Thursday, December 8, 2011

Herbed Cashew Ricotta Cheese

I'm pretty much obsessed with Cashew Cheese.

In fact, when I discovered that nuts in general (cashews, almonds, macadamias, pine nuts, etc) have the ability to create silky, creamy and delicious dips, spreads, desserts and ricotta cheese, I was over the moon! What an amazing alternative to dairy. I am also pleased to report that I have never met a single person (vegan or not!) who has disagreed.

The trick is to soak your raw, unsalted nuts (in this case, cashews) in water for as little as a few hours or up to overnight. Once soft, they easily grind in the food processor. With just a few simple ingredients, transform your soaked cashews into a crowd-pleasing masterpiece.

Start with your BASE.

2 cups soaked cashews (drained & rinsed)
1/4 cup soy milk (or any plain milk alternative)
1 TB olive oil
1 TB agave (or honey)
1/2 tsp salt

Add cashews, soy milk, olive oil & agave to your food processor and blend until creamy. Add salt and pulse to combine. This cashew base will be your starting board to an endless world of dips, spreads, desserts and cheese. Here are some ideas to get your mind racing, and then below is the full recipe for Herbed Cashew Ricotta Cheese:

Lemon/Basil: add juice from one lemon and a handful of fresh basil. Garlic too.
Roasted Garlic: add a handful of sweet roasted garlic cloves soaked in a bit of EVOO.
Thyme and Citrus: Grind some orange zest and crush fresh or dried thyme into your ricotta.
Black and Blue: Add a few drizzles of a thick balsamic, throw in a few grinds of mixed color peppercorns and maybe even some sweet fresh or dried figs.
Spicy: Process in a fresh jalapeno, horseradish or roasted spicy pepper.
Savory Olive Mushroom: Add in black olives and raw button mushrooms.
Sweet Peach: Fold in chopped fresh peaches and maple syrup for a sweet twist on ricotta dip.
Strawberry Cream: Fold in maple syrup and fresh strawberries and top with fresh soy creamer. Cinnamon and dessert wafers for garnish.

Herbed Cashew Ricotta Cheese

2 cups soaked cashews (drained & rinsed)
1/4 cup soy milk (or any plain milk alternative)
1 TB olive oil
1 TB agave (or honey)
1 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt (kosher or pink Himalayan is best)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

In your food processor, combine cashews, soy milk, olive oil, agave, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy. Add chives, garlic, salt and pepper and pulse until combined.


  1. O. M. F. G!!! Let me tell you what I just made using your cashew ricotta as a base. We were feeling hungry & it is late, so i browsed the fridge. we had some left over Rotel, cilantro, corn tortillas, a can of diced hatch green chilis, and Daiya cheddar cheese. All I needed was a filling & we didn't have any refried beans in the house.

    So, I used your ricotta recipe above, added some of the green chilis (maybe a tbsp?) and a small garlic clove to the blender and pureed til smooth.

    Then I heated corn tortillas til sort of soft. I filled each with ricotta, lined the rolls on a plate, covered with fake cheddar cheese, rotel & microw aved for 3 mins or so until the cheese melted, then loaded the plate up with cilantro.

    The dish rocked!!!!

    1. YUM that sounds delish!! So happy you liked it :)