Save this one a spot on your next vegan cheese board! Made with just 5 simple ingredients, this thick and creamy cashew ricotta cheese is the perfect substitute for dairy-based ricotta. It's easy & quick to make and tastes just like the real deal!
This cashew ricotta only takes 10 minutes to make and can be used anywhere ricotta is called for! Use it as a dip/spread, on pizza, in pasta, in pancakes, in baked goods, and more. If you couldn't tell, I'm fully convinced you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this plant-based cheese and real ricotta.
This nut cheese recipe is healthy, vegan, soy-free, oil-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free, WOWZA. To be even more allergen-friendly, I gave you a nut-free vegan ricotta option below!
Just a few simple ingredients are required to make the best vegan cheese ever:
- Cashews: raw cashews will be the base for this particular ricotta in order to create that thick and creamy texture of classic ricotta.
- Lemon Juice: to add a bit of moisture and to give us that classic tangy flavor! I always suggest freshly squeezed.
- Garlic: heaven sent, you know my feelings.
- Seasonings: I've added salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast for extra flavor.
- Water: so the cashews have something to blend into!
This cashew nut cheese is incredibly easy to make. Start by soaking your cashews either overnight, by boiling them in water for 10-20 minutes, or by microwaving them in a bowl with water for 5 minutes.
- Add soaked cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, and water to a food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula as needed. It should be thick and creamy but not completely smooth - there should still be some texture left.
- Taste and add your desired amount of salt and pepper. Give it a stir to combine and enjoy!
How to Use Vegan Ricotta Cheese
You can use this dairy-free ricotta cheese just like you would regular ricotta! I personally love to use it in/on: lasagna, ravioli, ricotta gnocchi, pizza, stuffed shells, lemon ricotta pancakes, a vegan cheese board, or spread on toast! There's truly endless ways you can use it.
I love this recipe as is, but here are some fun variations you could try!
- Add fresh herbs to make either a vegan cashew basil ricotta or a vegan cashew spinach ricotta.
- Use blanched & slivered almonds instead of cashews to make almond ricotta cheese. If you wanted, you could use both cashews and almonds.
- Add a block of tofu to make the cheese extra fluffy. You could even get rid of the cashews all together and use the tofu by itself, making a nut free tofu ricotta!
- If you're using the ricotta in sweet dishes, like scones or pancakes, leave out the pepper, garlic, and nutritional yeast entirely.
- Leave out the nutritional yeast! If you don't like it, no worries. It won't change the flavor or consistency much and it'll actually make the cheese more white, as opposed to a yellow tint.
Even though this nut cheese recipe is super simple, here are a few tips to make sure everything goes smoothly!
- A food processor is best when it comes to vegan cheeses. A blender will totally work but because there isn't a ton of liquid in this recipe, you'll need to stop it and give it a mix to get your blender moving again.
- Don't overprocess! You want there to still be a little bit of texture, just like real ricotta.
- Let the vegan ricotta chill. You can definitely serve and eat it immediately but, if needed, this will help to firm it up a little bit and then you can fluff it with a fork.
The main reason is that doing so softens the cashews, making them easier to blend and break down. This results in a super creamy texture for recipes!
Store the cashew ricotta in an airtight container for up to 5-7 days in the fridge. It will last up to 3 months if stored in the freezer. If you freeze it, be sure to defrost before use.
Unlike dairy-based cheeses, cashew cheeses do not have saturated fats. They also are rich in vitamins, calcium, protein, and fiber! If you want to keep it even healthier, making it at home is your best bet! Store bought vegan cheeses are highly processed.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram. If you have any questions or feedback at all, send me an e-mail or leave a comment and review below. I hope you love this dish as much as we do!
Cashew Ricotta Cheese
- 1 ½ cup (340 g) raw cashews soaked
- 1-2 tbsps (12-24 g) lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (5 g) nutritional yeast
- 1-2 (8 g) garlic cloves
- ⅓ cup (75 g) water
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Start by soaking your cashews either overnight, by boiling them in water for 10-20 minutes, or by microwaving them in a bowl with water for 5 minutes.1 ½ cup raw cashews
- Add soaked cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, and water to a food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula as needed.1-2 tbsps lemon juice, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1-2 garlic cloves, ⅓ cup water, 1 ½ cup raw cashews
- Add your desired amount of salt and pepper, taste and adjust as desired. Give it a stir to combine and enjoy!sea salt and pepper
So good and so quick to whip up! I added in some tofu at the end to make it extra fluffy and it came out perfect and tasted amazing.
Pinch of Parsley
Love that you added tofu!! So glad you loved this recipe, thanks for the feedback Meghan!