Altering your favourite holiday dishes to make them dairy-free, vegan, or vegetarian might not be as difficult as you think. In The Art of Plant-Based Cheesemaking, Karen McAthy shares vegan recipes for many of your favourite (formerly dairy-based) cheeses. It doesn’t require a lot of preparation or effort, and will satisfy even the biggest cheese lovers. Don’t believe us? Try out her recipe for Walnut Ricotta and see for yourself.
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This cheeze is not truly a ricotta, but does have a ricotta-type texture and is a great addition to pasta or zoodle dishes. It is a little outside of the core recipes I present here in that it is not as flexible in terms of multiple uses, but is a soft-style cheeze and meets raw food requirements.
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- 2 cups walnuts, soaked and rinsed
- ½–1 tsp salt (Add a little at a time, and adjust to your taste.)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (You may add more if you like.)
- ½ cup water (or almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, etc. for more richness)
- Optional: 1 Tbsp softened coconut oil or cacao butter for mouthfeel
Tools and Equipment
- Jar or bowl for soaking
- High-speed blender (or food processor and less fancy blender)
- Measuring spoons
- Colander or fine mesh sieve
- Cheesecloth or butter muslin or nut milk bag
- Container for storage
- Rinse the walnuts under cold running water.
- Soak the walnuts from 1 hour to overnight in cold water. If soaking overnight, do so in the refrigerator. Walnuts have quite a bit of tannin in the skin, giving them a slight bitterness. Soaking them longer helps to remove much of this bitter flavor. You may also try adding 1 tsp of baking soda to the soaking water.
- Drain the walnuts, and rinse under cold running water. At this point, you may toast the walnuts in the oven at 275°F (135°C) for 15 minutes.
- Add the water (or your choice of plant-based milk), lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and nutritional yeast to the blender, add the walnuts, and start blending on low speed. Pulse a few times to allow the ingredients to break into smaller pieces.
- Increase the speed only moderately. You are not aiming to achieve a creamy texture but rather a cottage cheese-style texture. If you have elected to add the coconut oil or cacao butter, this is when you add it.
- Scrape the mixture out of the pitcher and into a cheesecloth-lined sieve or a nut milk bag and allow it to drain for 1 to 2 hours. Overdraining will result in a mixture that is too dry and crumbly.
- Place the drained mixture in a sealed container. You may add garlic, parsley, or other
Keeps refrigerated up to 1 week