This is the best Vegan Ricotta recipe because it’s so simple to make and tastes so 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. For example, ricotta is a common ingredient for vegan lasagna. It’s not as if you can go and buy a dairy-free ricotta cheese at the local grocery store.
Of course, there are brands that make vegan ricotta these days (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 simply make your own homemade ricotta, this is the recipe for you. In fact, this vegan ricotta is so good, you can serve it as a dip. I even add it to salads.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Cashews add great texture and flavor to this plant-based ricotta
- Using lemon juice adds a tanginess to mimic the classic flavor of ricotta
- Adding garlic transforms this savory ingredient into something truly special
What You Need
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
- 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 bit of salt will add depth of flavor.
How to Make Vegan Ricotta Cheese
- Soak the cashews — Wondering how to soak cashews? Simply cover the cashews with water and soak them for 2 hours or up to overnight. Then drain the soaking water.
- Combine ingredients — Add the soaked cashews, tofu, and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or blender jar.
- Pulse until creamy — Give your blender (or food processor) several quick bursts. Then use a silicone spatula to push any ingredients from the side of the bowl back to the bottom. Then pulse again. Continue with this process until you’ve got nice, creamy ricotta. Go ahead and add a little water to get a spreadable consistency.
Ricotta Cheese Substitute
When you want a tasty substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna, this 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 one reason it’s an excellent ingredient for a ricotta cheese substitute.
Use these tips to make this non-dairy ricotta substitute perfect every time:
- Be sure to used soaked cashews to make your ricotta good and creamy
- The lemon juice adds a tangy flavor
- You may need to add a little bit of water to create a desirable consistency
- 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. However, it’s tasty enough to be served on its own. Drizzle it with a little olive oil, add some fresh herbs on top and serve it with crostini, or pita chips.
To store this vegan ricotta, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate. 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
Now that you’ve got your easy ricotta recipe, you’ll want to use it in some awesome vegan Italian recipes. Here’s a list to start with:
Vegan Ricotta Recipe
- 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.