Recently, I started eating primarily vegan lunches as a way to lower my cholesterol and to be heart-healthy. My vegan cooking repertoire is limited, so I was happy when my friend Nancy of Adventures with Nancy Rose offered to come over and cook with me. I'm fortunate to know so many wonderful, generous people in the food blogging community. I knew my day with Nancy was going to be fun because she has a kind heart and a wicked sense of humor. And I knew the food was going to be delicious because I enjoy the food that Nancy brings to the Food Bloggers Los Angeles meetings and to Camp Blogaway. The hard part was narrowing down what we were going to cook because Nancy knows so many recipes after being a vegetarian for 25 years. We focused on a lunch menu.
Our cooking date was off to a great start when Nancy walked in my house with homemade limoncello as a gift.
Today I am sharing the recipe for Vegan Almond Ricotta because I love the creamy texture, and this recipe is full of flavor. Nancy got the recipe from Miyoko Schinner, who wrote the cookbook Artisan Vegan Cheese,which is the bible for vegan cheese-making. I can't believe how quick and simple this recipe is to make once the nuts are soaked. The ricotta is everything you want a soft spread to be: fresh, creamy, and flavorful. This recipe is a dream come true for anyone like me who can't digest dairy but loves soft cheese.
The fun part was finding ways to enjoy the ricotta. It can be used any way that ricotta and soft cheese are used. Nancy and I enjoyed spreading the ricotta on baguette slices and crackers. We actually liked the ricotta best right out of the blender, so no need to wait for it to chill.
Later, I used the ricotta to make Butternut Squash Lasagna and Stuffed Shells with Marinara Sauce. Heaven. Then Nancy had this idea to try this ricotta in a sweet noodle kugel. To do so, we'll need to leave the basil and garlic out next time so that the ricotta can be used in a different direction. Nancy and I have another delicious project waiting.
|Vegan Almond Ricotta (Dairy-free)|| |
- 2 cups raw, whole almonds or blanched almonds (soaked overnight)
- 5-¼ cups filtered water, divided
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- A few squeezes of fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh basil, sliced thinly
- Put almonds and 4 cups of water in a glass bowl and cover. Soak overnight for 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse almonds. If the almonds have their skins on, pinch each one firmly to slip off the skins, and discard the skins.
- In a high-powdered blender (like a Vitamix), place the almonds, garlic, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and 1 cup of water. Process on high, scraping down the sides as needed. Blend until the ricotta is creamy and fluffy, but still slightly grainy, like dairy ricotta. Add a little more water (about ¼ cup) if needed to achieve a texture that is almost smooth.
- Transfer ricotta to a bowl and stir in the basil. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Let me know in the comments section what ideas you have for enjoying this delicious vegan ricotta.
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