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Dairy Free (Vegan) Basil Ricotta Cheese

This versatile ricotta cheese recipe takes only five minutes to make and is an incredible substitute for the real thing. With only four ingredients, this vegan cheese whips together in seconds in a Cuisinart food processor. If you don't have this handy kitchen gadget, no worries. You can merely smash it with a fork to achieve the same results. Use this delightful "cheese" in just about any Italian dish. I particularly like it as a base for layering vegetables in a veggie calzone. However, it is just as satisfying as a stuffing for pasta shells, ravioli, cannelloni and as layers in lasagna. Use it in just about any way you would use traditional ricotta cheese. If you prefer to exchange oregano, thyme or another herb for the basil, go for it. Or use no herbs at all for dishes where you just want the cheese. 
Total Time5 mins
Course: Cooking Basics, Quick & Easy, Vegan Cheese
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cheese, Ricotta, vegan
Servings: 4 Calzones
Calories: 101kcal


  • 1 14 1/2 ounce block extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1-3 teaspoons basil*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Wrap tofu in a clean absorbent cloth and gently squeeze to remove excess moisture. It should be relatively dry. Break into chunks that will easily fit in your Cuisinart food processor. Transfer chunks into your Cuisinart fitted with an S blade.**
  • Add lemon juice, salt, and basil. Replace lid and pulse until the "cheese" is the consistency of ricotta cheese. That is, creamier than cottage cheese but not as creamy as cream cheese. 
  • That's all there is to it! Use it for nearly any baked ricotta cheese dish. I've not yet tried it for baking a cheesecake, so I can't claim it will work in that application. Enjoy!


*In this video I'm using basil from my garden which is much less condensed than commercial basil. I use a tablespoon in this recipe.. If using commercial basil, you may want to sneak up on it and start with a teaspoon. You can always add more.
**If you don't own a Cuisinart food processor, or any processor, you can easily mash the ingredients together in a bowl with a fork. It will only take a couple of minutes longer.


Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 145mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 2mg