December 5, 2022

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Thick vegan ricotta made from almonds

5 min read

This delicious – and easy! – vegan ricotta made from almonds is perfect for adding to your favourite lasagna or stuffed shell recipes! It’s thick, with the perfect balance of freshness and umami and it comes together in ten minutes or less.

vegan ricotta in glass dish with spoon

You may not know this, but I have always been obsessed with cheese. In my twenties, I probably ate it three meals a day…not kidding! Which is why, for a long time, I didn’t think I could go plant-based, because CHEESE. At the time, cheese alternatives were either A) non-existent or B) gross, so I could not be convinced to go without. 

Fast forward a whole bunch of years, and the vegan cheese options are absolutely mind-blowing. So eating a plant-based or vegan diet doesn’t mean going without, it means making a simple swap. And I absolutely enjoy all of the store bought cheeses, Violife being my favourite for true cheese dupes like sliced cheese and Spread Em’ kitchen for nut-based versions…but I also really enjoy making my own simple nut-based cheeses, like this thick vegan ricotta made from almonds.

As a dietitian, I don’t think you have to shun processed vegan alternatives in order to be healthy. Like I said, I absolutely love a cheese slice or some Beyond Meat every once in a while. However, the more we can get nutrient-dense plant foods into our daily rotation, the better! Which is why I create plant-based recipes both here on the blog and in my books, like Good For Your Gut cookbook, that help you get more plants into your life.

And this vegan ricotta is SUCH A WIN. It’s protein-packed, thanks to almonds (which have 7.5 grams of plant-based protein per ¼ cup!) and contains plenty of fiber to help support your gut health. Oh, and it’s delicious. Because if not, what’s the point??

raw almonds in glass dish with measuring cups

What you’ll need to make this thick vegan ricotta

I love a cashew: they make incredible cream sauces, like my 5 minute cashew alfredo sauce, because they blend up super smooth. Which is why I don’t think they’re quite right for ricotta!

Ricotta is meant to be thick, with a slightly grainy texture, which makes almonds the perfect choice. Almonds have a firmer texture which lends itself well to a vegan ricotta recipe. And you only need 3 ingredients plus about 10 minutes to make this incredible almond ricotta!

  • Raw almonds: use either whole almonds, which you’ll soak, or blanched + slivered almonds 
  • Lemon Juice: gives that freshness that is so prevalent in ricotta
  • Garlic: adds umami and depth to the flavour

You’ll notice that I don’t use nutritional yeast in this recipe…even though it’s one of my go-tos for creating plant-based dairy.

The reason for this is that ricotta is not an aged cheese; it’s a fresh one, made by adding lemon juice to heated milk and then letting it sit until curds form. So it doesn’t build up much of that umami flavour like an aged cheese does!

So with this recipe, I’m leaning into freshness more than umami, with just a little fresh garlic to provide depth. However, if you want a little more ferment-y umami, try adding just 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast at a time and see how you like it.

Do you have to soak your almonds? 

Soaking accomplishes 2 goals: making the skins of whole almonds easier to slip off, and hydrating the almonds a bit so they blend up creamier.

But yes…you can absolutely skip it, if you use blanched, slivered almonds instead, like I do for my vegan parmesan cheese recipe. You may find you need just a little bit more water drizzled in to achieve the texture you’re looking for, just use your eyes as a guide!

How to use this thick vegan ricotta

You can use this almond ricotta cheese anywhere you’d use dairy cheese!

Try this ricotta in pasta dishes, such as lasagna or pasta shells…or just dollop it on any pasta or pizza or salads. You could also use it to make a ricotta toast; try it topped with a bit of jam or pesto for a simple light meal. This would also be great for making homemade cannoli or you could whip it with some maple syrup as a decadent topping for waffles or pancakes!

Another amazing entertaining idea: spread on a platter, and drizzle with good quality olive oil, plus plenty of salt, pepper and top with sliced olives OR antipasto OR a spicy chutney so people can dunk bread or crackers into it, kind of like that butter board trend but with ricotta!

Almond Ricotta Tips, Tricks + Suggestions

  • Want to make this recipe even faster? Use blanched, silvered almonds instead so you can skip the soaking. You’ll have ricotta in 5 minutes flat!
  • You can store this ricotta in the fridge for 3-5 days, in an airtight container.
  • Yes, you can absolutely make this ricotta with cashews (don’t soak!)…just be careful not to over-blend so it becomes too creamy.
  • Want a looser, more whipped texture? You can continue to blend as you slowly drizzle more water (or maple syrup, for a sweet option!) into the food processor until you have the texture you’re looking for.

More vegan staple recipes

vegan ricotta in glass dish with spoon

Thick vegan ricotta made from almonds

This delicious – and easy! – vegan ricotta made from almonds is perfect for adding to your favourite lasagna or stuffed shell recipes! It’s thick, with the perfect balance of freshness and umami and it comes together in ten minutes or less.

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  • cups raw almonds, soaked in just boiled water for 4 hours, OR use blanched, slivered almonds instead
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed, or grated on a microplane
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • If using soaked whole almonds, slip off their skins so the ricotta maintains the right colour.

  • Place almonds into a small food processor with water, lemon juice, garlic and salt and process until it turns into a thick paste, 1-2 minutes. Scrape once or twice.

  • Taste ricotta, adjust salt, lemon or garlic to your tastes. You’ll know you have the intended texture when it forms a ball when pressed in your hand without being too dry.

  • Once you have the thick ricotta base, if you want it to have a more whipped texture, let the motor run as you drizzle in more water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until you get there. You may need to adjust salt as the volume of water goes up!

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