This simple and easy recipe for dairy-free ricotta will have you in awe.
Whether you’re lactose intolerant, leading a vegan lifestyle or just simply trying to expand your culinary skills, this dairy-free ricotta comes together quickly and is just as creamy as the real thing.
What is Ricotta?
Ricotta cheese is a soft and creamy Italian cheese that is traditionally made by curdling cow’s milk which gives it a distinctive sponge-like and bouncy texture.
Ricotta has a mild and slightly sweet taste making it a great ingredient to use for both sweet and savory recipes.
This dairy-free ricotta works just as good and is a spot-on alternative.
Making Non-Dairy Ricotta With Tofu
So, does dairy-free ricotta have to be made with tofu?
Now when it comes to the world of dairy-free eating, there is no one-size fits all since everyone’s needs and even limitations are different.
The most popular base for dairy-free cheese products is nuts because they lend a “near perfect” fermented flavor that we know and love about cheese.
However, if you’re allergic to nuts then this recipe is perfect for you since the base is tofu.
Tofu is a flexible, nutritious soy product that comes in handy for a number of dairy-free recipes.
It is a great source of protein and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. You can use it as a meat substitute in savory recipes or pureed into sweet desserts to add extra creaminess.
Tofu has a neutral almost bland taste which makes it able to absorb any flavor that you add to it.
This is another reason why it makes the best dairy-free ricotta since their flavor profiles are similar.
Not to mention the texture and appearance are both on point too.
Dairy-Free Ricotta Ingredients
As I mentioned, the star of this recipe is tofu. But here’s everything else you need to make the perfect non-dairy ricotta cheese!
- Firm or extra firm tofu
- Lemon juice
- Nutritional yeast
- Grapeseed or olive oil
- Garlic powder
I’ll give you some more suggestions for substitutions a little further down.
How to Make The Best Dairy-Free Ricotta Cheese
Take the tofu out of the packaging and place it in between paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Gently press the tofu to remove as much moisture as you can. You can also place a heavy object on top of the wrapped tofu for 15 minutes to help remove moisture.
Use your hands to crumble the tofu into small pieces and put them in a food processor.
Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, oil, garlic powder, and salt to the processor.
Pulse the mixture in the processor until it has a ricotta cheese-like texture with small lumps. Be careful not to overmix!
Transfer the mixture into a bowl.
Taste it and adjust the seasonings and lemon juice according to your preference.
Once you are satisfied, you can serve it as desired or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Substitutions & Alternatives
opt for firm or extra firm tofu as opposed to soft or silky. This is because we still want to keep the texture of the dairy-free ricotta slightly chunky and not smooth and silky like a puree.
Acid – in this case lemon juice – is important in this recipe since it helps to curdle the tofu and give it that traditional ricotta cheese texture. It also adds a tangy flavor that compliments the recipe.
This cheesy flavored ingredient should not be skipped or substituted. This is what gives the ricotta its cheese-like essence and flavor.
Feel free to jazz up the flavor of this dairy-free ricotta as you would like, maybe add dried or fresh herbs and even fresh fruit for a sweet breakfast spread.
How To Store Dairy-Free Ricotta
When stored correctly, dairy-free ricotta can stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge.
When you’re ready to use it, be sure to use a clean utensil to give it a good stir and scoop it so that you don’t end up contaminating the entire container.
What To Serve With Dairy-Free Ricotta
Now that you’ve made an exceptional dairy-free ricotta, now it’s time to dive in and give it a try.
You can use it in your favorite pasta recipes like lasagna, dolloped on pizza, as the base for a dip or sweetened up for a tasty filling in desserts.