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Easy Cashew Vegan Ricotta

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This homemade vegan ricotta cheese is made with only 8 simple ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes for a deliciously healthy plant-based cheese alternative.

vegan ricotta cake and spread on toast

Tofu ricotta is delicious used as a dip on crackers and crunchy sourdough toast. It’s also perfect for use in recipes like my Ultimate Vegan Lasagna.

You’ll love this tofu ricotta because it’s

  • Simple to make
  • Requires only a few ingredients
  • Perfect for recipes like lasagna
  • Healthy
  • Tastes amazing
overhead shot of tofu ricotta on cutting board surrounded by toasted topped with it

What is vegan ricotta made of?

Making dairy-free ricotta cheese is very simple and SO much better for your health than regular cheese. It’s made with low-fat wholesome ingredients.

  • firm tofu
  • cashews or white beans (optional)
  • garlic
  • plant milk
  • lemon juice
  • seasonings
vegan ricotta ingredients on cutting board tofu, cashews, garlic, spices

How to make vegan ricotta

A blender or food processor is all that is needed for the preparation of this recipe. What I really like is that absolutely no cooking is required.

Two options for draining and pressing tofu

Begin by draining the water from tofu block and press to remove water.

° Traditional way – Slit the package and drain excess water over a sink. Next, place the tofu block in a tofu press if you have one. Allow 15-30 minutes for pressing.

°Homemade press way – Place tofu on an absorbent surface such as layered paper towels or a dishtowel. Use another dish towel or paper towels to place on top of the block and top with a heavy plate or cast iron pan. Continue to drain under pressure for approximately 30 minutes.

tofu block being pressed on wooden board with black cast iron pan on top

Next, place all ricotta ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. This will be a very thick mixture. If your blender has a tamper, using it will help. If not, stop and scrape down the sides of the blender as needed until smooth.

blender filled with tofu, cashews, spices, and basil

My favorite blender is the Vitamix 5200 because it is so powerful, it can blend anything. I actually own two of them because I use them in the Food for Life classes I teach for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Serve with toasted crunch bread like sourdough or crackers. My favorite oil-free crackers are Mary’s Gone Crackers.

This dairy-free ricotta is also great served with cut vegetables or used in recipes like lasagna.

vegan ricotta in brown bowl surrounded veggies

*Originally published March 29, 2015.

How to make spinach vegan ricotta

Turning this into a spinach ricotta is an excellent idea for using as a dip. I like to keep frozen spinach on-hand to do this.

Simply make the ricotta as described above and then thaw about 10 ounces of spinach and drain as much as possible. I defrost mine on paper towels in the microwave. Then, wrap it up in the paper towels and squeeze excess water juices over the sink or jar to keep for veggie broth seasoning. 

Once it’s drained, transfer it to the ricotta mixture in a large bowl and stir well. Continue tasting until you get the salt adjusted to your taste preference. 

Your Questions Answered:

Q: Can this recipe be made without cashews?

A: Yes, white beans can be substituted for those avoiding nuts. The nuts and beans can actually be completely left out if desired.

Q: Do I really have to press the tofu?

A: Yes, the ricotta will be watery very waterty if the tofu isn’t pressed well.

Q: Is this a dairy-free substitute for ricotta cheese?

A: Because there is no milk, eggs, or cheese used in this recipe, it is a perfect dairy-free substitute for regular ricotta cheese.

Q: How long will it last in the refrigerator?

A: This vegan ricotta can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can tell when it’s time to toss it when it becomes more watery in texture. As always, give foods in the refrigerator a quick sniff before using them to make sure they are still fresh.

vegan ricotta in blue bowl. crackers and tomatoes on cutting board.

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vegan ricotta cake and spread on toast

Vegan Ricotta Cheese

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This homemade vegan ricotta cheese is made with only 7 simple ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes for a deliciously healthy plant-based cheese alternative.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Begin by draining the water from the tofu block and press to remove water.
  2. Next, place all ricotta ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. This will be a very thick mixture. If your blender has a tamper, using it will help. If not, stop and scrape down the sides of the blender as needed until smooth.
  3. Serve with toasted crunch bread like sourdough or crackers. My favorite oil-free crackers are Mary’s Gone Crackers. This dairy-free ricotta is also great served with cut vegetables or used in recipes like lasagna.

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 5gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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