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Easy Vegan Almond Ricotta

Whether you’re vegan, giving Veganuary a go, cutting down on dairy, or just keen to try a truly delicious plant-based cheese, you’d be nuts not to try our Vegan Almond Ricotta! Using only five ingredients, it’s a super easy recipe that makes a rich, creamy ‘ricotta’ that’s very close to the real deal. Perfect for pizza, pasta, salads and more – this recipe is definitely worth your time. This recipe is by Ooni ambassador and vegan pizza expert, Julian Guy of Pizza is Lovely!

Equipment
Makes 1 large batch of vegan ricotta

9oz (250g) cheese mould (or larger; or equivalent smaller moulds to make smaller cheeses)
Nut milk bag
Cooking thermometer
Blender or liquidizer 
Large saucepan
Clean kitchen towel
Sieve or colander

Ingredients
10.5oz (300g) ground almonds
52.9oz (1500g) cold water
9 tsp dextrose powder
3 tsp fine salt
1.6oz (45g) apple cider vinegar

Method
The steps in this recipe are simple, but the cheese does take a bit of time to prepare, so you’ll need to start in advance. Allow 2-3 days of preparation before you want to use your ricotta.

First, using a blender (liquidizer), blend together the ground almonds, water, dextrose powder and salt. We recommend splitting the ingredients into batches, as this is quite a large volume and may not fit in your blender all at once. Blend on high for a full minute, or until fully incorporated and the mixture will turn a white, milky color.

Place the nut milk bag over the saucepan and pour the almond milk into the bag, straining the liquid into the saucepan. Use your hands to grip the bag and squeeze the remaining milk through to draw out as much as possible. Repeat this process until you’ve used all the remaining almonds, water, dextrose and salt. You can keep the spent almonds in the fridge to use for other recipes, like cakes or dips.

Transfer the saucepan to your stovetop (hob). Take a reading of the milk with your cooking thermometer and make a note of the room temperature (you’ll need this later to make sure the milk has cooled fully down). Stir the mixture over a medium-high heat, checking the temperate with your thermometer every minute, to slowly bring it up to 185°F (85°C). Be careful not to let the milk boil or get so hot that it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Take the pan off the heat and pour in the apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine, then place the lid on the pan and leave the mixture to cool down to room temperature. The residual heat will split the mixture into the solid proteins and fats, and the ‘whey’ and water, leaving behind small curds. This should take around 6-8 hours, depending on the room temperature of your kitchen.

Once the milk has cooled and curdled, take your clean nut milk bag and place the bag over the  sieve or colander, with a container beneath to catch the liquid. Carefully pour the curdled milk into the bag. There’s no need to squeeze the bag – let gravity do the work. Place the bag, colander and larger container in the fridge to continue draining. The cheese will be ready for the next step after 6-8 hours, or until it stops dripping. You may need to empty the container of liquid every so often.

The ricotta is now ready to be pressed into moulds. Place a sheet of paper towel (kitchen towel) on a plate with the cheese mould on top. Using a spoon, fill up the mould with the ricotta, making sure to press it right into the corners with the tip of the spoon. Smooth over the top with your spoon and cover the top with a bowl or plate. Place in the fridge overnight, ideally for 24 hours, to give the cheese a good amount of time to set.

Finally, take your mould and place a plate over the top. Turn the plate and mould upside down together, and let the cheese fall onto the plate. If it doesn’t fall immediately, you may need to tap it a couple of times.

The creamy, vegan almond ricotta is now ready to enjoy on pizza, on its own, with friends or keep to yourself! Simply use in exactly the same way you would a traditional ricotta. To store, keep the ricotta in the fridge in an airtight container for no longer than two weeks.

Looking for more vegan inspiration? Check out our recipes using this vegan ricotta for Vegan Ricotta, Spinach & Caramelized Onion Pizza and Vegan Ricotta, Candied Chilli & Roast Squash Sauce Pizza, plus our full vegan recipe collection.

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