Cashew Ricotta Cheese

In recent times, we have been obsessed with pizza as well as pasta. It’s also no secret that dairy-free cheese is a favorite. It’s no surprise that Italian food and dairy-free cheese are a match made in heaven.

What’s pizza and pasta without cheese? We decided to fix this problem by making SUPER-quick vegan ricotta using five simple ingredients: fresh lemon juice (with quick-soaked cashews), garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and salt.

It’s easy to make a fluffy, light ricotta in a food processor or blender. We’ll show you how to do it.

Ricotta: The Origins

Ricotta, a mild, soft “cheese,” is popular in Italian cooking and can be found in ravioli, tortellini, and crepes. It is believed that its roots date back to ancient times.

Did you know that Ricotta is technically not cheese? We were also surprised! The whey is actually a by-product of cheese production.

We love the taste of this dish and its versatility. However, we wanted to create a dairy-free option for those who cannot or do not want to consume dairy.

How to Make Vegan Ricotta

Ricotta can be made in many different ways. We’ve made previous versions using almonds and macadamia nuts. This cashew version has become our favorite.

Cashews mimic the richness and creaminess of dairy ricotta. Lemon adds tang and nutritional yeast, giving it a “cheesy,” nutty flavor. Garlic powder and salt are added to provide it with even more taste.

All of this is blended in a processor or blender with water until it becomes a thick but spreadable paste. Then voila! It’s ready!

It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. However, it can also frozen and kept longer.

We’ve found that freezing the extra Ricotta in a smaller quantity doesn’t work because there’s not enough volume. If you have a smaller food processor, this may be possible.

Ingredients

RICOTTA

  • 1 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • Lemon juice, 1 Tbsp
  • Add more nutritional yeast to taste.
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • Add more salt to taste.
  • Water 4-6 Tbsp

For Toppling optional

  • Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, 1/4 cup

Instructions

  • Cashews can be soaked in hot water for 30 to 60 minutes or in cold water overnight. Drain, rinse, and then set aside.
  • Add the drained and soaked cashews, along with lemon, nutritional yeast (or garlic powder), sea salt, and a smaller amount of water, to a high-speed blend. Blend/mix, scraping sides as necessary. Add more water, 1 Tbsp (15ml) per time, until you get a thick paste. A food processor gives me the best results, but a blender will also work in a pinch. It’s just that it requires more liquid and scraping.
  • Add more salt, lemon juice, garlic powder, or nutritional yeast to your taste. Mix again to combine.
  • The “cheese,” at this stage, is ready for consumption! When chilled, the flavors continue to develop. It’s great on pizza and pasta.
  • Fresh is best. Keep leftover “cheese,” made from nuts, in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month (let it thaw out at room temperature before serving).

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