A Homemade Almond Ricotta Recipe Plus My Favorite Dairy-Free Substitutes

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Growing up in a household that’s part Italian-American, I fell hard and fast for ricotta cheese. It was added to every pasta dish, spread on toast, and mixed into big bowls of tomato-broth based soups. If it wasn’t in your fridge at all times, you kind of weren’t really Italian-American. (I am such a drama queen but you get what I mean…)

Since I went dairy-free three years ago, I make my own stand-in for ricotta from almonds now and it’s pretty awesome. I mix my Homemade Almond Ricotta into my favorite pasta bakes or chop in lots of fresh herbs for an appetizing dip. I also whip it with a few other things and pipe it into dairy-free cannolis. Yes, friends, there is a Santa Claus.

At the start of the year, I promised my Instagram followers that I would share my Homemade Almond Ricotta recipe. Then life got in the way. Then writing a cookbook got in the way. But I’m back and ready to share the faux cheesiness with you.

Homemade Almond Ricotta Recipe

Before I do, I thought it might be helpful to talk you through some of my favorite ways to keep my dishes rich and creamy without animal-based dairy. Scroll all the way to the end for the recipe or let’s talk dairy substitutes now.

My favorite dairy-free substitutes

MILK:

Instead of cow’s milk, I only ingest and cook with plant milk. I will use everything from almond milk and coconut milk, to oat milk and rice milk, but my absolute favorite plant milk is cashew milk. Cashew milk is the closest in taste and texture to cow’s milk and instead of infusing a dish with a nutty tastes, it lets the flavors of the dish shine; it actually boosts them. I prefer to make my own cashew milk by whizzing up 1 cup of soaked cashews (at least 4 hours) with 4 cups of filtered water, and sea salt. But I like the store-bought versions of So Delicious, Forager, and Califia Farms.

YOGURT:

I used to miss yogurt — not necessarily in my morning granola but more so the dollop I put on top of a spicy curry or bowl of chili. Typically, I make my own cashew yogurt from cashews, filtered water, lemon juice, salt, and the contents of a probiotic pill. In fact, I’ll share my recipe in my next cookbook. That said, dairy-free yogurt producers have advanced so much so that I often have a tub in the fridge, too. I prefer Kite Hill (plain unsweetened) and splurge on The Coconut Cult once in a while.

WHIPPED CREAM:

Whipped cream was my favorite treat as a child and, alas, remains so today. There’s something about the sweet mixed with the creamy that satiates me (or perhaps comforts me, no judgement, okay?) I always keep cans of full fat coconut milk in the pantry when only a scoop of something creamy will do. I whip it up with a little maple syrup and sea salt. Some people only use the solid part from a can of coconut milk, but I prefer to dump the entire can into a mixer. After you whisk it, the whipped (coconut) cream is soft and billowy. There will be a whipped cream recipe in my next cookbook.

Homemade Almond Ricotta Recipe

PARMESAN CHEESE:

I miss this salty Italian cheese mostly on my pizza. Instead of reaching for the cow’s milk variety, I found my favorite stand-in recipe via my former health coach Sherrie of With Food and Love. She makes an Herby Oregano ‘Parm’ that’s zesty and salty. Scroll to the end of her recipe for the six ingredients she blends together to make a vegan topping for your pizza. Follow Your Heart also makes a Parmesan style Shredded Cheese Alternative that’s pretty good, too.

CREME FRAICHE:

Any good home cook knows that sometimes you need a little creme fraiche to finish a dish. It’s great in a simple pan sauce to stop a steak or to thicken up soups and pasta sauces. Instead of waiting for the world to invent a vegan creme fraiche, I make my own and it was one of the most loved recipes during the testing of my cookbook. I can’t wait to share it with you; it will change your world.

Before you go, let me know down below if this sort of post is helpful to you. I really appreciate how difficult it was to live a life without dairy previously, but there are so many new options to make eating a bit easier. Thanks! -xox

Homemade Almond Ricotta Recipe

Homemade Almond Ricotta

The key is the soak; soaking for less than 48 hours will yield a grainy ricotta. I promise it’s worth the wait.

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (250 g) raw skinned almonds, whole or slivered
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white miso
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, soak the almonds in tap water, covered, for 2 days. Drain and rinse.
  2. To a powerful blender, add the almonds, filtered water, salt, lemon juice, white miso, and nutritional yeast. Blend on low speed until a ricotta texture is achieved and no large almond pieces remain. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times to ensure all the large pieces are blended.
  3. Set up a strainer over a bowl and place two layers cheese cloth into the strainer. Transfer the ricotta to the cheese cloth and let strain in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours or up to overnight, until some liquid is pulled from the ricotta and the texture is as you prefer it.
  4. Chill the ricotta briefly before using. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Lead photo taken by Kristen Teig. All others taken by Maggie Battista.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista–shop girl, writer, author, and creative business coach. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is working to open her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food–as well as coaching women in food to reach life and business goals. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: 100 Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Relationship with Food, Nourish Your Beautiful Body, and Celebrate Real Wellness for Life, will be published by Roost Books on February 5, 2019. 

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