I’m so happy to be sharing one of my go-to recipes this sumer… these Smashed Berry and Lavender Almond Whipped Ricotta Toasts. Inspired by my travels and adventures, this recipe is exactly that.

I visited Florence a while back and, of all the recipes I came across, my favorites were the super simple ones. I’m talking so simple that it’s hard to even call them recipes. Think sliced pears with Pecorino cheese, honey, and lemon zest (a must-make, if you haven’t had it)… or olive oil and sea salt-topped pistachio gelato… or honey and balsamic vinegar-marinated strawberries. All you have to do is look at Sophia Loren in any photo ever to know that the Italians win when it comes to simple elegance, and these types of recipes are the food equivalent.

Anyways, back to these toasts. I took that balsamic-berries idea and played with it until I came up with these. Toast has been having a major moment the last couple years, and I’ve fully embraced the trend. The idea here is to take your favorite bread (I always go for something healthy and flavorful like a seeded multigrain) and top it with this honey-laced whipped ricotta and smashed berries. And, no matter what you do, make sure you finish it with the Lavender Almond mixture. It’s ridiculously simple to make, yet it adds an elegance that I like to think would do right by Ms. Loren.

Smashed Berry and Lavender Almond Whipped Ricotta Toasts
Makes 8 toasts


For the topping:
  • 1/4 cup raw whole almonds
  • 1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds or flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 1/8 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • pinch sea salt, plus more for garnish
For the berries:
  • 1/2 pint (about 6 ounces) raspberries, plus a few for garnish
  • 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered and sliced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic
  • vinegar
For the ricotta:
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon, plus more for garnish
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey, plus more for garnish

8 (1/2-inch) slices multigrain bread, toasted


For the topping:

Toast the almonds and sesame or flax seeds in a dry pan over low heat until just golden brown and there’s a nutty smell, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, let cool a few minutes then place in a mini food processor along with the lavender and poppy seeds and pulse a few times until the mixture is finely ground. (You could also chop the nuts by hand if you don’t have a food processor. This can be done up to 2 days ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.)

For the berries:

Place about 3/4 of the raspberries in bowl and smash until all the berries are broken up.
Stir in the honey or coconut sugar, balsamic, and a pinch of salt. Stir in the remaining raspberries and strawberries, and set aside until ready to use. (This can be done up to 4 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.)

For the ricotta:

Place the ricotta and honey in a bowl or in a small food processor and pulse until it is a light, airy consistency, about 10 pulses.
Add a pinch of salt and the lemon zest and mix until well combined.
Taste and add more salt or honey, as desired. (This can be done up to 1 day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
To assemble the toasts, divide the ricotta on the toasts and top with a spoonful of the berry mixture (with a bit of their juices). Sprinkle the nut mixture on top, finish with a tad more salt, honey, and zest and serve.

These would be perfect for any meal of the day, and could serve as cute appetizers too.

What are your favorite recipes right now?