This is the best vegan ricotta recipe because it’s so simple to make (it’s ready in 30 minutes) and tastes much better than anything you’ll buy in the store. Besides, if you’re looking for dairy-free ricotta, that’s not always easy to find in the store. Make this recipe at home instead — it’s creamy, savory, and delicious!
Italian food is always an easy, go-to favorite in our household. But sometimes, it’s hard to find vegan replacements for some of your favorite dishes. Vegan mascaropone is a common Italian ingredient that can be hard to find in stores.
Another example? Ricotta is a common ingredient in vegan lasagna. And yet, dairy-free ricotta cheese is not easy to find at the local grocery store.
Of course, some brands make vegan ricotta (such as Tofutti), but I’ve only been able to find that at health food stores. And, if that’s not a viable option for you, or if you want to make your own homemade ricotta, this is the recipe for you.
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Raw cashews — You can buy raw cashews at many grocery stores and health food stores, or even online
- Extra-firm tofu — We’ll use tofu to give this dish a creamy consistency
- Lemon juice — Use either freshly squeezed lemon juice or bottled to add tangy flavor
- Nutritional yeast flakes — This vegan favorite adds a nutty, cheesy flavor to so many recipes
- Garlic — You’ll only need one clove to make this for savory dishes. If you’re using ricotta for a dessert, leave the garlic out
- Salt — Finally, a little salt will add depth of flavor.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- TEXTURE — Cashews add great texture and flavor to this plant-based ricotta
- TANGY — Using lemon juice adds tanginess to mimic the classic flavor of ricotta
- FLAVORFUL — Adding garlic transforms this savory ingredient into something extraordinary
Ricotta Cheese Substitute
When you want a tasty substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna, this vegan cashew ricotta is the only one you need.
If you’re skeptical of how a vegan ricotta cheese recipe would work, just think about what dairy ricotta is. Ricotta is not technically “cheese,” but the byproduct of cheese-making. The whey that remains after making cheese is coagulated (thickened) and that’s ricotta.
It’s a similar process for tofu. Extra-firm tofu is made from coagulated soy milk, which is why it’s an excellent ingredient for a ricotta cheese substitute.
Use these tips to make this non-dairy ricotta substitute perfect every time:
- Use soaked cashews to make your ricotta good and creamy.
- This mixture will thicken as it sits in the fridge, so you can make it the day before your lasagna or other recipes.
- You can substitute 1–3 cloves of garlic confit for the raw garlic.
- If you are using this ricotta for a dessert recipe, be sure to leave out the garlic.
Yes, this is typically a ricotta substitute, meaning you would use it as an ingredient in some other recipe. I can’t imagine my vegan baked ziti without ricotta!
However, this dish is tasty enough to be served on its own. Drizzle your vegan tofu ricotta it with a bit of olive oil, add some fresh herbs on top and serve it with vegan crostini, or pita chips.
To store ricotta, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be frozen for up to a month, but the texture may not be as smooth. However, it will still work in a ricotta layer for lasagna or other Italian dishes.
Vegan Italian Recipes
Vegan Ricotta Cheese
- 1 cup cashews , soaked in water 2 – 4 hours
- 15 oz extra firm tofu
- ½ cup water
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 clove garlic , peeled and sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- To soak the cashews, cover them with water and soak for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Then drain the soaking water.
- Drain the water from the tub of tofu. There's no need to press the tofu.
- Combine soaked cashews, tofu, water, lemon juice, yeast flakes, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor. Pulse several seconds to combine. Use a spatula to push down ingredients from the side of the bowl. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until a spreadable consistency is achieved. It should take no more than 1/4 cup of water.
- Storage: You can store this in the fridge for 3–5 days, or freeze for up to 1 month to use in lasagna.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.