooked, add more stock (or water).
  • Once the rice is well cooked, turn off the heat. Add 1 tsp of your nut butter of choice and your grated vegan parmesan. Stir.
    Serve warm.


Fridge: 3-4 days in Tupperware
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Keyword: mushrooms, winter

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!

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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