This is one of my proudest creations. Especially since it has helped me fill—as much as I don’t want to admit it—the cheese void in my life. About a year ago, I heard about a Japanese ingredient called Agar a.k.a Agar Agar which acts like a gelatin when heated. Its properties sounded creatively exciting at the time, but it wasn’t until recently that I finally started experimenting. By adding the right mix of other vegan cheese replacements like nutritional yeast and soaked cashews with it, magic happened. Then I took it a step further and used it for my Gluten-Free Vegetable Lasagna recipe and oh, the cheesey-not-cheeseness of it all. See, when it is heated, and then cools to room temp or chillier, it thickens into a textural and flavorful equivalent to dairy ricotta cheese.
You can eat this Dairy-free Ricotta Cheese unheated as a dip with sliced veggies, or tastier yet, spread on fruits like apples and pears. Spread it on Raw White Bread (as a flavored mayo alternative) for a sandwich or mix it with cooked/sprouted grains like quinoa or millet. Stay tuned for more dairy-free cheese creations coming soon—I am having fun in the kitchen these days thanks to this recipe and can’t wait to share the goodness.
Makes: approx. 1 1/2 cups | Preparation Time: 10mins (not including cashew soak time)
1 cup pure water
2/3 cup soaked raw cashews
2 Tbsp raw tahini
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp agar flakes
1 tsp fresh squeezed organic lemon juice
1 tsp pink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
1/8 tsp Liquid Smoke (optional, but I recommend it for great flavor)
Let’s Get Started:
1. Place all of your ingredients in the blender and mix until creamy.
2. Pour into a pot, heat to medium and stir for 5 minutes until mixture thickens. If using in Mixed Veggie Lasagna, you can skip this step.
3. Use immediately or chill in the fridge until ready to use. Break up with a fork if you need to before serving.
4. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Psst: If you can’t find agar, you will still get a thickened “cheese” when heating this mixture since cashews tend to thicken when heated.
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