This vegan ricotta cheese recipe is easy to make and creates an ultra-creamy dairy free ricotta alternative. It’s made with almonds and tofu for a perfectly rich and delicious flavor.
You’ll find it’s easy to make and comes together in under 15 minutes. The best part is you can serve this ricotta right away; no straining needed!
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Is Ricotta Cheese Vegan?
Ricotta cheese is almost always made from cow milk, meaning it’s not vegan. Unless made with plant-based milk or other vegan ingredients, like nuts or tofu, it isn’t a vegan option.
Ricotta is a mild, unaged cheese that’s slightly tart. It’s often used in pasta dishes, like spinach and ricotta lasagna.
This vegan alternative creates a super thick and creamy ricotta that you can easily spread or crumble. It works well for pasta dishes and many other applications but not for baking.
Dairy Free Ricotta Ingredients
This recipe uses 6 simple ingredients to create a deliciously creamy, cheesy ricotta. They include:
- Almond flour: Almond flour is the perfect way to make an easy and delicious vegan ricotta. Since the almonds are already blended evenly, it reduces the amount of work you need to do. Almond flour is simply made from grinding blanched or raw almonds. If needed, you can use a food processor or blender to create your own almond flour from raw or blanched almonds. Just be careful to not over-blend into almond butter.
- Extra firm tofu: Along with almond flour, extra firm tofu is a base ingredient for this recipe. This creates a super thick ricotta that holds together easily but can also crumble. I use extra firm tofu that I don’t need to press. With extra firm tofu, you can serve it right away without draining liquid through a cheese cloth. While you can use any tofu for this recipe, softer tofu options require you to strain in cheese cloth before serving. The texture won’t be quite as thick and rich compared to using extra firm tofu either.
- Plant-based milk: Since the almond flour and tofu are “dry” ingredients, you’ll need liquid to help them blend. I like to use unsweetened soy milk, but any unsweetened plant-based milk should work fine.
- Lemon juice: Ricotta cheese typically has a tart and slightly sour flavor. To achieve those qualities in this recipe, use some lemon juice. While you can serve the cheese right away, letting it sit overnight gives the ingredients time to meld together and allows the lemon time to “sour” other ingredients. Don’t worry though, your vegan ricotta won’t taste sour, just a bit tangy and delicious. You could substitute for another acidic ingredient like vinegar. I recommend 1 ½ tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or 1 tablespoon of white vinegar if you don’t have lemon juice on hand.
- Nutritional yeast: This secret ingredient is the key to making vegan cheeses taste like dairy products. It has a deliciously cheesy flavor that I find essential in making dairy free recipes!
- Salt: Cheese is salty. To make a convincing and delicious vegan cheese alternative, you need salt to get the right flavor. While you can lessen the amount of salt, just know the final result won’t be as tasty or quite as “realistic”.
Herb and Garlic Flavoring (Optional)
- Dry basil and oregano: These two dry herbs work perfectly together to add some tasty flavor to the cheese.
- Onion and garlic powder: Along with the herbs, onion and garlic powder add delicious flavor to the ricotta!
How to Make Tofu and Almond Ricotta
This ricotta comes together in just a few simple steps! Read the detailed directions below or watch my short video to learn how to make this recipe.
Step 1: Add Ingredients to Food Processor
Start by prepping your extra firm tofu. I buy tofu that doesn’t need pressing (no extra liquid comes out) but if you typically press your tofu, start with that.
Releasing the excess moisture from tofu helps the ricotta come out thick, rich and ready to serve right away. You can skip this step, but later you’ll need to drain away excess moisture by placing the ricotta into cheese cloth for 1-24 hours.
Once you’ve pressed the tofu (if needed), roughly crumble it into a food processor.
Add all the other ingredients to your food processor, including almond flour, plant-based milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt.
Step 2: Blend to Smooth
Once your ingredients are in the food processor, blend until smooth. You’ll need to scrape the food processor edges down a few times during this process.
The result should be a thick, creamy mixture that holds together when pressed, but can also crumble easily.
Step 3: Shape and Serve
Carefully remove the ricotta from your food processor and shape however you like. You can wrap the ricotta in cheese cloth to easily shape it into a ball, or simply use your hands. Using extra firm or pressed tofu, the ricotta should be easy to handle without using cheese cloth.
If you pressed the tofu and the ricotta is thick, creamy and holding together (while still being able to crumble it), you can serve straight away.
If you didn’t press the tofu, or your ricotta seems thin or watery, you’ll need to strain it. Line a mesh strainer with cheese cloth and place your almond tofu ricotta into the cheese cloth. Set this over a bowl and let excess liquid to drain for 1-24 hours (until excess liquid is gone).
Letting the ricotta refrigerate overnight, before serving, allows the flavors time to come together. You’ll end up with a sharper, tangier ricotta.
How to Create a Balanced Vegan Meal
The base of this ricotta cheese is almonds and tofu, both of which offer healthy fats and plant-based protein. Overall, the recipe is lower in carbohydrates and doesn’t contain any vegetables or fruits.
Since this is an appetizer, it’s meant to be paired with other foods. If those foods offer some nutritious carbs and vegetables or fruits, you’ll have a balanced meal.
Use it on a cheese board with crackers or baguettes and some veggies for a crowd-pleasing appetizer! It’s a great centerpiece for a vegan cheese board that’s sure to impress.
I love using this recipe in spinach lasagna where tomato sauce, spinach and noodles round out the ricotta to create a delicious, comforting meal.
You can also use this ricotta as a spread in sandwiches, wraps or even burgers. Try crumbling it on top of a salad or a pasta dish too!
This recipe is not intended for baking recipes. While people often use traditional (dairy) ricotta in desserts or baking, this recipe won’t work for those. You can bake it inside a lasagna or on a pizza, just cover the cheese with other ingredients. Otherwise, it’ll dry out in your oven.
How to Store Leftover Vegan Ricotta
Refrigerate leftover ricotta in an airtight container for up to a week.
It tastes even better after refrigerating for a day or two, if you can let is sit for that long! I haven’t tried freezing this recipe because I don’t think it’ll work. Tofu releases a lot of water and drastically changes texture when frozen, so I suspect this recipe wouldn’t turn out well if frozen.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Ricotta Cheese (Almond and Tofu)
Vegan Ricotta Base
Step 1: Add Ingredients to Food Processor
- If you typically press your tofu, start with that. Releasing extra moisture will ensure the ricotta is thick, creamy and ready to serve straight away. Tofu with extra liquid may result in a ricotta that you need to strain in cheese cloth (which is fine, but it won’t be ready to serve until after straining).150 grams extra firm tofu
- Add almond flour to your food processor.¾ cup almond flour
- Roughly crumble extra firm tofu into your food processor.150 grams extra firm tofu
- Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor: plant-based milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt. If making the herb and garlic flavor, also add dry basil, dry oregano, onion powder and garlic powder.3 tablespoons plant-based milk, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon dry basil, ½ teaspoon dry oregano, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Step 2: Blend to Smooth
- Blend the mixture until all ingredients are evenly incorporated and you have a thick, creamy cheese.
- You’ll need to stop and scrape the edges of the food processor a few times as you go.
Step 3: Shape and Serve
- Carefully remove the ricotta from your food processor and shape it however you like. You can use cheese cloth to wrap the ricotta and shape it into a ball, or simply use your hands.
- You can serve this ricotta right away, assuming the tofu was extra firm and/ or pressed.
- If needed, place the ricotta in cheese cloth then into a mesh strainer and sit for 1-24 hours to strain away excess moisture.
- For a tangier and more well-rounded flavor, refrigerate your cheese overnight.
More Vegan Cheese Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.