Blackberry Lemon Ricotta Parfaits (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


Martha Stewart…where would the foodie world be without her? I have to confess, I’ve never really paid her much mind. I don’t watch her show, I don’t subscribe to her magazine, and the only cookbooks I have of hers, from the Everyday Food series, were gifted to me by my parents-in-law. The most attention I ever paid is when she was in trouble with the law, and even then, it was only a small portion of my attention. She’s never really be on my radar, so to speak, but there is no question that she is a force to be reckoned with. I daresay she has helped shape the food and decorating world, taking simple items or ingredients and transforming them into stunning creations. She is full of great ideas, that one. And only Martha Stewart could come back the way she has after such a spectacular fall from grace.

After realizing that diabetes was here to stay, one of her recipes was the first I ever attempted to make over into a low carb treat. It was a Cranberry Upside Down Cake and it worked out quite well, considering. I’ve learned a lot about low carb baking since then, and if I were to attempt it now, it would be a different beast entirely. It would be gluten free, for one thing. And probably tastier. But still, I thank Miss Martha for giving me the inspiration. Early on, there was also another dessert of hers, a cappuccino parfait made with ricotta cheese, that I knew would be easily adapted for my new dietary restrictions.

The idea of using ricotta in a parfait stayed with me long after I’d tried out the coffee-flavoured version. And as I’ve always loved lemon and ricotta together, I started to think about flavouring it with lemon juice and lemon zest. But a parfait must be layered to be a parfait, after all, so the question became what to layer it with? The cappuccino parfait had crumbled amaretti cookies, but that obviously wasn’t an option unless I made some low carb ones. And I thought that the almond flavour of the amaretti would take away from the light, refreshing lemon. I wanted something fresh and slightly tart, like berries, and it just so happened that blackberries were in season and on sale at my local grocery store.

The Results: No question, a ricotta parfait makes for a light, refreshing dessert and a nice change from my usual obsession with chocolate. And it’s very quick and easy to make, too. If you use whole milk ricotta, as I did, you don’t need a lot to layer with the berries. I sprinkled a little bit of chopped toasted hazelnuts on mine, for the crunch factor, but it’s just as good without. I am not sure I should really say this is dessert, because I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day and it was wonderful that way too. The blackberries were a perfect foil for the lemony ricotta, and I imagine that raspberries, or even mixed berries, would be just as good.

Blackberry Lemon Ricotta Parfaits

15 oz whole milk ricotta

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp lemon zest

2 tbsp powdered erythritol

16 drops stevia extract

1 cup fresh blackberries

1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (optional)

Combine ricotta, lemon juice, lemon zest, erythritol and stevia in a food processor and process until very smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 2 minutes.

Divide half of the berries among 6 dessert cups and top with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat with remaining berries and remaining ricotta. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and serve.

Serves 6. Each serving has 5.8g of carbs and 1.3g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 4.5g.

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  1. Pretend Chef says

    Looks like a great breakfast option and one I'd love to try. The blackberries make me miss living in the Pacific NW. Sigh. This looks so delicious.

  2. Parsley Sage says

    Love love love. I'm more a raspberry girl myself so I'm just DREAMING about how yummy that must taste. The ricotta thing is cool, I'm such a food prude. I always thought about parfaits in 'yogurt' terms :)

  3. Claudie says

    I am making this! Yesterday I was doing my grocery shopping at Whole Foods and saw an absolutely amazing chocolate parfait — aaah, the will power it took me not to buy it after a weekend of deep-dish pizza in Chicago!! I spent the whole last night craving for something sweet. You are just saving me in time :)

  4. Angela says

    Looks so good!! I just bought some blackberries and was wondering what to do with them. Plus its gluten free, which is wonderful! Thanks!

  5. briarrose says

    The jars are just adorable for these parfaits. I never would have thought to use ricotta for this…looks like it turned out beautifully.

  6. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    Sounds amazing!I love the idea of ricotta in a parfait. I think this would make a great breakfast!

  7. scratch-made wife says

    Ricotta is good for so much more than just lasagna. I was so glad when I realized that! This looks delicious. I've actually enjoyed ricotta with balsamic and strawberries, so I'm sure I'd love this!

  8. Annie Oakley's Kitchen says

    I like Martha Stewart as a starting point for recipe ideas but find many of her recipes unnecessarily complicated. The parfait looks so delicious and simple to make!

  9. says

    I've been obsessed with ricotta lately, so this parfait sounds awesome. And don't underestimate Martha — she rules.

  10. Lolly @ Lolly's Sweet Treats says

    I need to start making more things with Ricotta (besides lasagna). The parfaits look delicious and I love that you served them in Mason jars!

  11. Sandi says

    Incredibly aesthetically appealing, say that 3 times fast!
    Good for all of us but what a great recipe for college kids-simple, delish, and just a few ingredients-

  12. blackbookkitchendiaries says

    i love making desserts with Ricotta:) i love the how light and creamy it is.. thank you for sharing this and i really love your photos! it's gorgeous:)

  13. Terri says

    Martha is definitely a force to be reckoned with; however, before Martha there was JULIA! 😉 I think the cooking world owes much to Julia Childs. :-) Bon Appetit!

  14. Kate @ Kate from Scratch says

    This looks absolutely perfect for me. One of my most favorite things in a jar? Yes, please…perhaps two.

  15. kita says

    I never really dug on the idea of Martha Stewart, but I did read a book she wrote about business and respect her views. She is defiantly a force, just not my cup of tea. What I do dig is this dessert – it looks beautiful!

  16. Mike@How To Make A Smoothie At Home says

    Wow…looks like an amazing combo. Thanks for posting this delicious looking recipe.

  17. Tiffany says

    Yeah, I don't really know anything about Martha! (I'm kind of out of touch with the real world… lol), but I know yumminess… and these ricotta parfaits are YUMminess! 😉

  18. Nami | Just One Cookbook says

    I share the same feelings toward Martha Stewart with you – possibly I pay much less attention to her than you. =P I'd never had ricotta parfait but it sounds delicious! Lots of lemon and blackberries sound so refreshing! Always learn some delicious treats when I'm here. :-)

  19. Betty Martha says

    looks fantastic! I posted a strawberry ricotta parfait on my blog – I love ricotta in sweet ways (its not just for savory dishes)
    Thanks for sharing!

  20. BakingWithoutABox says

    That looks delicious and love that you put it in a canning jar. Such a touch of home. Eat that Martha.

  21. Gina says

    Boy do these look good. I don't use too many of her recipes, but she is a force and her ideas do spark ideas in me. So I'd say that is a good thing.

  22. Sommer J says

    Looks fabulous, Carolyn! I can tasty the tarty sweet juicy combo from your photos itself! Insures me to make my own ricotta again just for this! You know, I think about you often even though I don't comment as much anymore (lots of stuff going on!) I do share your inspiring story word of mouth! I think about my own sweet tooth and how i'd have adapt a lot of my recipes later on, too. Diabetes is scary to me because it runs rampant in my family, but you showed me that cooking/baking can still be fun and incredibly enjoyable. Share your talent, mama! Oh and staying fit? I am actually running again. It's a hate/love thang :) keep up the great work xx

  23. Emma says

    How lovely, I don't use fresh blackberries much as they're not really readily available here, this looks really good. Love the combo of blackberries and hazelnuts.


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