Where I live, cheese is practically a religion. Wisconsinites worship its creamy, salty, stinky yumminess like they worship beer and the Green Bay Packers. In fact, the first thing to come out of someone’s mouth when I tell them I’m vegan is typically, “I could NEVER give up cheese!” I suppose now, I could reply, “Well, thank the vegan gods for almond ricotta!”
Like their cousins, the mighty cashews, almonds can be a satisfying stand-in for “real cheese” in a healthy plant-based diet. This super convincing almond ricotta works great in recipes–or all on its own. I use it in veggie lasagna and pizza, dolloped on top of pasta, or simply spread over crackers or bread. I especially like it on crostini as a base layer for other fresh, seasonal ingredients. (Watch for crostini recipes coming soon!)
This almond ricotta’s super-smooth, magically creamy texture comes from soaking the almonds overnight and then blending them at a high speed. (No surprise to you seasoned vegan cooks, I’m sure.) It gets its nice, fresh tang from a complement of vinegar, lemon and yogurt. I’m telling you friends, this ricotta is truly amazing!
And just like the real thing, it’s plenty versatile, working equally well in savory or sweet dishes. Its flavor is so neutral, it just kind of goes with the flow and complements other flavors without taking over. (Like in the pizza pictured here, where it takes on the slightly sweet notes of the squash, basil and red onion. Ok, so I’m actually noshing on this pizza while I write and, yes, it’s just as good as it looks!)
In a pinch, it is possible to make this almond ricotta recipe in a food processor, but I don’t recommend it. It will still get smooth, but I find that little, chewy bits of nut will remain, even if you soak the almonds in boiling water and then overnight.
So if you want a truly convincing ricotta, I’d stick with the blender. You do have to be patient, processing it in batches and being careful not to bog down your blender, but the final result will be OH SO worth it. Let me know if you agree!
- 2 cups slivered almonds, covered in water overnight
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup vegan plain unsweetened yogurt (Something tangy. I like cashew yogurt for this recipe)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Add the water, yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt to a high speed blender, like a Vitamix. Blend for a few seconds.
- Drain and rinse the almonds. (SEE NOTES) Add the almonds to the blender 1/3 at a time and process on high speed. As you add more almonds and the mixture gets thicker, start on lower speeds and gradually increase the blender speed as the mixture becomes creamier. Add small amounts of water and yogurt to thin if needed. The ricotta will thicken up some in the refrigerator.
- After blending, add more salt, vinegar or lemon to taste.