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This Italian Vegan Ricotta is only made with 2 ingredients, it's nut-free, and it's the perfect non dairy substitute for ricotta cheese. It's the closest you will get to real ricotta cheese from Italy, made with the same technique. Creamy, and with a neutral flavour, can be used for both sweet and savoury preparations. Think cannoli, ravioli, lasagna.
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Vegan Italian Ricotta
- Cheese cloth or clean kitchen cloth
- Cheese or Ricotta form (optional)
- ¼ gallon unsweetened soy milk (1 litres)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- In a pot, warm up the soy milk up to almost boiling temperature, then place it into a large glass, wooden, or ceramic bowl.TIP: don't use a metal bowl as it might interfere with the curdling of the milk.
- Add the apple cider vinegar (or the lemon juice) and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Then set aside for 10 minute. The milk should curdle.TIP: don't use a metal spoon as it might interfere with the curdling of the milk.
- In the meantime, put a sieve over a large bowl, then cover it with a pice of cheese cloth, or a clean kitchen cloth.TIP: make sure the cloth is white and it doesn't smell like washing detergent.TIP: make sure the sieve doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl, as we need space for liquid to drain the ricotta.
- After the 10 minutes, pour the curdled soy milk into the sieve, cover it, and let drain for at least 1.5 hours, but better if overnight in the fridge.TIP: place a smaller empty bowl on top of the curdle milk to add some weight and get a better drained, firmer ricotta.
- Once the milk has drained, your ricotta is ready to be used for sweet (like cannoli) or savoury (like lasagna, ravioli, cannelloni) preparations. If you like to eat it as is, then add a pinch of sea salt or chopped fresh herbs and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- TIP: for best visual results, use a ricotta form that you can get online. The ricotta will look just like the one you get at the cheese shop. Pour the ricotta into the ricotta form, press it well, then store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. When you are ready to eat it, discard the excess water, flip the ricotta out of the form, and serve.
🥬 Ingredients & substitutions
Soy milk: believe it or not, in this recipe soy milk behaves exactly like regular dairy milk. It curdles super well! To get the best result, use organic unsweetened soy milk. Read the label and pick a brand that only puts soy beans and water in their milk.
Apple cider vinegar or Lemon Juice: we need an acid to make the soy milk curdle. To get the best result use either organic apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice. If you use the lemon juice, make sure to remove the seeds.
Salt: optional, to give the ricotta a savoury spin. Don't add salt if you use the ricotta for sweet preparations.
No Metal: try not to use any metal utensils in this recipe. Only use a metal pot to warm up the milk, but not after that step. Metal could react with the acids, preventing the soy milk from curdling. Especially don't use metal bowls or spoons. You can use a metal sieve to strain the ricotta after it has curdled.
Cheese cloth: can be replaced by a clean kitchen cloth. Make sure that they don't smell like washing detergent. We will use this to drain the ricotta.
Ricotta/Cheese forms: this is totally optional. Your ricotta will taste exactly the same without them. However, if you want to get the best visual result, then you should totally get some of these online. Your ricotta will look exactly like the real deal.
👨🏻🍳 Top tips
Avoid metal utensils
You can warm up your soy milk in a regular metal pot. However, from that step forward, you should not use any other metal as it might interfere with the vinegar or lemon used for the curdling. The best materials are glass, porcelain, and wooden bowls and spoons.
Add some weights on top
The soy milk will take about 90 minutes to drain completely and become ricotta. If you want to get a firmer ricotta, for example to prepare cannoli siciliani or stuffed pasta like ravioli, then add extra weight on top of the milk while it's draining. We use an empty bowl with some cans in it.
Use ricotta forms for your non-vegan friends
Looks are an important part of food. In fact, in Italy we have the expression "you eat it with your eyes". Your eyes are connected to the brain. So if you see beautiful food, you're going to want it more than bad looking food. To make this ricotta look delicious, get some ricotta shapes online. The ricotta will look just like the one from a regular cheese shop. It will be irresistible! Especially to non-vegans.
📖 Questions & answers
Vegan ricotta can be made of many different ingredients like soy milk, almonds, cashews, walnuts, tofu, etc. In our opinion, the best vegan ricotta cheese, one that is closest in texture and flavour to Italian ricotta cheese, is made with curdled soy milk.
Yes. There are plenty of substitutes that are easy to make at home. We think our non-dairy substitute for ricotta cheese made with curdled soy milk is the best option for texture and flavour.
Curdling is an ancient technique used to make cheese and tofu. In vegan cooking, curdling happens when an acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) gets in touch with the proteins in the soy milk. The change in PH will make the proteins in the milk to clump together, resulting in delicious vegan preparations like ricotta and tofu.
Just like dairy Italian ricotta, this non dairy variation can be used for many of your favourite preparations. Our favourite preparation is homemade vegan cannoli siciliani, an incredible Italian dessert that will leave you speechless.
Another great use of our vegan ricotta is to make stuffed pasta. Use it to stuff your ravioli, cannoli and lasagna. It will taste divine, and the texture is just like regular ricotta!
You can also use the ricotta as it is, and eat it as a spread on toasted bread, coupled with some walnuts and cherry tomatoes. In this case, we recommend to season the ricotta with some fine sea salt, and with some finely chopped fresh herbs, like parsley or dill. Then drizzle with some good quality extra virgin olive oil, close your eyes, and eat it. You'll think you are in Italy!
Store our non-dairy vegan ricotta in a cheese form, or in a bowl, covered with a plate, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The ricotta might change color slightly and become off-white, but don't worry, it'll be fine to eat.
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If you have any tips or questions let us know in the comments below!