Vegan Cashew Ricotta Cheese, a plant-based take on traditional ricotta cheese using softened cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and seasonings. Perfect for vegan lasagna and stuffed shells!
Love ricotta cheese but need a vegan version? Never fear! This simple plant-based ricotta recipe is super simple and full of flavor – they’ll never know it’s actually vegan.
👉 Ready to learn how to make vegan ricotta cheese with cashews? Let’s do it!
- Raw cashews: the base of this recipe, raw unsalted cashews soften in hot water and mimic ricotta’s texture
- Vegan milk (or water): a small amount of unsweetened plant-based milk or water to combine ingredients
- Lemon juice: adds a tang of acidity found in traditional ricotta
- Nutritional yeast: adds color and a slight cheese flavor
- Garlic and onion powders: a dash of both garlic powder and onion powder add depth of flavor
- Salt: adds the salty and savory flavor or ricotta
- Recommended tools: food processor
🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Soak cashews
The first step in making plant-based ricotta cheese is to soak the raw cashews in hot water. This helps to soften the cashews so they blend more easily and have a chewy and softer mouthfeel, like traditional ricotta cheese.
To do this, simply add cashews to a bowl and add hot water to about 1/2 inch over the cashews (about 2 cups of water).
Then let them soak for 15-20 minutes, or until the cashews are soft when chewed. When done soaking, drain the cashews.
2️⃣ Step Two: Blend the vegan ricotta ingredients
Once the cashews are soaked, it’s time to blend the ricotta ingredients.
Add the drained and softened cashews to a food processor with a touch of plant-based milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of salt.
Pulse to chop the ingredients until they are well blended, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure the ingredients are all blended until smooth.
Then taste the blended cashew ricotta and add more seasonings, as desired.
3️⃣ Step Three: Chill the ricotta in the refrigerator (optional, but recommended)
Next, I recommend chilling the ricotta cheese after blending to help the flavors deepen and let the cashews continue to soften.
To do this, store the cashew ricotta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours (but up to 24 hours) before cooking or serving.
Pro tip: Prevent dry ricotta!
Storing for longer than 24 hours may mean the ricotta starts to dry out. If so, simply mix it with a small amount (2 tablespoons) of water or unsweetened plant-based milk to rehydrate the cashews.
4️⃣ Step Four: Serve cashew cheese
Serve the ricotta cheese in plant-based takes on classic dishes like lasagna or stuffed shells, or use as a spread on bread.
❓ Recipe questions + quick tips
You can use other nuts like almonds to make homemade vegan ricotta, but cashews will provide the best taste and texture. Other nuts may need to be soaked longer for them to soften and mimic real ricotta cheese.
If you’d like a nut-free version of this recipe, please see our Nut-Free Vegan Ricotta Cheese recipe for a plant-based ricotta made with extra firm tofu.
💡 Ideas for serving
- As a spread. Add a smear of this plant-based ricotta on bread and top with fruit and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, like this Black Cherry Basil Ricotta Toast.
- In plant-based lasagna. Substitute traditional ricotta for this vegan ricotta for a plant-based take on lasagna.
- In vegan stuffed shells. Use this cashew-based ricotta in your stuffed shells mixture, like in our Vegan Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells recipe.
🧊 How to store
- Refrigerator storage: Store this ricotta cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days before using. You may need to add more liquid (water or unsweetened plant-based milk) if the cashews begin to dry out when storing longer.
- Freezer storage: Store in a freezer-friendly container for up to two months. To thaw, remove to the refrigerator about 24 hours before using. Make sure to give it a good stir to recombine any liquid that’s released when thawing.
👉 More plant-based cheese recipes
Looking for more plant-based takes on traditional cheeses? I’ve got you covered:
FREE MeAL PLANNING GUIDE
Vegan Cashew Ricotta Cheese
- 1 food processor or high-powered blender
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews unsalted
- 2 cups hot water
- ¼ cup plant-based milk unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 pinch salt to taste
- Soak cashews: To soften the cashews, first you much soak them in water so they blend easily and are soft when eaten. To do this, simply add cashews to a bowl and add hot water to about 1/2 inch over the cashews (about 2 cups of water). Then let them soak for 15-20 minutes, or until the cashews are soft when chewed. When done soaking, drain the cashews.1 ½ cups raw cashews, 2 cups hot water
- Blend ingredients: Add soaked and drained cashews to a food processor with plant-based milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of salt. Pulse to chop the ingredients until they are well blended, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure the ingredients are all blended until smooth. Taste the blended cashew ricotta and add more seasonings, as desired.1 ½ cups raw cashews, ¼ cup plant-based milk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, 1 pinch salt
- Chill in the refrigerator (optional): This chilling step is optional, but will help to set the cheese and make it more sturdy when cooking. To do this, store the cashew ricotta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours before cooking or serving to let it thicken and make it more like traditional ricotta cheese.
- Serve cashew cheese: Serve ricotta in lasagnas, stuffed shells, or even as a spread on toast.
- Prep ahead: Make a big batch of cashew ricotta up to 4 days before serving or cooking.
- Leftovers and storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before using. Freeze cashew ricotta in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag for up to one month. To thaw, remove it to the refrigerator 24 hours before serving or using.
- Nutrition notes: This recipe uses only plant-based ingredients, which makes it suitable for vegan diets. This recipe is gluten free. Nutrition information is an estimate using only a pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) of salt.