Tofu “Ricotta” Cheese

July 12th 098

For whatever reason, I’ve never loved cheese. If I did, I probably would have gotten my fingers caught in more mouse traps as a child. So giving up cheese along with dairy was never hard, but last Summer I tried this Whole Foods recipe for a vegan “ricotta” and really loved it. The herby, seasoned flavor far exceeded any “real” cheese I’d ever tried. For whatever reason I forgot about it for a year and just decided to make it again this week with a few tweaks.

July 12th 074

Making your own cheese substitute has advantages and disadvantages compared to store brands. Since it’s tofu-based, this recipe is higher in protein than most fake cheeses. And the addition of fresh herbs and seasoning creates an unparalleled flavor. Since it doesn’t have a bunch of funky ingredients and stabilizers, it won’t melt like other fake cheese. But is that really such a bad trade off?

Tofu “Ricotta” Cheese(adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

July 12th 090

Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Using a fork, press into the tofu block breaking it up into smaller clumps and mixing it with the other ingredients. Continue this until the ingredients are homogenous and the consistency resembles ricotta cheese. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

July 12th 121

I haven’t found many uses for this so far besides eating it straight from the bowl, but I’m sure with time I’ll find others. Unless I eat it all straight from the bowl, which is a likely scenario, too.

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30 Responses to Tofu “Ricotta” Cheese
  1. Keelie (SweatEqualsSuccess)
    July 14, 2011 | 9:06 am

    Ummm… Yes, please. Amazing.

  2. Errign
    July 14, 2011 | 9:54 am

    I suppose you could make a gluten free lasagna with it?

    Ricotta is one of my favorite cheeses, after goat and cheddar. I actually really like it for breakfast and of course, in cannolis from Mike’s Pastry.

  3. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    July 14, 2011 | 10:15 am

    I love real cheese, but this has me intrigued. If it does in fact taste like ricotta I’m sure it’s great!

  4. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine
    July 14, 2011 | 11:20 am

    This looks so interesting. I’m a huge fan of cashew ricotta, but tofu? Hmmm….must try this!!

  5. lynn @ the actor's diet
    July 14, 2011 | 1:22 pm

    i’ve been reading a lot about tofu ricotta lately! i saw a version with miso too. yum!

  6. Carrie @ TV and Dinners
    July 14, 2011 | 1:24 pm

    I was wanting to make zucchini lasagna with the COPIOUS summer squash in my fridge but I had no ricotta…I must try this.

    (Seriously. Having a CSA in the summer is like signing up for the summer squash fan club. Of which I’m a member, but still. So. Much. Squash.)

  7. Ela
    July 14, 2011 | 5:51 pm

    Thanks for the mousetrap comment–made me smile.

    I’ve always _hated_ cheese–I might hate it more than I hate butter!– (yes, I know I’m weird)–but back when I ate and played with tofu, I definitely enjoyed the tofu-based cheeses and made some good ones. Garlic and nooch do amazing things. Some of the nut-based raw cheeses are great too…

  8. BroccoliHut
    July 14, 2011 | 8:51 pm

    I’ve never had good luck with making tofu ricotta…but maybe the secret is tahini! I’m always game for adding more tahini to my diet:)

  9. Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}
    July 14, 2011 | 9:29 pm

    Never really liked cheese? What?!! Wow. You, my friend, are lucky.

  10. Hannah
    July 14, 2011 | 11:38 pm

    Wait… this is really similar to how I’ve been eating tofu near-daily for weeks! Mashed up with variosu spices and condiments. I never realised I could call it vegan cheese and have it seem awesome rather than weeeeeird! :P

  11. Tiffany
    July 16, 2011 | 11:24 pm

    I HEART cheese, but this sounds pretty freaking tasty (you had me at nutritional yeast). I bet a vegan lasagna would be great with this “ricotta”!

  12. Barbara
    July 17, 2011 | 7:29 pm

    This makes an excellent sandwich or crostini spread. Add fresh cucumber slices, sprinkle of sea salt – yums!

  13. wendyz
    January 3, 2012 | 9:27 pm

    I have made this multiple times and LOVE it! Thank you for this fantastic recipe. My only “change” is that I add a ton more chopped fresh basil – this time about 1/4 cup. Tastes so fresh and yum! xo

  14. Mary Hudak-Colllins
    February 11, 2012 | 1:46 pm

    I have used a recipe quite similar, except that it doesn’t have the tahini in it and I use less basil, adding a few other spices to the mixture. I use it in my lasagne along with baked spaghetti or other pastas. It tastes so incredibly like real ricotta that I am amazed. I don’t say the word ‘tofu’ in the house and no one seems to even be aware that is what is in the meal :)

  15. 74 Ways to Make a Healthier Pizza | Greatist
    September 27, 2012 | 5:31 pm

    [...] If cheese isn’t your cup of tea, try this tofu “cheese” recipe for all the bold flavors of cheese with none of the dairy! Photo by Jordan [...]

  16. ShakespeareMama
    November 1, 2012 | 4:36 pm

    Some suggestions for this yummy vegan ricotta cheese:
    Slice cucumbers the long way, then in half. Hollow out seeds and place ricotta where seeds were.
    Make vegan calzones using croissant rolls as dough (I get mine from Aldi).
    Make vegan manicotti or stuffed shells.
    Use as a pizza topping.
    Use on crackers (with or without other veggie/herb garnishes).
    Mix in with pastas, like ziti, adding tomato sauce or diced tomatoes (with juice), fresh basil and oregano.

    I hope these ideas help! This is a GREAT recipe and surprisingly similar to the actual cheese. Thanks for posting this!

    P.S. Sometimes eating it right out of the bowl is great, too! ;)

  17. » Sausage and Kale Lasagna TurnUpTheEat
    November 26, 2012 | 8:12 am

    [...] For the Ricotta – I modified this recipe. [...]

  18. Marilyn P.
    January 14, 2013 | 5:54 pm

    Does anyone know of a company that sells vegan ricotta cheese?

  19. Rebecca S.
    March 22, 2013 | 3:57 pm

    I am new to all of this. In my research, I’ve found there is both powdered and flaked nutritional yeast. Does it make a difference which you use in the recipe? (If this is repetitive and I’ve missed it somewhere…super sorry! LOL)
    Thanks!

    • Wannabe Chef
      March 22, 2013 | 4:35 pm

      I don’t know that I’ve ever seen powdered nutritional yeast in stores. I think the one I’ve always used would be considered flaked.

  20. [...] ever so slightly adapted this tofu ricotta recipe by swapping the tahini for plain hummus and it was delectable, in fact I ate a lot of it by spoon [...]

  21. Tip Tuesday! | My eDiets Journey
    June 4, 2013 | 3:36 pm

    [...] like cheese?  Try this Tofu “Ricotta” Cheese recipe for all the bold flavors of cheese without the [...]

  22. Gloria
    June 20, 2013 | 4:29 pm

    you can use this crepe and manicotti fillings

  23. Aimee Batuski
    July 9, 2013 | 8:47 pm

    Awesome recipe! Thank you!! And for those of you who are vegan or dairy-free eaters and don’t have the time to make home made cheese all the time, I definitely recommend NuttyCow ricotta and other cheese spreads. They’re dairy-free and vegan! The best alternative when you can’t make dairy-free cheese at home, like with this recipe. Just wanted to share the discovery! :)

  24. [...] cheese isn’t your cup of tea, try this tofu “cheese” recipe for all the bold flavors of cheese with none of the [...]

  25. […] food are easily replaced with recipes involving tofu such as these for a replacement ricotta: here, here, or here. These recipes will work well for recipes needing ricotta such as stuffed shells. What […]

  26. David A
    January 25, 2014 | 11:42 am

    Great recipe. I added a teaspoon of liquid smoke. It also makes a great spread.

  27. Karen
    February 15, 2014 | 11:31 am

    I made this today – thank you it is awesome, I make something very similar but using cider vinegar instead of lemon and italian seasoning and a little avocado oil, I really loved the inclusion of nutritional yeast and tahini … I am using later as a layer in my yam and cauliflower lasagne!

  28. How to #goveg | Moxie Musing
    March 5, 2014 | 10:42 pm

    […] Veg cheese products, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, nut-cheese , creamed cauliflower, homemade “tofu” ricotta, Cashew cheese, creamy avocado , jumbo stuffed shells, alfredo , hummus , coconut milk […]

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