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
×
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're vegan or lactose intolerant, you may find yourself having to go without traditional Italian favorites, such as lasagna, stuffed shells, and ravioli. But this easy ricotta substitute will give your pasta dishes such great texture and fantastic flavor that your omnivore friends wouldn't even know they're not eating dairy.

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. Some similar 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. 

It's easy and fast to make a ricotta cheese substitute, you just need to gather the ingredients, get set, and go!

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 the mix has a consistency that you're happy with. There isn't one perfect consistency, as it depends on the texture that you like best. Alternatively, you can place the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend for a few seconds until smooth. You could also use a fine colander to crumble the tofu into a paste for a more cheese-like consistency.

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

  5. Use in your recipe of choice and enjoy!

How to Use Vegan Ricotta

This dairy-free vegan ricotta substitute with tofu can be used in a number of culinary applications where you would use regular ricotta cheese or a store-bought vegan ricotta cheese substitute. Make your favorite lasagna recipe, or try a vegan spinach lasagna, calzones, and even pizza! Ravioli can return to the menu when homemade vegan ricotta is used as a filling, to which you can incorporate roasted squash, sun-dried tomatoes, or grilled artichokes. Appetizers such as crostini, stuffed mushrooms, and a garlic-herb creamy dip can be enjoyed with this tofu ricotta.

You can make endless variations on panini recipes with this cheese (like ciabatta, arugula, and poached pears or open-face toast with tomato marmalade), serve it with vegetables, make little balls and roll them in mixed seeds (poppy, sesame, garlic, and onion salt or chile-lime powder for a kick) for a fun play on a cheese-less cheese platter, or eat it plain on a bagel.

Adding new Flavors

  • 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 agave, to give the pancakes or waffles the sweet flavor you would expect.
  • If you are using it in an Italian recipe, such as pasta, pizza, calzone, or lasagna, add a bit more of an Italian flavor by adding dried or fresh basil and oregano, and increasing the amount of fresh garlic by one or two cloves.
  • This recipe can be tailored to a number of different cuisines and dishes, such as in a non-traditional 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.
  • For a Hispanic flavor, try spreading this ricotta on arepas, but do skip the buttermilk in the arepa dough by replacing it with plain water or non-dairy milk for a fully vegan version.