Today I’m excited to share with you my new vegan ricotta cheese recipe with a cashew-almond base. I’m not big on bragging, but I’m quite sure that this is the best vegan ricotta I’ve ever tasted, both in flavor and texture!
Any vegan who used to love cheese in their pre-vegan days would probably agree that ricotta cheese has a special place in the cheese hierarchy. It’s an important “building block” of so many delicious Italian-inspired dishes like lasagna, stuffed shells, all kinds of pastas, etc.
So what does one do about ricotta when they go vegan? Look for a perfect vegan ricotta cheese recipe, of course!
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I’ve tried countless vegan ricotta recipes over the years, and while some of them were better than others, most of the time they left me missing the real thing.
Tofu-based vegan ricotta cheese recipes tend to be on the leaner side, so they often lack the creamy depth of flavor that the full-fat ricotta has.
Nut-based vegan ricotta cheeses tend to be creamier, but the texture can be hit or miss.
So in my search for a perfect vegan ricotta in the 5+ years since going vegan, I’ve made countless batches of vegan ricotta cheese recipes off the internet.
I used that ricotta in a variety of my favorite Italian recipes like lasagna, pizza, stuffed shells, etc. The flavors were often spot-on, especially when my homemade vegan ricotta was mixed in with other ingredients of each recipe.
But what about the texture? I was still on a lookout for the perfect vegan ricotta cheese that would taste and feel spot-on when eaten off the spoon.
It still took me a while to get there.
Nut-based vegan ricotta recipes often yield cheese that’s either too smooth, or its ‘grit’ is a bit harder than that of the dairy-based ricotta. If you remember the texture of the latter, its ‘grit’ is rather soft.
So for a while there, I was trying to recreate that ‘soft grit’ with various degrees of success, until one day it hit me: I should try boiled slivered almonds!
This may sound bizarre, but it worked like a charm!
I got the idea to boil slivered almonds for vegan ricotta cheese from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by the brilliant Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Isa uses boiled almonds to make the filling for her arancini (stuffed italian rice balls).
I loved the perfect soft ‘grit’ of Isa’s ricotta recipe, but I wanted to make it a bit creamier so that it tasted just like the real deal off the spoon.
So I decided to make a liquidy cashew base with the ‘usual suspects’ of vegan cheese recipes like nutritional yeast, garlic and lemon juice.
The resulting vegan ricotta was ah-ma-zing! I used it in lots of recipes in the past year, and every time it got rave reviews both from vegans and omnivores.
Most recently, I made vegan stuffed shells for Rob’s birthday party, and our guests were thoroughly impressed.
How to make vegan ricotta cheese
Making my vegan ricotta cheese recipe is actually quite easy!
You’ll need blanched slivered almonds, raw cashews, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, fresh or granulated garlic, and salt (see the exact proportions in the recipe below).
First, you boil the almonds for 30 minutes. While they’re boiling, you combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender (a high-speed one like Vitamix works great) and blend until smooth.
Lastly, you add the drained boiled almonds to the cashew mixture in the blender, and blend for a few seconds to let the almonds break down to form that familiar gritty ricotta texture.
How much almonds and cashews does this vegan ricotta recipe call for?
Since I posted this recipe, I’ve had readers comment that they have gotten different consistency (too thick or too watery) even if they follow this recipe exactly.
This most likely happens because slivered almonds can take up the same volume in 1 1/2 cup measure but weigh differently.
To fix this issue, we need to measure the nuts by weight.
I discovered that 8 oz of slivered almonds and 4 oz of cashews will provide the most consistent result for texture and thickness of the finished ricotta cheese.
Note that 8 oz of almonds and 4 oz of cashews will look a bit more than 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 cups respectively (the amounts listed in the recipe card below).
As for the rest of the ingredients, 1 cup of water listed in the recipe card will likely be enough. However, if you clearly hear the blender struggling (like it’s “spinning its wheels”), add more water, 1/4 cup at a time.
The rest of the ingredients don’t need to be adjusted since ricotta naturally has a milder taste.
How many calories are in vegan ricotta?
This recipe yields about 2.5 cups of vegan ricotta. If you use 1/2 cup as the serving size, it has 254 calories, with 20.8 grams of total fat, 2.4 grams of saturated fat, zero cholesterol or trans fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of protein.
For more detailed nutritional information, please refer to the recipe below. (Note: this nutritional data is approximate.)
Isn’t it expensive to use both cashews and almonds in this recipe?
Sure, I’ll agree that using both types of nuts here can get pricey. Other vegan ricotta recipes, tofu-based in particular, can be easier on the wallet.
But consider this: if you’re making a special occasion dinner, or planning a nice meal to entertain vegan and/or omnivore guests, this recipe is 100% worth the money.
If your guests are not impressed, feel free to send me an angry email 🙂
If you make this vegan ricotta cheese with cashews and almonds, please let me know how it came out! Leave a star review in the recipe card, or comment below.
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