The easiest creamiest tofu cheese for a versatile vegan ricotta recipe you can put on anything! Made in one bowl, for a time-saving and nutritious cheese! HReat on pizza, as a dip, or stuffed into pasta shells. Keep your family satisfied and nourished, even those picky eaters :0)
- 👪Why Your Family Will Love Tofu Cheese
- 🥒Will My Picky Eater Like This?
- 💪Health Benefits of Tofu Cheese
- 🧠Brain Benefits of Tofu
- 💡Recipe Tips: Creamy Tofu Cheese
- 👩🏽🍳Step-by-Step Instructions
- ⏲️ Time-Saving Tips
- 🍴Variations & Leftover Ideas
- 🥣Looking for more...
- 📖 Recipe
- Information Source:
One bowl and 15 minutes are all you need to make nut-free vegan ricotta! A creamy and versatile tofu cheese that's perfect for those with nut allergies. Ideal as a pizza topping, stuffed into pasta shells or layered into dairy-free lasagna. this recipe is your quick and easy solution.
Inspired by my son's quest for the perfect pasta shell filling, we discovered tofu cheese. Many vegan cheese or dairy-free ricotta recipes use cashews or store-bought cheeses. Both can be expensive with the latter having a high oil content. But, this homemade version uses budget-friendly vegan ingredients to create the best vegan ricotta recipe! By using tofu, you're creating a tofu cheese that's creamy, low in unhealthy fats and cholesterol, and high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
This recipe is a game-changer for busy moms like us. It's not just a tasty snack, but a healthful one too. And the best part? It's incredibly easy to whip up - all you need is one bowl and 15 minutes. Give this homemade tofu cheese alternative a try, and transform your meals into healthier, dairy-free delights!
My kids love using this easy tofu cheese recipe as a dip for baked rice balls. A classic Brazilian recipe using leftover rice to make a delicious finger food (Read the Portuguese bolinho de arroz recipe here).
👪Why Your Family Will Love Tofu Cheese
We love this tofu cheese because it is just so versatile! It has quickly become a family staple in our home. Here is why we know you will love this recipe!:
- Versatile: Add this creamy ricotta to anything! We love using it in sandwiches, on pizza, in lasagna, in pasta shells, as a dip for veggies, or whatever your heart desires.
- Healthy Ingredients: Just a few simple ingredients and you have yourself a dairy-free substitute.
- Allergy-Friendly: This Dairy-free ricotta cheese uses tofu instead to create the best nut-free cheese substitute.
- Easy to Make: One bowl and 15 minutes!
- Stays Fresh: this nut-free cheese can stay fresh in the fridge for a few days for quick snacks or to add to your weeknight meal.
- Delicious: Vegan ricotta has a creamy satisfying texture and mild flavor. It can absorb seasoning and herbs allowing you to tailor it to your family's preferences.
🥒Will My Picky Eater Like This?
The versatility of this easy tofu cheese recipe helps increase the chances of success with a picky eater. Here is why your little ones may love this recipe:
- Easy to Adjust: Serve this ricotta with something your kiddo normally loves. You can add it to crackers or use it as a veggie dip, or in their favorite pasta dish.
- Customizable: This recipe can be easily tweaked to suit individual taste preferences. Add more lemon, change up the fresh herb you use, or swap garlic powder for fresh.
- Mild Flavor: The subtle, creamy taste of this tofu cheese ricotta is a crowd-pleaser. It's mild enough to not overpower dishes, yet flavorful enough to enhance them, making it a versatile addition to various meals.
- Familiar Texture: The texture of this vegan ricotta closely mimics that of regular ricotta cheese, providing a sense of familiarity that picky eaters often appreciate.
💪Health Benefits of Tofu Cheese
As a busy mom, I know the struggle of making sure my little one is getting enough nutrients. After transitioning to a more plant-based diet this was the top comment I got (eye roll). So I gently pulled out my Ph.D Cap and used my Health Science training to ensure my nay-sayers that my kiddos were getting many opportunities to eat enough protein!
But jokes aside, here's the great thing – tofu's got your back, it's a great source of plant-based protein. And with its subtle flavor, it is usually a win with the kiddos.
Protein Benefits (aka why we're besties with tofu):
- Energizes: Fuels those endless playtimes and learning adventures.
- Supports Immunity: Helps ward off sniffles and sneezes.
- Regulates Hormones: Keeps moods and growth on track.
- Builds & Repairs: Cells, tissues, and muscles – oh my!
Tofu serves up a solid 10g of protein per serving, making it a superstar for vegetarian or vegan families. Plus, it's low in fat and has all the essential amino acids. Got nut allergies? No problem, tofu's here to save the day with healthy meals everyone can enjoy. It's like the Swiss Army knife of proteins – versatile, dependable, and perfect for boosting all sorts of dishes. You've got this, mom-friend!
🧠Brain Benefits of Tofu
As we just discussed, tofu is a great source of protein and contains the essential amino acids and nutrients that are needed for optimal brain function and development (1). In addition, tofu also contains several nutrients, like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus that are crucial to brain health (2).
Science, not fad: Studies have shown that regular consumption of tofu products is associated with better cognitive function. In addition, soy isoflavones may have a neuroprotective effect (3). In other words, consuming tofu regularly may have a protective effect on age-related cognitive decline and neurodegeneration diseases (3,4,5).
Just a few simple ingredients to make nut-free recipe:
- Extra-Firm Tofu: We used extra-firm tofu as it minimizes the excess liquid and allows the other flavors to come through. It's a great alternative to get that traditional ricotta cheese texture and is a great source of plant-based protein. If you want to use soft tofu just make sure to use a tofu press or paper towel to get out as much moisture as possible.
- Nutritional Yeast: I used Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast for this recipe. It's a great dairy-free alternative to get that cheesy note. And it makes for a great allergy-friendly recipe.
- Plant-Based Milk: We opted for oat milk due to its subtle taste and thicker consistency – ideal for the creamy texture.
- Lemon Juice: Adds brightness and tang, balancing out the flavors.
- Fresh Dill: I love using dill because it pairs so well with the lemon and tofu flavors. But you can use any fresh herb! We love using fresh basil or fresh cilantro.
- Olive Oil: A touch for a rich, velvety mouthfeel.
- Fresh Garlic: A little zing to liven up your vegan ricotta. A good substitute is garlic powder or onion powder.
- Salt: A pinch to enhance all the other ingredients.
Full quantities can be found in the recipe card.
💡Recipe Tips: Creamy Tofu Cheese
Here's how to whip up the creamiest, dreamiest vegan ricotta:
- Tofu Type Matters: Go for extra firm tofu. It's got the perfect texture for our nut-free vegan ricotta. Remember, it's all about that creamy goodness!
- Drain, Drain, Drain: Tofu is like a sponge, and we want it to soak up all the yummy flavors, not water. So, give that tofu a good squeeze to get rid of excess liquid.
- Food Processor for the Win: A blender might turn your tofu into soup, and we don't want that. Stick to a food processor to get that ideal ricotta texture.
- Season Like a Pro: Don't hold back on the seasonings. Tofu loves to soak up flavors, so let's give it some to soak up!
- Plan Ahead: This vegan ricotta can chill in the fridge for 4-5 days. Perfect for meal prep!
- Make It Your Own: Spice it up or add some flavors like cumin and turmeric. This is your canvas, paint it with flavors you love!
Remember, the secret to fantastic vegan ricotta is in the seasoning and texture. Follow these tips, and you'll be a tofu-ricotta-whisperer in no time!
This is such a simple recipe that there is no need for a lengthy section on how to make this easy recipe for vegan cheese!
Step 1 & Only:
Start by removing your block of tofu from the package. Then the easiest way to prep tofu is to wrap it in a clean kitchen towel to soak up any excess liquid. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Next, into a food processor, combine tofu, lemon, oil, oat milk, and spices and place into a large food processor. Blend until it's nice and creamy.
If you are using a high speed blender just keep an eye on the texture as it may get so creamy it looks more like a thick soup than regular ricotta cheese.
Pro tip: For best results use extra-firm tofu for this vegan ricotta cheese recipe, or if you only have firm or medium make sure to press out as much excess liquid as possible or use a tofu press.
⏲️ Time-Saving Tips
Creating our nut-free vegan ricotta is a breeze - just a handful of whole-food ingredients, one bowl, and less than 10 minutes! Here are some key tips to save even more time:
- Pre-Drain the Tofu: To save time on the day of cooking, pre-drain your tofu. This way, it's ready to be crumbled into your bowl when you start the recipe.
- Batch Preparation: Prepare a batch for the entire week during your less busy days.
- Refrigerate: Store our vegan tofu cheese recipe in the fridge for up to a week. Make it ahead of time and use it as needed.
- Last-Minute Savior: Have a busy weeknight? Tofu cheese comes to your rescue as a delicious last-minute dinner solution. Add it to lasagna, or pasta, or spread it onto a sandwich!
🍴Variations & Leftover Ideas
Pasta shells stuffed with ricotta
Tofu ricotta lasagna
Tofu ricotta pizza
The best part about this homemade plant-based cheese is its versatility! Transform your favorite foods into an easy weeknight meal with one of these 4 tasty ideas using tofu cheese:
- Stuffed Pasta Shells: A classic Italian recipe with a plant-based twist. Get our tofu ricotta stuffed shells here. My favorite way to eat this recipe is with any pasta dish! It just pairs so well with pasta sauce.
- Easy Lasagna: Layer this tofu cheese into your go-to lasagna recipe for a dairy-free delight. Get our vegan gluten-free lasagna recipe, we have this recipe every week. I double the recipe, enjoying one now and freezing the other for the following week!
- Tofu Pizza: Level up your pizza night with this great recipe as a scrumptious topping.
- Ricotta Sandwich: Freshly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers make this sandwich simply irresistible.
- Stuffed Mushrooms: De-stem button mushrooms, fill the caps with ricotta, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Perfect for savory dishes and appetizers!
- Mac and Cheese: Turn this recipe into a vegan cheese sauce by adding extra plant milk (3-4 cups). Mix with cooked pasta for a mouthwatering pasta dish.
- As a Dip: If you just made a fresh batch you can eat it as a dip. It pairs well with fresh-cut veggies or tortilla chips.
Explore endless possibilities and make weeknight dinners a breeze with your own vegan cheese!
Tofu cheese can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. To ensure it stays fresh longer and prevent spoilage it is important to store it properly. Here are some tips:
- Make sure the storage container you use is airtight. Make sure the lid is on tight.
- Cover the ricotta with reusable or plastic wrap. Or alternatively, you can drizzle a little olive oil on top to prevent it from drying out.
- Label the container with a due date so you can track how long the ricotta has been stored.
- Make sure the container is in the fridge (below 40°F (4°C) to prevent the growth of bacteria.
When making tofu ricotta the best type of tofu to use would be extra firm because of its denser texture. This will help ensure a creamer, smoother and more satisfying vegan ricotta texture
Tofu cheese can last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Be sure to label the container with the date so you can keep track of its freshness.
You can freeze your tofu cheese for up to 3 months! Transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container leaving roughly ½ inch of space at the top to allow for expansion. When you are ready to use, just thaw it overnight in the fridge.
To achieve the right texture for ricotta cheese, start by draining the tofu and pressing out any excess water. Then, add the tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and spices to a food processor and blend until smooth. You can adjust the texture to your liking by adding more or less liquid ingredients.
Absolutely you can! Tofu cheese ricotta can be a diary substitute in recipes like lasagna, sandwiches, pasta, dips, and even mac and cheese!
Leftover ricotta can be used in so many other recipes. Add it to sauces, layer it in lasagna, in baked potato, or for stuffing mushrooms!
🥣Looking for more...
I hope your family loves this easy tofu cheese! If you are looking for more check out these favs or reach this post on how easy recipes using pantry items!
Simple Tofu Cheese Recipe (Nut-free Ricotta)
- Food processor
- 1 extra firm tofu see recipe notes
- 1 bunch dill
- ½ cup oat milk (or soy)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Prep your tofu by removing it from its package and wrapping it in a clean kitchen towel (or paper towel) to remove any excess liquid.
- Place all the ingredients except for the oat milk, into a food processor. Start blending and then slowly add in your oat milk paying attention to the texture. You want a creamy texture but not runny.
- Use right away or place tofu ricotta into a sealed container in the fridge. Will last 4 days in the fridge. Do not freeze.
- Messina M. Soy and health update: evaluation of the clinical and epidemiologic literature. Nutrients. 2016;8(12):754.
- Weaver CM. Nutrition and bone health. In: Weaver CM, ed. Calcium in Human Health. Humana Press; 2006:213-227.
- Yoon-Bok L., Hyong J. L., Heon S. S. (2005) Soy isoflavones and cognitive function. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 16 (11) pp. 641-649.
- Szczerba E., Koch M., Schlesinger S., (2022) Soy consumption, cognitive function, and dementia. Current Opinion in Lipidology. 33(1) pp. 68-75(8).
- Jang, C. H., Oh, J., Lim, J. S., Kim, H. J., & Kim, J. S. (2021). Fermented Soy Products: Beneficial Potential in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Foods, 10(3), 636.