Yesterday I whipped up a vegan lasagna and this Cashew Ricotta Cheese was definitely a featured ingredient in each bite! The richness of the cashews lends so much oomph to the flavor and heartiness of a plant-based lasagna.
You could also try a store-bought ricotta or a DIY tofu ricotta, but I think cashew ricotta is my fave…
Cashews for Cheese
By now, you probably know that cashews make the most amazing vegan cheeses. Both cream cheese and aged or baked cashew cheeses. Cashews are usually the main ingredient in those fancy aged vegan cheese like Dr Cow, Reine and Miyokos.
Well cashews make the best ricotta – and in a flash too!
If you are making a raw lasagna using sliced zucchini as the noodles and fresh tomato in place of sauce, awesome! This recipe is absolutely raw-approved. But if you are making a baked lasagna, like I did, this cashew ricotta recipe works too. This cheese tastes yummy baked or raw.
How to Prep the Cashews?
There are two ways. You can soak them overnight in water. Then rinse and drain them the next day for super easy blending into your ricotta cheese.
The second method is the way that I usually end up doing when I am in a hurry – like I was yesterday. You can boil the cashews in water for about 20-30 minutes. I add a pinch of salt to the pot of water and turn heat the a low boil. This isn’t as good at actually plumping the cashews, but it does soften them.
So yes, if you boil rather than soak, you might need a splash or two more of liquid to process smoothly.
Raw vs. Boiled Cashews
The other thing to consider is that if you boil your cashews your ricotta cheese will not be “raw” anymore. Fine if you are baking your lasagna. But if you are aiming for a raw lasagna, soak them overnight for prep.
What Cashews Will Work?
There is only one type of cashew that will work! Raw, unsalted cashews. You shouldn’t be using roasted or salted cashews for this recipe.
Tart Factor? Options…
I prefer using fresh lemon juice for my cashew ricotta. I just love the lemony brightness it adds. But if you want a cleaner flavor – aka no lemon – you could use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. But note: the vinegar is stronger than the lemon juice in terms of tartness.
This recipe uses lemon juice, but you could also do half lemon, half white vinegar or all vinegar. Again, if doing all vinegar, I would reduce the amount by a tablespoon or two and sub with water or non-dairy milk.
Cashew Ricotta for Lasagna
Yup, this recipe is perfect for layering into vegan lasagna, like my Spinach Mushroom Vegan Lasagna.
- 2 cups raw cashews
- ⅓ cup lemon juice, fresh
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup non-dairy milk, plain or unsweetened
- Soak cashews overnight or use the quick boil method: boil cashews in a big pot of water with a pinch of salt for 20-30 minutes until tender. Drain.
- Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth – yet still slightly texture – like a ricotta cheese. If you need to add more liquid to blend, go with either water or the non-dairy milk.
- Store in the fridge, covered, until ready to use.
- large soup pot for boiling