Tofu "Ricotta" Cheese

Vegan lasagna
VeselovaElena / Getty Images
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: about 2 1/2 cups
Ratings (25)

Folks who are vegan and those who are lactose-intolerant share one problem: They can't have cheese, including soft and creamy ricotta. However, it's easy to make a ricotta cheese substitute with tofu that can be used in lasagna, as ravioli filling, on toast, or in any other way you've been missing ricotta cheese. In fact, vegan tofu ricotta can be made in just 5 minutes with a handful of ingredients. 

While not all vegan ricotta cheese recipes call for nutritional yeast, don't skip it here — the 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. 

What You'll Need

  • 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

How to Make It

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Using the back of a spoon, mash the ingredients together until the ingredients are incorporated and it's the consistency that you desire. Alternatively, you can place the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend for a few seconds until it's the right consistency. 
  3. Store the tofu in a sealed container or airtight zipped plastic back for up to four days. 

    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. Options include: 

    • Lasagna
    • Calzones
    • Pizza
    • Ravioli
    • Crostinis
    • Stuffed mushrooms
    • Toast topping
    • Dip
    • Pancakes and waffles

    For the last option, omit the garlic, nutritional yeast, shallot, and parsley, as they won't work well as a flavor in pancakes or waffles. Add a sweetener, such as maple syrup or honey, to give the pancakes or waffles the flavor you would expect in the breakfast item. 

    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.  

    The recipe can be tailored to a number of ethnic cuisine, such as if you want to use it 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. 

    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    148 Calories
    10g Fat
    6g Carbs
    13g Protein
    (Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)