This version of fresh ricotta has all the fluffy richness without the dairy. If you’re not sure you like ricotta, think of some of the delicious, iconic dishes that would be lost without it: lasagna, cannoli, white pizza. The fact that ricotta is mild makes it a versatile starting point and blank canvas for traditional and nontraditional dishes. Need to add protein to a salad, roasted veggie dish, or even pancakes? Reach for ricotta!

Fresh Ricotta [Vegan]

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cashews (soaked for 8 to 12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes and drained) or the Substitution of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon lactic acid or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
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Preparation

  1.  Combine the cashews, salt, lactic acid, and 1/2 cup of the water in the blender.
  2. Pulse a few times in the blender, stopping to scrape down the side of the container to make sure all of the cashews are incorporated. (Note: If you accidentally overblend, you will make cashew cream, also delicious! Simply drain it in cheesecloth and use it as you would sour cream.)
  3. If necessary, add more of the remaining 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the blender can run smoothly.
  4. Stop blending when the mix looks like wet oatmeal. If you are happy with the texture, you do not need to drain it (it will also thicken a little in the refrigerator). It’s ready to eat; or to drain, you can proceed to step 5.
  5. f you need to drain the ricotta, place the cheesecloth in the colander and the colander in the bowl, in order to catch the liquid. Pour the ricotta blend into the cloth-lined colander.
  6. Lift and twist the cheesecloth into a bundle. Squeeze until you see liquid (cashew milk) drip out. Use the cashew milk or “whey” that drains out within 3 days in smoothies, biscuit recipes, and creamy soups.
  7. Your drained Fresh Ricotta is ready to eat. Use it right away or store it in the refrigerator in a dry, covered container. Enjoy it

Notes

Here are some substitutions to cashews: 2 cups raw macadamia nuts (soaked for 8 to 12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes, drained) 2 cups blanched almonds (soaked for 8 to 12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes, drained) 2 cups raw sunflower seeds (soaked for 8 to 12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes, drained)Not as dense and rich, but still very tasty: 2 cups cooked, drained white beans (cannellini, navy, or Great Northern), no water at all, plus 1 tablespoon tapioca powder and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

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