Artisian Vegan Cheese is a game changer. I have made serveral recipes from the book and have yet to be disappointed. I emailed Miyoko, the author, a few months back and asked her if she would be teaching any classes in the LA area. She told me that she happened to be teaching one in Pasadena the first week in March, and so I signed up. One of the cheeses she demonstrated was almond ricotta. She stuffed ravioli’s with them and we were able to taste how wonderful this cheese really is.
My friend Harriet, Hat to me, in her always witty way sent me a text message this morning. It read: “I keep meaning to ask… how does one make vegan cheese”. So Hat, this one is for you. this is the easiest kind of vegan cheese as it doesn’t require a culturing agent, or time to culture. It is very quick to put together, requires just a few ingredients, and I am not exaggerating when I say it is a dead ringer for Ricotta.
This vegan cheese is unusual in the fact that it uses almonds instead of cashews. Most vegan cheeses use cashews as they are a very soft nut that process into a smooth cheesy like consistency. Almonds are used in this recipe to achieve ricotta’s slightly grainy texture due to their firmer consistency.
Once the ricotta is made you can do a number of things with it – truly anything you would do with traditional ricotta. In Miyoko’s book she stuffed shells, and because I adored the idea of these little pockets of love I went for it. It is harder than you would think to find the jumbo shells at the market. Once they were located I bought a few boxes for safe keeping.
The assembly is very straightforward. Stuff the shells, lay them on a bed of tomato sauce. Pour a little more sauce on top. And bake at 350 for about 30 minutes covered in foil. I removed the foil and then baked for an additional 15.
David had seconds, and was really impressed with this dish. This is the kind of dish that would leave both of us feeling very full and heavy after we ate it with traditional ricotta, but with the almond ricotta we felt satisfied but not sick. For someone who struggled with lactose issues for a very long time this recipe is nothing sort of a miracle.
(from Artisan Vegan Cheese)
- 2 cups raw almonds soaked 8-12 hours (i recommend buying slivered almonds so that you don’t have to peel the skins)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup basil, chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Juice of half a lemon
After draining the almonds, slip the skins (if you used whole raw almonds) and discard. Put the blanched almonds in a blender with the water and salt. Process until light, creamy, and fluffy, but still with a bit of texture. Add the garlic and process again briefly. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the basil, yeast, and lemon juice.