Since adopting a plant-based diet, I made the personal decision to eliminate dairy products. I’ve never been a fan of milk*, but cheese has been my life’s fuel.
However, as I have been trying to reverse my pre-diabetes, I knew that cutting dairy was one step I had to take to become a healthier human being. I also became detested by the horrorsof the Dairy Industry. With all that being said, I acknowledged that eliminating animal-based cheeses was something that I personally had to do.
But to be honest, as I have transitioned towards eating in a predominatly plant-based manner, I have not really been satisfied with any of the store-brought vegan cheese alternatives-most of them either taste like cardboard, are super processed, or are just too expansive. Hence, I became increasingly frustrated.
That combined frustration has driven me to begin the gradual process of making my own cheeses from scratch! Not only does that result in cutting out the processed junk, but is cheaper too! Creating homemade cheeses also gives me a greater appreciation and connection to the foods I’m consuming.
· 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
· 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
· 1/8 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
· 2 cups raw cashews, soaked
· 1/3 cup reserved water from soaked cashews
· 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
· 2 garlic cloves, or ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder (depending on how garlicky you like your ricotta)
· Dash of salt and black pepper
1. Soaking the cashews: You can either let the cashews soak in cold water ahead of time, for at least an hour, by doing it overnight. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT, you can always soak the cashews for about 15 minutes in boiling water. If this is the step you decide on, make sure to immediately drain the cashews (and reserve ½ cup of the water).
2. In a food processor, combine all of the listed ingredients, and let it pulse, blend for about 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture has the thick consistency and texture of ricotta cheese. You will want to check on the mixture periodically and scrape the sides of the processor a few times.
3. Serve and enjoy! Feel free to add this to whatever savory dish you like!
4. WARNING: This recipe is SO delicious, that you MIGHT just wind up eating this straight from the processor. You have been told.
Note: If you’d rather have a more neutral-flavored ricotta, feel free to do away with the garlic and onion, and black pepper. This way, you can add it to your favorite sweet dishes. You can also sub the olive oil for either a lighter oil, like light olive, grape seed, or avocado oil.
* When I mention milk in this post, I am referring to Dairy animal-based milk from cows, sheep, or goats.
Nutritional information per serving:
201g calories/ 7g protein/15g fat/11.5g carbs/ 1.4g fiber