Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chicotta! Vegan Ricotta Cheese (Dairy, Soy and Nut-Free)

A while back I made a spinach artichoke hummus for a party. It was very tasty, but in typical Ashley form, I made way too many appetizers for the party and I had a lot leftover... such a problem, right?! My mom always said, there's nothing that kills a party faster than running out of food or beer and you always have to listen to your mother!

That week after the party, I was turning all of the leftover dips into dinner entrees. I used the spinach artichoke hummus for a lasagna roll-up and poured marinara on top. It went over really well in the house and I kept telling myself that I need to do that again. Fast forward two months, my friend brings over a delicious lasagna this weekend and I've been devouring it since. You'd think I had my fill but I wanted more lasagna.

I wanted to see if I could just make a more simple ricotta blend like the hummus I used but a little lighter and fluffier (if that makes sense). As you may know, I try to  limit our soy intake so I didn't want to use any tofu. I have read a lot of vegan ricotta recipes that use cashews too. Well truth be told, I'm lazy and unorganized! Soaking the cashews for hours and remembering to do it the night before just isn't ideal for me. Also, it's just a personal preference, but I don't love the sweetness that cashews give to vegan cheeses (hence the potato and carrot Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce). So instead of cashews and remembering my hummus, I added a lot of artichokes to give it a salty yet fluffy texture than just hummus. And there you have it ... Dairy-Free, Nut-Free and Soy-Free Chickpea Ricotta ... Chicotta!

It worked out great in a lasagna, it tastes great as a dip and I even put it in a creamy pasta bake. Feel free to add some frozen spinach too ... get creative and have fun.

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free and Nut-Free

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free and Nut-Free

Vegan Ricotta

Makes 2 cups

1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove
1/3 c olive oil
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 T tahini
1 1/2 T lemon
1/2 t salt
1-15 oz can artichokes, drained and rinsed

In your food processor, mix everything except the artichokes until it is nice and smooth. Add olive oil if you need a smoother texture. Next, add in the artichokes and give it a few good turns. I do it so that there is still little tiny pieces of artichoke but nothing big.

Now, it's ready to use in your favorite lasagna, pasta bake or just pull out some chips and carrots and enjoy it as a dip!

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free and Nut-Free

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