Creamy Almond Ricotta

DSC_1668More and more alternatives to dairy products are entering the market. Lots of people are either Lactose intolerant or want to cut on cholesterol so avoid dairy, or others are looking into cutting out dairy from their diet for environmental/ethical issues. Nut and seed cheeses are great plant-based alternatives that provide protein and other high quality nutrients. Unfortunately the ones you find at the supermarket aren’t that nice, at least in my opinion. Apart from the flavor, the ingredients used are often not so healthy, for example soy lecithin or other emulsifiers, preservatives etc. I believe that in the future there will be lots of options out there, but for now the best thing would be to make your own!
When I was doing the Matthew Kenney culinary course in Thailand we were making tons of nut cheeses and letting them ferment to get that wanted umami taste. You can use many nuts and seeds but the best are cashews, macadamia and almonds. Flavor them with herbs, spices, making a “crust” and lots of different variations.
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This “ricotta” is made with almonds and I added some lemon zest to give it a twist. you can easily mix in some herbs or anything that pops up in your head. It can be used just like a normal cheese, for example today for lunch we added the ricotta to pasta with tomato sauce, it was perfect together.

I also made a short video tutorial on making this cheese:

•INGREDIENTS•
→1 1/2 cups almonds (raw, unsalted)
→1/2 cup almond milk (or water)
→3 teaspoons lemon juice
→1 teaspoon lemon zest
→1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
→1/4 teaspoon salt

Soak the almonds overnight or at least 6 hours.
Drain, discard the soaking water and rinse well. Pour boiling water over the almonds, let sit for 2 minutes, then drain.
Peel the almonds (pouring boiling water will help a lot to remove the skins).
Put the almonds and the rest of ingredients into a blender or food processor and start blending. Scrape down the sides every once in a while and blend until smooth (feel the texture with the tip of your fingers, it shouldn’t feel grainy).
Taste and adjust salt and lemon if needed. Refrigerate and use within 4 days.

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