Looking for a vegan substitute for ricotta? This Vegan Ricotta Cheese is soft and spreadable like the classic and upgraded with a delicious lemon herb flavor. All you need is tofu, cashews, pesto, and simple seasonings!
Cheese-lovers and vegan cheese skeptics: you are going to love this Vegan Ricotta Cheese! It’s creamy, tangy, and super soft, just like real ricotta. You won’t be missing the dairy at all.
The beauty of this recipe is that it’s easy to make by blending cashews, tofu, and seasonings together. That’s it! And the secret ingredient, vegan basil pesto, adds an extra layer of herbaceous and savory flavor.
Both cashews and tofu are needed to mimic the creamy and slightly crumbly feel. Garlic, nutritional yeast, and miso make it taste cheesy and tangy, just like the real thing.
Lastly, dairy free ricotta has almost as many uses as the classic. Use it in a vegan lasagna, stuffed shells, on pizza, and so much more. It’s one of the best vegan cheeses to keep in your fridge at all times!
What is ricotta cheese?
Ricotta (meaning "re-cooked" in Italian) is a fresh Italian cheese made from the whey that’s leftover after heating cow’s or sheep’s milk. It has a light and slightly milky flavor with a soft and crumbly texture.
Achieving the unique taste and texture isn’t hard with vegan alternatives; all you need are the right ingredients and a food processor to mix it all together.
When it’s all said and done, vegan ricotta is the perfect “cheese” to spread into a vegan lasagna, scoop onto avocado toast, or stuff into pasta shells. You’ll hardly be able to tell it’s vegan!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Tofu - A brick of extra firm tofu is best for that sturdy, yet soft texture. Medium firm tofu may also work, but you should press it beforehand to drain the excess moisture.
- Cashews - Use raw unsalted cashews to give the vegan ricotta its traditional crumbly, almost grainy texture.
- Vegan pesto - Blending basil pesto into the ricotta is optional but makes this substitute deliciously unique. It adds herbaceous notes that compliment the cheesy and lemon flavor beautifully.
- Lemon - Both the lemon juice and zest are needed.
- White miso paste - For a subtle layer of tang and umami.
- Seasonings - Like nutritional yeast, dried oregano, salt, and garlic powder.
How to make vegan ricotta cheese
This recipe couldn’t be any easier. It all comes together in 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Soak the cashews. Place the cashews in a bowl and pour boiling water over top. Leave them to soak for about 10 minutes. If you want to get a headstart on this recipe, soak the cashews with room temperature water up to 24 hours ahead.
Step 2: Blend. Drain the softened cashews and place them into a food processor with the other ingredients. Blend until you have a smooth texture. If it’s too thick, add an extra tablespoon of plant milk to help thin it out.
Step 3: Use the ricotta. The cashew ricotta is ready to use right away or can be stored for later. Enjoy! For full ingredients and instructions see printable recipe card below.
Ways to use cashew ricotta
Vegan ricotta doesn’t melt like the real stuff, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it in a variety of recipes! Use these ideas to get started:
- It’s a must-have in a vegan lasagna!
- Spoon it into stuffed shells with tomato sauce.
- Stir it into hummus pasta for a cheesy element.
- Spread in a vegetable wrap, pinwheels, or vegan gyro.
- Crumble it on top of a bowl of cherry tomato pasta.
- Spread it on toast with avocado.
- Use it as an extra cheesy replacement for vegan parmesan.
- Add dollops on top of a homemade vegan pizza (in addition to vegan mozzarella of course).
- Spread it onto crostini appetizers with extra pesto, pine nuts, diced tomatoes, or balsamic drizzled on top.
- Serve it on its own with crackers and fresh bread.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can use blanched almonds instead of cashews.
Omit the cashews entirely to make the vegan ricotta nut free. The texture of the “cheese” will be softer and not as grainy but still taste just as delicious.
Yes, it’s naturally gluten free.
Nope! A blender will work just as well. You may need to stop a few times to scrape the blender bowl to ensure the ingredients are blending evenly.
The vegan ricotta will keep well for 5 days when it’s stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
More vegan cheese recipes
Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print