This vegan cashew tofu ricotta is blended with fresh basil and has a mild savory flavor perfect for lasagna, toast, or your favorite pasta dish. It’s quick and easy to make, and completely dairy free!
This post is sponsored by EZ Tofu Press.
Tofu ricotta is one of those old school vegan cheese recipes that has stood the test of time! I’ve been making variations of this recipe for many years, typically as a vegan alternative to ricotta for lasagna.
Making a good vegan ricotta is all about getting the texture right. I used the EZ Tofu Press to remove some of the water from the tofu to allow it to blend well with the flavors and textures of the other ingredients. The vegan Parmesan and raw cashews (no soaking required!) bring a bit of grittiness to the cheese, similar to traditional ricotta.
This version calls for onion, garlic, fresh basil, and pepper, which add a subtle punch of flavor to the neutral ricotta base. It’s perfect for all of your favorite pasta recipes!
- Raw cashews
- Vegan Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Onion or shallot
- Freshly ground black pepper
I like to use extra firm tofu for this recipe because it will hold up in the food processor and give the ricotta some texture. Pressing out some of the water using the EZ Tofu Press will make it crumble easily, creating the right texture for the base of the ricotta so it’s ready to mix with the cashews and olive oil. You could also use firm tofu, making sure to press it well, but avoid soft or medium firm tofu because it will be very mushy when blended.
It’s important to use raw cashews for this recipe because they have a neutral flavor. Roasted cashews will overpower the flavor of the ricotta.
Vegan Parmesan Cheese
You can use store bought or homemade vegan Parmesan cheese. I prefer to use Parmesan crumbles or finely grated cheese rather than shreds for the texture.
My favorite Parmesan for this recipe is my 5 Minute Vegan Parmesan, which is made with cashews, walnuts, and nutritional yeast. It gives the ricotta its signature gritty texture and adds a slightly nutty flavor. For a bonus burst of flavor, you can sprinkle extra Parmesan on your pasta dishes or other recipes made with ricotta.
Basil adds a fresh, peppery flavor to the ricotta. Make sure to use fresh basil, not dried, as the flavor will be different and too strong for the neutral flavor of ricotta.
If you don’t have basil or would like to mix it up, you could replace it with a different fresh herb such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano.
- EZ Tofu Press
- Food processor
EZ Tofu Press
The first step to every tofu recipe is pressing the tofu! Back in the day, the go-to method of pressing tofu was wrapping the tofu in paper towels or a dish towel, placing it between 2 dinner plates, then weighing it down with heavy books or cans.
Nowadays, I only use that method if I’m not cooking at home and forgot my EZ Tofu Press!
The EZ Tofu Press is a small kitchen appliance made to press the water out of tofu quickly so it can soak up all the flavor and bake or fry to crispy perfection. It’s made of two plastic plates that apply pressure to the block of tofu when you turn the tension knobs.
Made in the USA with BPA-free, USDA-approved plastic, the EZ Tofu Press is built to last. Get your own EZ Tofu Press to make tofu ricotta and all of your favorite tofu recipes!
The best way to make this recipe is in a food processor. It works well to crush the cashews, onions, and basil, and mix in the tofu without pulverizing it.
If you don’t have a food processor, you could use a blender to blend up all the ingredients except the tofu, then mash the tofu by hand. Most blenders will make the tofu too mushy.
Press the tofu using the EZ Tofu Press, tightening the knobs every few minutes, until it’s about ⅔ its original size, about 10 minutes.
You don’t need to press it as long as is needed for a typical tofu recipe for baking or pan frying, when you would remove more of the water.
Combine all ingredients except the pressed tofu in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Add the tofu and process in 3-5 seconds at a time until the tofu is finely crumbled and the other ingredients are spread evenly throughout the tofu mixture. It’s best to use the pulse setting for this.
Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides and help incorporate the mixture into the tofu.
Don't overblend or the tofu will become mushy. You could also finish mashing the tofu by hand to avoid this.
Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Store leftover tofu ricotta in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Tofu ricotta is best eaten fresh. I would not recommend freezing it, as freezing will alter the texture.
🍝 How to Use
This cashew tofu ricotta can be used in any savory dish where you would use dairy ricotta. It really shines in pasta dishes or as a dip on an appetizer platter!
Since this is savory ricotta made with onion, garlic, and basil, I would not recommend using it in dessert recipes.
Ricotta is an essential ingredient in lasagna. Add it to your favorite recipe, sub for dairy ricotta in a veganized recipe, or try my Pesto and Roasted Vegetable Vegan Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta.
Top your favorite pasta dishes with tofu ricotta or make a baked pasta dish like stuffed shells.
You can spread tofu ricotta on toast like any other spreadable cheese or add to bruschetta. Top with fresh herbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Dollop ricotta on any pizza in place of or in addition to vegan mozzarella!
You can leave out the basil if you don’t like the flavor or would prefer a more neutral flavor. You could also replace the basil with another fresh herb to complement the dish you are making, such as rosemary, sage, or thyme.
- Be sure to use a food processor rather than a blender because a blender will pulverize the tofu. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender to crush the nuts and other ingredients, then mash the tofu by hand.
- You can use homemade or store bought vegan Parmesan cheese. I like using my 5 Minute Vegan Parmesan Cheese, which is made with cashews, walnuts, and nutritional yeast. You can make it in the food processor right before working on the ricotta recipe.
- If the ricotta is too thick for your liking, stir in some olive oil when ready to use.
Does tofu ricotta taste like ricotta?
Tofu is one of those vegan cheese recipes that is not quite like the original, but delicious in its own right! It can be used like traditional ricotta in all your pasta dishes, but has a slightly different flavor that works well in all of your savory dishes.
If you’d like a vegan ricotta with a flavor similar to dairy ricotta, I’d recommend trying a cultured vegan ricotta. There are some store bought cultured ricottas on the market made with nuts, such as Kite Hill Almond Ricotta, or you could try making it yourself! Learn all about cultured vegan cheese starting with Rejuvelac and a basic Cashew Cheese recipe.
Can you freeze tofu ricotta?
While you can freeze this ricotta, I don’t recommend it because it will alter the texture. When tofu is frozen, it gets a somewhat spongy texture. While I’m not a fan, some people prefer freezing their tofu!
- 1 pound firm tofu (1 block)
- ⅓ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup vegan Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped onion or shallot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Press the tofu using the EZ Tofu Press, tightening the knobs every few minutes, until it’s about ⅔ its original size, about 10 minutes.
- You don’t need to press it as long as is needed for a typical tofu recipe for baking or pan frying, when you would remove more of the water.
- Combine all ingredients except the pressed tofu in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add the tofu and process in 3-5 seconds at a time until the tofu is finely crumbled and the other ingredients are spread evenly throughout the tofu mixture. It’s best to use the pulse setting for this.
- Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides and help incorporate the mixture into the tofu.
- Don't overblend or the tofu will become mushy. You could also finish mashing the tofu by hand to avoid this.
- Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 125mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on seitanbeatsyourmeat.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.
Thanks again to EZ Tofu Press for sponsoring this post! Order your own EZ Tofu Press on Amazon and start making tastier tofu dishes!