The most common response I hear for people not eating vegan is that they could never give up cheese. I said it myself a dozen times. Bu it turns out that once you discover nuts, you won’t miss cheese nearly as much. This recipe for cashew ricotta is great both as a filling or sauce for dinner pastas as well as a spread for crackers or crostinis. My first foray into cashew ricotta was based on a recipe from Veganomicon. Hardback. When you’re ready for serious vegan inspiration, give it a try. Until then, keep coming back to b-e-d to see what new experiments are in store.
What you’ll need
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 pound firm or extra hard tofu, drained and crumbled (get this in the refridgerated section – it’s not the cartoned silken variety)
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- 1-2 tsp dried basil
- 1-2 tsp salt
How to make it
Cashews are much easier to blend in the food processor than other nuts. I’ll take the time with almonds or macadamias to grind them in the coffee grinder before adding them to a recipe, but I’ve never needed to do that with cashews. Start by blending the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and roasted garlic together. You can use minced garlic instead of roasted garlic if you don’t have any prepared, but it is so easy to roast garlic that I have a new goal to always have some onhand. It smells great, it tastes great and it makes any recipe or meal extra special when you serve it with roasted garlic. It’s too easy not to do it.
Be sure to stop and scrape the sides in your food processor or blender while blending. It’s worth the extra time it takes and will provide a much richer creaminess in the end result.
Add the tofu while blending continuously. Adjust the amount of tofu and oil based on your desired consistency. The ricotta will harden slightly when served cold, but stays soft and paliable at room temperature.
Finally, add the dried basil and salt. I always do a taste check at this step. If you want more lemon, basil, garlic or salt, add as desired then blend, scrape and blend.
Store in an air-tight container in the refridgerator overnight. I’ve used this right away for dips and spreads, but the flavors really coming out after it’s had a day to settle. It’s worth preparing in advance.