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This nut-free vegan tofu ricotta is creamy, tangy, protein-packed, versatile, and easy to make (and customize) with just a handful of ingredients in under 5 minutes!
Quick and Easy 5-Minute Vegan Ricotta Cheese
If you’ve never made vegan cheese before, this vegan substitute for ricotta cheese is the perfect place to begin. Tofu ricotta is so simple to pull together with just a handful of inexpensive pantry ingredients, a few minutes, and a food processor, blender, or even a fork.
Plus, unlike cashew and almond-based ricotta recipes, this nut-free tofu ricotta recipe is far more cost-effective, requires no long soak (or even pressing of the tofu!), and contains much less fat and calories. It’s more cost-efficient than store-bought versions, too!
While not identical to dairy ricotta, it makes for an impressive, satisfying dairy-free ricotta cheese both in terms of flavor and texture. It’s also really easy to customize with extra herbs and seasonings. Plus, it can be used in almost all the ways regular ricotta can- with pasta, pizza, over toast, desserts, and more.
Make a basic vegan tofu ricotta recipe with as few as 3 ingredients, or make our preferred flavor variety with 7 ingredients (plus salt and pepper).
Basic Tofu Ricotta
- Firm tofu: Use firm tofu (or extra-firm) for the best texture. There’s no need to press it.
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice works best. Apple cider vinegar would also work.
- Sea salt: To season to taste.
- Nutritional yeast: While technically optional, this ingredient adds cheesiness and umami to this recipe for vegan ricotta cheese.
The Savory Seasoning
- Garlic: We prefer fresh garlic, though powdered will work too. Alternatively, roasted garlic adds interesting, lightly caramelized depth (you’ll need more, though).
- Seasonings: While technically optional, we love to flavor the vegan ricotta recipe with a combination of dried oregano, red pepper flakes (for spice), and black pepper.
- Fresh basil: Optional but great for a hint of freshness, extra flavor, and color.
There are plenty of ways to experiment with flavor variations of this vegan ricotta cheese recipe, whether sweet or savory. Here are several ingredients you can play with.
- Fresh herbs: Aside from basil, try parsley, chives, oregano, thyme, or rosemary.
- Kala namak: i.e. black salt. This salt is sulphuric and perfect for adding egginess to vegan dishes. It also helps mimic the traditional ricotta flavor more.
- White miso paste: Just a small amount (1-2 tsp) can add a wonderfully umami-rich depth that tastes wonderful in the dairy-free ricotta cheese.
- Spices: I.e., smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
- Lemon zest: To add a subtle yet bright flavor to the plant-based ricotta.
- Onion: Increase its aromatic smell and flavor with finely diced and sauteed or caramelized onions or shallots. Onion powder works for a subtler flavor.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: Finely chopped to add a rich, robust, tangy, concentrated tomato flavor. Optionally pair with fresh herbs and/or black olives.
- Spinach: To sneak in nutrients, this version is great for lasagna, too.
- Vanilla extract: For a sweet tofu ricotta recipe, add a few drops of natural vanilla.
How to Make Vegan Ricotta
- First, juice the lemon and peel the garlic.
- Then, add all the tofu ricotta ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth (we like just a little texture, but you can make it completely smooth).
- Taste and adjust any of the seasoning levels, then enjoy!
For the best flavor, leave the vegan tofu ricotta to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld and enhance.
Store this vegan ricotta substitute in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, stirring it between uses.
We wouldn’t usually recommend freezing tofu, as its texture can change upon thawing. However, we haven’t tried, and others have frozen it with success for up to three months.
How To Use Vegan Tofu Ricotta?
This non-dairy ricotta cheese is a great vegan replacement in most recipes that call for dairy ricotta. Just a few of our favorite options include:
- Dip: With crackers, chips, and crudités.
- Over bread: i.e., toast/crostini, often paired with grilled fruit and maple syrup or tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. You can also dollop it over pizza/ in calzones.
- Stuffed pasta: Use it for vegan stuffed pasta shells, ravioli, cannoli, etc.
- Other pasta: i.e., in a lasagna, in baked ziti, as a simple pasta sauce, etc.
- Filling: Stuff pastries or crepes with sweet or savory ricotta filling.
- Dessert: i.e., with roasted peaches or a sweet ricotta bowl with fruit & granola.
Pro Recipe Tips
- Adjust the texture: We prefer it pretty smooth with just a little texture but feel free to adapt it to your liking.
- To make ricotta for sweet recipes: Omit the savory seasonings/herbs; just add a little salt.
- Experiment with flavors: This is highly customizable.
- If you don’t have a processor/blender: It’s possible to mash and mix the ingredients (first finely mince anything that requires it- like the garlic and herbs) with a fork or by hand. It won’t be as smooth and creamy, though.
- If it’s too thick: Add a little plant-based milk, one teaspoon at a time.
- Leave it to rest: The flavors of this vegan ricotta cheese substitute will meld and develop as it sits, so leaving it to rest for a while (at least 30 minutes) before serving is best.
More Vegan Cheese Recipes
Serving: 1gCalories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 21gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 33mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 304mgIron: 3mg
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