To celebrate Veganuary, I decided to make a vegan version of one of my favorite dips – Almond Ricotta.
There is nothing like the creaminess of a nice dip or spread on a bit of toast, but most of these are dairy based.
So for a dairy free yummy alternative enter creamy Almond Ricotta to the table.
This is a gluten free delight with a ricotta texture that will rival any vegan ricotta cheese brand.
Almonds are the perfect nut to use as a substitute to be included in several vegan or vegetarian dishes.
Whether soaked in water, chopped and drained, using the pulp, or drained almond milk, you can’t go wrong with the consistency or the flavor of the almond.
Ricotta is a cheese traditionally made by using the leftover whey from other cheeses.
Because of this it is another cheese that does not melt when heated up and why it is perfect for lasagna or stuffed shells.
And of course almonds don’t melt when heated either making this substitute very appropriate as it holds up during baking.
Food options sometimes feel impossible if you are a person that likes to limit gluten and dairy in your diet.
What to eat?
That also tastes good of course!
I mean everything seems to have one or the other ingredient in it.
The odds feel stacked against you.
So when you come across a recipe like this one it feels you too can have a nice creamy treat on your cracker along with everyone else.
I enjoy making my own almond milk so this recipe is just right for providing a way to get that milk and also have the residue left over to make the almond ricotta as well.
Sometimes I will use almond pulp leftover to make crackers that are gluten free and delicious with rosemary, garlic and salt.
A great addition to the almond ricotta spread!
What is Almond Ricotta?
Almond ricotta is a form of dip or spread made mainly using slivered almonds.
It is a wonderful way to make something very tasty that is both gluten free and dairy free.
Nutritional yeast is added to get a cheesy flavor.
There are several ways to achieve this almond ricotta recipe dip.
Often times coconut milk, or tofu can be added to this dairy free ricotta in place of the nutritional yeast or along with it.
I like to think of this dip kind of like a savory marzipan.
No sweetener but all the same goodness almonds have to offer.
Almonds don’t have the monopoly on the vegan, dairy-free ricotta substitutes.
Cashews are also a very good option when you are looking for an alternative to almonds.
Use cashews and you will have cashew ricotta. Makes sense!
How to Make Almond Ricotta
Start by soaking the almonds in boiling water.
Make sure the amount of water is enough to cover the almonds and then some as the almonds will absorb water.
Soak for two hours.
Add the almonds to a food processor along with ¾ cup water.
Add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and water.
Process until smooth, if the mix remains to thick you can add more water until you have the consistency that works for you.
The best thing about making your own food is that you can make it just the way you like it.
I sometimes will add fresh basil leaves for an extra bit of flavor.
Remove from the food processor and serve with your favorite bread or crackers.
Leftovers can be kept covered in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.
A great use for this spread is as a base on a flatbread baked fresh in your oven.
Make dough (olive oil pizza dough), once ready roll out and spread the almond ricotta on the dough, drizzle some olive oil, add some sun dried tomatoes, olives, chopped fresh cilantro.
Place in the oven, pour yourself a nice glass of sauvignon blanc, wait for the flatbread to bake.
Have wine while you wait of course!
Can You Freeze it?
Yes you can freeze almond ricotta.
In fact it is a very good idea to freeze nuts if you are going to keep them for a long time.
No nut is oil free and therefore very susceptible to becoming rancid at room temperature after about a month.
A good idea is to freeze them in portion sizes.
That way you can use it a bit at a time.
It will last for up to a year in the freezer.
Make sure that when you package it for freezing you remove as much air as possible.
This will reduce any chance of freezer burn.
When you thaw the ricotta it can become a bit watery and might separate a bit.
Give it a stir, and it should be as good as new.
I will also freeze it as part of an uncooked vegan lasagna, or almond ricotta shells.
This works well, it keeps its shape once thawed and then can be put in the oven to bake.
Tips for Making Almond Ricotta
Always use slivered almonds that are as fresh as possible.
In the Middle East nuts are a very popular item, and people love eating them.
You will find lots of nut roastery shops where they roast their own nuts.
Often you can get nuts that are still warm and fresh as can be.
The almonds for this recipe are not roasted, but these shops will still have very fresh raw nuts.
That was a bit of an aside, but I wanted to include it because freshness will determine taste.
At the very least make sure the nuts you used are vacuum packed.
Nuts are notorious for going stale and becoming rancid which would be very bad for the flavor of your almond ricotta.
The nutritional yeast is another interesting ingredient.
You want to be sure to get a good brand.
The flavor is nutty and cheesy and why it is used to mimic the taste of cheese.
Possessing lots of health benefits, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it is used in a lot of vegan dishes.
Nutritional yeast is an organism grown on molasses and then treated with heat to deactivate any leavening ability.
Mostly for taste and nutrition.
Adding Different Flavors
Another idea to think about is fresh herbs that you like, and include them in your ricotta, this can add a welcome additional flavor profile.
Chives, or basil come to mind as two that work really well.
Also, if you are brave, and like garlic, have willing participants, try mixing some minced garlic in for a supercharged taste.
There are various garlic concoctions in this part of the world that vary from a garlic mayo type sauce, to pure garlic paste.
And everything in between.
I like to put whole garlic cloves in my small food processor, add olive oil and process.
Add olive oil until you have a paste form.
This can be blow your head off level stuff depending on your garlic.
And your breath will be a victim for a good 24 hours.
But it is wonderful stuff.
I tell you about this because it is something I like to mix a little of in my almond ricotta to give it some heat and real stand up character.
Almond Ricotta Recipe
- 2 cups Slivered Almonds
- 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
- ¾ cup Water
- Cover almonds in boiling water and soak for two hours (optional).
- Drain and add to food processor.
- Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and water.
- Process until a paste forms, add more water if too thick.
Please, please let me know what you come up with, I would love to hear about all your experimentation.
Successes as well as ones that could have been better.
And any feedback you have on the following recipe will be very much appreciated.