Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dairy-Free (Vegan) Spinach Ricotta Recipe (Nut-Free Too!)

One of my weekly Plated dishes came with ricotta to make a noodle-less veggie lasagna. Since cow dairy makes the toddler and me ill, and I think my older daughter is intolerant too, I needed a quick and easy non-dairy alternative. Emphasis on quick and easy!
I've seen recipes for cashew-based cheese, but I didn't have 6 hours to soak them first. I managed to cobble together a few different recipes to make something right away, and wow! It really knocked the lasagna dish right out of the park!

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Plated Pasta-less Zucchini Lasagna kit with home-made Vegan Spinach Ricotta

Vegan Spinach Tofu Ricotta

1 package firm or extra-firm tofu, broken into rough crumbles
1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped or minced
juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon (or 1 Tbsp vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup (packed) fresh or thawed spinach (can tear or chop into smaller bits if you like)
1 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

Toss everything into a blender or food processor. Pulse until well combined. You will probably need to use a scraper to scrape down the sides every so often.

I usually start with the lower quantities of each ingredient, then do a taste-test to see how I like it. And then end up with more of everything in there to give it a more flavorful taste! Ha! If you're skipping the spinach, definitely start with the smaller amounts.

The Verdict: Hubby and I loved it when I made it for the zucchini lasagna; Z loved it (but hated the veggies.) My second batch was made just to freeze in a mini muffin pan to thaw as needed and mix in to noodles for a quick and easy macaroni and cheese option. Both girls loved it on gluten-free corn noodles (shown below,) but wanted extra salt and "cheesy powder" (nutritional yeast) sprinkled on.
Recipe was inspired by a cashew ricotta from The Simple Veganista 
and a tofu ricotta recipe from AllRecipes

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