It’s been dawning on me for a while now that I’ll have to start experimenting with homemade vegan cheeses. *sigh*
It’s not that vegan cheeses are tedious, even though they are, it’s not that they’re time consuming, even though they are, and it’s definitely not that the results are often iffy, even though they are. Fuck it, who am I kidding, it’s all of the above.
To make matters more complex, most vegan cheeses are based around cashews, an ingredient we try to avoid on this blog, because our lectin-free brothers & sisters. No hate to cashews though, its just that we want to experiment with cheeses of a different sort. So what’s a boy to do without cashews?
Say hello to my good friend, blanched almonds!
Recently, while attempting to make a vegan cream cheese recipe, I discovered that blanched almonds lend a texture that’s alike ricotta – at least from what I can remember ricotta tasting like (to be honest with you guys I haven’t had ricotta in like a millennia so I can’t exactly recall what it’s like, but I think this is close). I also didn’t end up with vegan cream cheese, but I was actually excited to have created a ricotta cheese, as the amount of things you can throw ricotta on top of are limitless: cheesy pastas, salads, toast, and so much more. (As a bonus, I didn’t give up on the whole vegan cream cheese thing either – that’ll be coming later this month).
In fact, be on the look out for one application that uses this cheesy goodness later on this week!
As a side note, you’ll notice that this recipe requires the use of probiotics. Truth be told, fermentation via probiotics is the best way to achieve a flavor similar to traditional cheeses. You don’t need fancy, $40 packs of “superfood probiotics.” All you need is a capsule that contains a strand of probiotics. Simple. As. That.
All in all, this vegan ricotta cheese is:
- Lightly crumbly
- Perfectly tangy
- Subtly salty
- Completely lectin-free
If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
Go Forth & Sip,
Vegan Blanched Almond Ricotta (lectin-free)
Lightly crumbly & perfectly tangy vegan ricotta cheese made from fermented blanched almonds.
- 2 c slivered blanched almonds
- 4 c water
- 1/2 c coconut milk
- 1/4 c coconut oil
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 2 vegan-friendly probiotic capsules, inside powder only
- In a medium pot combine blanched almonds, 1/2 tsp salt, and the water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat then drop the heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off heat, clamp on a lid, and let almonds sit for 30 minutes.
- Drain almonds into a fine colander or strainer and rinse with cold water to shock. Shake off as much water as possible.
- Transfer to a food processor, add in coconut oil, and blend on medium speed – scraping down the sides with a spatula every 5 minutes or so – until almonds are mostly smooth; 15-20 minutes.
- Note: it actually does take that long for the almonds to smooth out, so don’t be discouraged if they’re still crumbly after 10 minutes. If they’re still crumbly at 20 minutes, and in coconut milk early and let them run longer.
- Transfer almonds to a clean, medium-sized ceramic or glass bowl and stir in the coconut milk, 1/2 tsp salt, and the probiotic capsules using a wooden spoon.
- Cover with a cheesecloth, paper towel, or nut milk bag. If needed, use a rubber band or tape to keep it adhered to the bowl.
- Allow to ferment at room temperature, 55° – 80° F, for 3-4 days, stirring with a wooden spoon once a day. Taste after 3 days for tanginess; allow to ferment for the full 4 days for tangy cheese.
- Once finished fermenting, transfer to an airtight container such as a mason jar or tupperware container and store in fridge for up to a week and a half.
*To open probiotic capsules, simply pull apart the two ends and place the powder from the inside into the bowl.
*I’ve heard of distasteful reactions occurring between metal and fermenting goods, which is why I recommend using a wooden spoon.
*Plastic harbors more bacteria than ceramic, glass, and metal, and because metal can cause funky tastes I recommend using a ceramic or glass bowl.