This is the best nut-free vegan ricotta recipe I’ve ever made. This 1-step, easy recipe is whipped up with simple ingredients and is a rich and creamy dairy-free ricotta cheese.
Perfect to use as a replacement in both sweet and savory dishes. Pop it on top of pasta or make ricotta toast.
If you’re searching for delicious vegan Italian-style dishes, check out my favorite lasagne recipe, this heirloom tomato tart (so pretty), or my spinach tofu ricotta stuffed shells!
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Ricotta Recipe
- Creamy and delicious: This vegan ricotta cheese recipe yields a creamy and flavorful cheese alternative that closely resembles the texture and taste of traditional ricotta. This vegan ricotta cheese substitute has a seriously creamy texture.
- Easy to make: This simple recipe is straightforward and requires minimal effort. With just a few simple ingredients (from any and all grocery stores) and a food processor or blender, you can whip up this vegan ricotta in no time.
- Versatile: The vegan ricotta can be used in a variety of ways. It is a great filling for stuffed pasta shells, lasagna, or savory tarts. It can also be spread on toast, used as a topping for pizzas, or added to dips and spreads.
- Nutrient-packed: The use of extra-firm tofu provides a good source of plant-based protein, while nutritional yeast adds essential B vitamins and a boost of flavor. Olive oil offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and mellow white miso contributes probiotics and a depth of umami taste.
- Customizable: This recipe serves as a great base that you can personalize to your liking. Try different versions with different herbs, spices, or additional ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or fresh herbs to add your twist to the vegan ricotta.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Extra-firm tofu: Choose extra-firm tofu as the key ingredient for this recipe as it has a denser texture and will crumble well to mimic the texture of ricotta cheese. You could also try this recipe with soaked, raw cashews or almonds for almond ricotta or a vegan cashew ricotta cheese.
- Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in vegan cooking as it adds a cheesy flavor to dishes. It also provides essential B vitamins and adds depth of flavor to the vegan ricotta.
- Olive oil: Olive oil helps to enhance the richness and creaminess of the vegan ricotta. Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Garlic: Gives a hint of sharpness and complements the other ingredients. Fresh is better than garlic powder in this recipe.
- Mellow white miso: Miso is a fermented soybean paste that adds a unique umami flavor to the ricotta. Mellow white miso has a mild and slightly sweet flavor, making it ideal for this recipe. It adds depth and richness to the vegan ricotta.
How To Make This Vegan Tofu Ricotta Cheese
Step 1: Crumble the tofu, miso, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend the mixture until creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- Choose the right tofu: Opt for extra-firm tofu for the best texture and consistency. Extra-firm tofu has a lower water content, allowing it to crumble well and resemble the texture of ricotta cheese.
- Properly drain the tofu: Before using it, ensure you drain it properly to remove excess moisture. Gently press the tofu between paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to extract any remaining water. This step is crucial to achieving a creamy and less watery ricotta texture.
- Use nutritional yeast wisely: Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor to the ricotta. Start with a small amount and adjust to your taste preferences. Remember that nutritional yeast can vary in intensity, so it’s better to add gradually and taste as you go.
- Experiment with seasonings: While the basic recipe includes garlic and mellow white miso for flavor, feel free to experiment with additional seasonings and herbs to customize the taste. Add dried herbs like basil, oregano, or thyme, or even fresh herbs like parsley or chives for a fresh and aromatic touch.
- Blend to desired consistency: When processing the ingredients in a food processor or blender, pulse the mixture to achieve the desired consistency. For a more textured ricotta, pulse it briefly. If you prefer a smoother and creamier ricotta, blend longer.
- Adjust consistency with liquid: Depending on your preference and the specific use of the ricotta, you can adjust the consistency by adding small amounts of plant-based milk or water. This can make it creamier or more spreadable, depending on your desired outcome.
Variations and Add-Ins
- Herbed ricotta: Add chopped fresh basil, parsley, thyme, or chives to the mixture. The herbs will lend a vibrant flavor and visual appeal to your ricotta.
- Sun-dried tomato and basil: For a Mediterranean twist, mix chopped sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves into your vegan ricotta.
- Roasted garlic: Gives it a milder, slightly sweet flavor that complements the other ingredients perfectly.
- Spicy ricotta: If you enjoy a little heat, add crushed red pepper flakes or finely diced jalapeños to your vegan ricotta.
- Lemon zest: Incorporate freshly grated lemon zest into the ricotta mixture. Apple cider vinegar is another one to try.
- Nut and seed add-ins: Add toasted pine nuts, chopped almonds, or pumpkin seeds to your vegan ricotta for an extra layer of flavor and texture.
- Smoky and spicy: Add a pinch of smoked paprika to your ricotta. It will infuse a subtle smokiness into the mixture, providing depth and complexity. A little chili powder will taste wonderful, too.
- Artichoke hearts and spinach: Create spinach and artichoke dip-inspired ricotta by adding finely chopped artichoke hearts and sautéed spinach to the mixture.
Make Ahead and Storage Instructions
You can prepare the vegan ricotta ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Follow the recipe instructions, prepare the ricotta mixture, and transfer it to an airtight container. Keep it refrigerated for up to 2-3 days before using it in your desired recipes.
To store any leftover vegan ricotta, transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator.
It will stay fresh for about 3-4 days. Ensure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air exposure and maintain the quality of the ricotta.
If you want to store the vegan ricotta longer, you can freeze it. Transfer the ricotta to a freezer-safe container or divide it into smaller portions for convenience.
Make sure to leave some space at the top of the container for expansion during freezing.
The vegan ricotta can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using it.
Vegan Ricotta Recipe
- 1 14oz package of extra-firm tofu
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tsp mellow white miso
- Lemon juice from ½ a lemon
- Crumbled the tofu, miso, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender and blend the mixture until creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Can I substitute the tofu in the vegan ricotta recipe?
Yes, for nut-based ricotta, you can use soaked and blended cashews or almonds.
Similarly, you can use cooked and mashed white beans or even macadamia nuts for a creamier texture. Keep in mind that the taste and consistency may vary with different substitutions.
Can I use vegan ricotta in recipes as a direct substitute for dairy ricotta?
Yes, you can use vegan ricotta as a direct substitute in most recipes calling for dairy ricotta. It works well in dishes like stuffed pasta shells and lasagna or as a filling for ravioli.
It’s important to note that vegan ricotta may have a slightly different taste and texture than traditional ricotta. It’s always a good idea to experiment and adjust the seasonings and other ingredients in the recipe to suit your taste preferences.