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Easy Vegan Cashew Ricotta

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Soaking Time8 hrs
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 12 (a Heaping 1.5 Cups Total)
Calories: 107kcal
Author: Nisha Vora

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (210g) raw cashews
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) water
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice (or distilled white vinegar)*
  • Zest of ½ of a medium lemon**
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (20g) nutritional yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon white miso paste
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Soak the cashews overnight: Add the cashews to a bowl, cover with cool water, and leave to soak overnight, or for a minimum of 8 hours.*** Drain the soaked cashews and rinse with fresh water.
  • Add soaked and drained cashews to a food processor**** bowl with the water, pickle juice, lemon zest, and lemon juice and blend until the mixture comes together and is smooth as possible.
  • Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, miso, onion powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and pulse repeatedly until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese, scraping down the sides as you go. If you want a smoother texture, blend instead of pulse.
  • Taste, and adjust the flavors to your taste. Add 1 more tablespoon of pickle juice for tanginess, more salt for saltiness, the rest of the lemon zest for more lemon flavor, or more olive oil for more richness.
  • You can use now, but I like to store it in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours to further thicken. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Notes

*If using white vinegar instead of pickle juice, you may need a pinch more of salt and lemon juice. If using pickle juice (just the juice from a jar of pickles), make sure it's a no-sugar added pickle variety, like kosher pickles or dill pickles. Bread and butter pickles, for instance, have sugar and will make this taste sweet. 
**If you like a lemony ricotta, you can use the zest of the entire lemon. For a more subtle lemon taste, use just half the zest. 
***If you’re in a rush, you can quick soak the cashews, though you’ll get the best texture with an overnight soak. If you're not in a rush, you can even soak the cashews for a full 24 hours, changing the soaking water a few times. The longer you soak cashews, they more they plump up and soften. 
For a quick soak, add the cashews to a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes, then drain and rinse with fresh water.
****You can also make this ricotta in a high-powered blender if you have a small blender container (e.g., a 48-ounce Vitamix blender container works great). After step 1, turn off the motor and add the remaining ingredients. First use a silicone spatula to stir to combine, then blend to combine. Again, if you want a super smooth texture, blend it more.