Tofu "Ricotta" Cheese

Vegan ricotta cheese substitute

The Spruce 

  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: About 2 1/2 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
148 Calories
10g Fat
6g Carbs
13g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: About 2 1/2 cups
Amount per serving
Calories 148
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 163mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 13g
Calcium 397mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Whether you are vegan or lactose intolerant, you may find yourself having to go without traditional Italian favorites, such as lasagna, stuffed shells, and ravioli. But avoid no more! It's easy to make a ricotta cheese substitute with tofu, with just a handful of ingredients and a prep time of 5 minutes. 

While not all vegan ricotta cheese recipes call for nutritional yeast, don't skip it here—this ingredient adds a cheesy flavor to the dish. Sometimes vegan tofu recipes call for almonds or nuts, but this particular version is nut-free (though not seed-free, as tahini is the paste of sesame seeds) making it appropriate for people with nut allergies. It's also gluten-free for those who are sensitive to gluten or have Celiac disease. 

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu (drained and crumbled)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 small shallot (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegan ricotta cheese
    The Spruce
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

    Combine ingredients in bowl
    The Spruce
  3. Using the back of a spoon, mash the ingredients together until they are incorporated and it's the consistency that you desire. Alternatively, you can place the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend for a few seconds until it's the right consistency. 

    Blend ingredients
    The Spruce 
  4. Store the tofu in a sealed container or airtight zipped plastic bag for up to 4 days. 

How to Use Vegan Ricotta

This dairy-free vegan ricotta substitute with tofu can be used in any number of culinary applications where you would use regular ricotta cheese or a store-bought vegan ricotta cheese substitute. Make your favorite lasagna recipe swapping out the ricotta and using vegan mozzarella, or try a vegan spinach lasagna. Calzones and even pizza are possible when filled or topped with vegan tofu ricotta, and of course, ravioli can return to the menu when homemade vegan ricotta is used. Appetizers such as crostini, stuffed mushrooms, and a garlic-herb creamy dip can be enjoyed with tofu ricotta.

Recipe Variations

If you are using the tofu ricotta to make pancakes or waffles, omit the garlic, nutritional yeast, shallot, and parsley. Add a sweetener, such as maple syrup or honey, to give the pancakes or waffles the flavor you would expect.

If you are using the vegan ricotta cheese in an Italian recipe, such as pasta, pizza, calzones, or lasagna, you might want to give it a little bit more of an Italian flavor. For this, you can include dried or fresh basil and oregano and increase the amount of fresh garlic that you use.  

This recipe can be tailored to a number of different cuisines and dishes, such as in a nontraditional type of Mexican enchilada. In that case, try adding a bit of fresh cilantro, rather than parsley, as well as cumin or chili powder for extra seasoning. Or, if you are making Indian palak paneer with ricotta, sprinkle in a little turmeric or coriander to marry with the rest of the dish's flavors.