cashews

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: I’m not vegan, but I can’t get enough of this vegan “cheese” made from cashews! It’s crazy delcious and very easy to make. I first had a taste of this at a vegetarian restaurant called Leaf in Boulder, Colorado, and knew I had to try to make it at home. This ricotta is super easy to whip up in your food processor, and would go great in anything from lasagna to stuffed shells—maybe even on top of homemade pizza doughYour creativity is the only limit!

Cashew Ricotta (adapted from the Veganomicon)

Soaking the nuts overnight and then grinding them in the food processor turns cashews into a ricotta-like vegan “cheese.”

Ingredients

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 lb firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

Method

Put the cashews in a bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight.  

Drain the cashews well and put into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the nuts begin to ressemble bread crumbs.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture resembles a thick paste. 

Use as you would regular ricotta as a filling for lasagna, manicotti, stuffed shells or in dips and sandwich wraps. You can also vary the seasonings, swapping the nutmeg for fresh herbs, like basil or oregano, or adding cinnamon for a sweet dish.

Image: duncan_mclean