fresh (cashew) ricotta
I am such a cheese fanatic. I can do without the big glasses of milk with cookies, and exchange cow's milk for nut milk with my cereal, but cheese is a tough one for me to do without. My favorite cheese of all time is ricotta. It is practically a staple in our refrigerator! It adds a certain decadence and creaminess to a meal that I never thought I could get from a plant-based product. UNTIL NOW.
My hubby surprised me with a copy of America's Test Kitchen's new book "Vegan For Everyone" and their cashew ricotta recipe caught my eye in the first flip through. I have to say that I was quite skeptical. Really? Nuts somehow ending up tasting like dairy? But, my daughter constantly complains of her tummy hurting after eating cheese, and I do not want her to spend a life not knowing the joys of Italian food, so I gave it a shot.
I cannot emphasize enough HOW MUCH THIS CASHEW CREAM TASTES LIKE FRESH RICOTTA!!!
It has exactly the right texture...smooth and soft, but with the smallest amount of granules that give it a mouth feel just like the real thing. And the lemon in the recipe gives it just the right amount of tang! I served this to my family tonight with homemade spinach fettuccine and peas, and my husband didn't know it wasn't cow ricotta until I told him! Oh, and the kids loved it too :)
adapted from America's Test Kitchen
1 cup raw cashews (this is important. roasted, salted cashews will not give you the same taste or consistency)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 teaspoon pink sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper)
Soak cashews in enough water to cover them for at least 8 hours. I left mine overnight. Drain water and rinse well.
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend well, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides to get all the cashew pieces incorporated.
That's it! America's Test Kitchen says that it will last for one week in the fridge, but I wouldn't know, because I ate whatever we didn't use for tonight's dinner out of the food processor with a spoon ;P