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This homemade cashew ricotta tastes so similar to traditional ricotta that it’s the perfect dairy-free substitute for all your favorite childhood dishes.
When going dairy-free, one of the hardest things for people to give up is cheese. There are a quite a few store-bought vegan cheeses, but they often lack flavor and have a weird texture.
I knew there had to be a way to enjoy cheese again, even if it wasn’t the real thing.
Who Will Enjoy This Cashew Ricotta Cheese?
There are so many people that are either lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy (like myself), or are dairy-free for other health reasons. This is the perfect solution for those who want to have something as good as the real thing without feeling like you have to miss out.
No one should ever feel left out at the dinner table. Ever. Especially once you learn how to make this mouthwatering, ‘cheesy’ goodness.
With only a handful of simple ingredients, you can create this delicious dairy-free ricotta cheese with little effort and for much less money (and much more flavor) than anything you’ll find at the store.
When we think about traditional ricotta, we think of the words creamy, salty, savory, tangy, and slightly sweet. So, when making a dairy-free ricotta alternative, you want to use ingredients that are going to emulate those similar flavors and textures.
- raw cashews – a neutral flavored base that yields a creamy result when blended that is also ever so slightly sweet
- nutritional yeast – adds a hint of cheesy flavor and umami
- fresh lemon juice – gives the cheese that tangy flavor
- apple cider vinegar – the combination of this with lemon juice gives it a more complex tangy flavor
- filtered water – to give it the right consistency
- salt – flavor and saltiness
What Tools Do You Need to Make This?
Regardless of which kitchen tool you use, you’ll have to pulse/blend the mixture and stop to scrape down the sides before you reach your desired consistency.
How to Make Cashew Ricotta
- Soak the cashews. Soak the raw cashews in hot water for 20 minutes (or cold water for 2 hours, longer if your blender isn’t high-powered) then drain and rinse with cold water.
- Blend. In a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
- Adjust. Taste and add more salt or vinegar/lemon juice as needed.
Make It Your Way: Ingredient Substitutions
Please remember that recipes are meant to be used as guides.
How can you make this cashew ricotta cheese using what you already have? Here are some ideas…
- No raw cashews? ➝ raw macadamia nuts also work well because of their slightly sweet flavor and buttery texture
- Nut-free? ➝ raw sunflower seeds can be used with similar results, just soak them and use a blender instead of a food processor
- No apple cider vinegar? ➝ other vinegars that work: white wine or champagne
- Getting the right texture. Traditional ricotta isn’t completely smooth so to achieve that similar texture with cashew ricotta, the key is to get the correct ratio of liquids to solids. Too much liquid will result in a cream sauce, which is also tasty, but not what the intention is here.
- Use raw cashews only. Roasted nuts will impart a very different flavor.
More Dairy-Free Cooking Basics You’ll Love
- Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
- 2-Ingredient Homemade Cashew Cream
- How to Make Miso Butter (DF)
- How to Make Dairy-Free Risotto
Cashew Vegan Ricotta Cheese
- Soak the raw cashews in hot water for 20 minutes (or cold water for 2 hours) then drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a high powered blender, blend and/or pulse until you've reached your desired consistency. (You'll need to scrape the sides down a few times and use the tamper to get the right texture.)
- Taste and add more salt or vinegar/lemon juice as needed.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- The soaking helps to soften up the texture for blending.
- You made need to add more water to get the right consistency. Add a tablespoon more at a time until your preferred texture is achieved.