This amazing vegan ricotta recipe only takes 4 ingredients and less than ten minutes to process. The flavor is clean and light, made without tofu or nutritional yeast.
Best of all, it's the perfect replacement for traditional ricotta in Italian lasagne recipes and quick pasta meals like Vegan Ricotta Pasta With Sausage and Kale. That's because it's made with rich macadamia nuts in place of cashews and has a snow-white color.
Why this recipe is best
- 4 ingredients and water
- 10 minute easy process with pre-soaked nuts.
- Macadamia nuts replace cashews for more refined taste and better texture.
- No tofu, nutritional yeast, miso, apple cider vinegar or overwhelming flavors.
- Oil-free, whole food and plant-based.
- Freezer friendly.
Begin blending homemade macadamia nut ricotta cheese at medium-low speed. Once the nuts are a uniform texture about the size of lentils, turn the machine up and finish to a fine-grain texture.
The ingredients for this recipe couldn’t be simpler. The preparation technique transforms soaked raw macadamia nuts into a barely sweet, utterly delicious, fresh ricotta.
A pinch of nutmeg and quality sea salt flavor the cheese. The result is ricotta that would fool anyone into thinking it’s made by an artisan Italian cheesemaker.
- Raw macadamia nuts - are rich in healthy facts and can be ground to a fine-grained texture that mimics traditional fresh ricotta cheese.
- Nutmeg - adds a subtle, unique taste that works beautifully in recipes like lasagne, canneloni, and gnocchi as well as cheesecakes and desserts.
- Sea salt - a touch adds the savoriness desired in cheese.
- Lemon juice - keeps the tang mellow.
Step by step
Soak untoasted, unseasoned macadamias overnight in plenty of water. Then you can make fluffy, snow-white vegan cheese in minutes.
- Soak raw macadamias overnight.
- Rinse and drain well.
- Combine with sea salt, nutmeg , lemon and water.
- Process in a Vitamix with a tamper.
The real magic of this ricotta cheese substitute is the perfect mouthfeel of the finished recipe. The right equipment will help you achieve this ideal texture.
- Vitamix - or equivalent high-powdered blender with a tall canister work best.
- Tamper - helpful to move mixture while blending.
Cashews and macadamia nuts
You might be wondering why cashews are used in place of cheese in many recipes? Just like macadamia nuts, they are a nutritious replacement with a neutral taste that conveniently takes on seasonings.
However, if you want the characteristic, superfine grain that is unique to ricotta, macadamia nuts will make all the difference.
Macadamia nuts are harder than cashews with two-thirds as much heart-healthy fat, which is a plus in this recipe without any added oil.
Additionally, blended cashews thicken when cooked and macadamia nuts don't. Since ricotta is usually baked in recipes, it's helpful to have a vegan cheese that won't alter the recipe as it cooks.
Yes! This vegan ricotta cheese made with macadamia nuts freezes and thaws very well. Give it a brief stir and you can use it in all your cooked recipes just like freshly made macadamia nut ricotta.
The color will alter ever so slightly and the cheese won't be quite as creamy. So, keep this in mind if you want to use it in delicate recipes that aren't cooked. We recommend a fresh batch for its subtle difference when basically eating cheese off a spoon.
The curds and whey in cow's milk separate during freezing and the water turns to ice. Unfortunately, it won't stir back to its original consistency after it's thawed. Some people won't mind this in baked foods. However, homemade vegan ricotta made from macadamia nuts freezes and thaws much better.
Best Vegan Ricotta Recipe
- 1 ½ cups raw macadamia nuts
- ¾ cup water less one tablespoon
- ¼ tsp. quality sea salt
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
Soak macadamia nuts
- Place nuts in a quart jar and fill with water. Soak overnight and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Rinse and drain nuts well. Place in a Vitamix with remaining ingredients. Measure water carefully and don't add too much.
- Turn Vitamix on to medium-low speed and grind briefly until nuts are a uniform coarse meal.
- Turn Vitamix up to the highest speed and use the tamper to assist blending. Blend until mixture is fluffy, creamy, and smooth but still has a bit of fine-grain like traditional ricotta cheese.
- Likely the mixture will be slightly warm at this point. Don't blend past a lukewarm temperature and keep a bit of fine-grain in the cheese rather than blending perfectly smooth.
- Your ricotta is ready to eat as is or use in any recipe you like.
- Store freshly made ricotta in the refrigerator for 3 days or freeze up to three months.
- The sea salt and pinch of nutmeg in this recipe are what makes it taste so fantastic in savory dishes.
- If you are planning to use the ricotta exclusively for desserts, you can leave out the salt and nutmeg and have good results. Then it can be flavored with vanilla, almond extract, or sweet spices as desired.