How to Make Dairy Free Cheese

cashewricotta.gif

As you may know, I went dairy free at the beginning of the year.  I began doing a lot of research into food sensitivities, had some testing done, and came to the conclusion that my body simply doesn't process dairy very well.  The reactions in my body from eating dairy aren't simply tummy related - inflammation from a food sensitivity can occur up to 24 days later and range from headaches to stiff joints to brain fog.  When I really think about it, I've been susceptible to a number of weird, inexplicable ailments over the years and I'm starting to really believe that a lot of my symptoms of imperfect health are tied directly to foods I'm consuming. So, dairy went out the door.  I honestly feel great.  I feel clearer and lighter than I have in years.  It's remarkable. BUT, you will remember that I'm also a professional chef and saying sayonara to dairy borders on being sacrilegious.  I've been wanting to develop some dairy-free cheese alternatives and after sampling some great ones in restaurants around NYC I decided to go for it.  Today's recipe and video features cashew ricotta - made from scratch and with 3 ingredients.  I use this in lasagna, on top of noodles, as a dipping sauce...pretty much with everything!  It couldn't be easier!  Recipe below the video...

 

Cashew Ricotta Cheese

[ingredients title="Ingredients"]

  • 12 ounces cashews, soaked overnight (I prefer the ones that are salt free and haven't been roasted)
  • Lemon Juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • Kosher Salt to taste

[/ingredients]

[directions title="Directions"]

  1. Soak your cashews in water overnight.  Start with very hot water to get them going.  If you don't have time to soak them overnight, you can manage in about an hour but keep replacing the hot water every few minutes. The longer they soak the fluffier the ricotta texture at the end!
  2. Place soaked cashews in a Vitamix and blend on high, using the plunger to made sure they really incorporate.  If they aren't getting smooth you can put in a tiny bit of water to help them along.
  3. Add lemon juice and a bit of salt (start slowly with the salt at first) to taste.  Once it's smooth and fluffy it's done!  Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.

[/directions]