When I went vegan, cheese was definitely the hardest thing to give up. And I often get the same response when I ask friends and family what their biggest ingredient roadblock is to going vegan. Growing up, it used to be a staple in my diet–from eating paneer sabji to mithai, to cheeseboards and sandwiches, and undoubtedly sprinkling cheese shreds on pizza, pasta, & tacos. I hadn’t even considered eliminating cheese (or dairy) in my Jain diet, mostly due to my lack of awareness, but also because I loved the taste. So how did I eliminate such a staple ingredient from my diet?
Personally, I believe having a strong why reason and ethical foundation for going vegan allowed me to easily make conscious decisions in the supermarket, at restaurants, while cooking, and at gatherings. As I started to educate myself more about the health, environmental, and animal rights reasons for omitting dairy, it simply made sense. Some of the most impactful resources to me were:
- Earthling Ed’s Story
- Gary Y.’s Speech
- Documentaries like: Earthlings, Dominion, What the Health, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and Vegucated
In the end, making decisions rooted in ahimsa (non-violence) allowed me to overcome the cognitive dissonance of what is visible and what is happening behind the scenes. When I make choices that align with my values on compassion, I feel a sense of purpose that leaves me centered, content, and confident–whether I am choosing companies to invest in, making sustainable swaps, or addressing a conflict.
Fortunately over the years, supermarket shelves are stocked with many plant-based cheese alternatives like cream cheese, shredded cheese, feta crumbles, and more! And I’m telling you, if you tried them 5 years ago and weren’t a fan, there are far better options these days that are flavorful and actually melt. While the accessibility to these products is wonderful, they can sometimes be a bit pricey and often lack nutrition-dense ingredients. So, I’ve started making my own at home, which as you’ll see below, is SO easy!
High Protein Vegan Ricotta
This creamy high protein vegan ricotta is spreadable, savory, and has the perfect tang to add to pastas, pizza, sandwich, wraps, or as a dip.
Time: 10 minutes
Makes 1.5 cups
- 1 block extra firm tofu or “high protein” tofu, cubed
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (nooch)*
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp hing
*Nutritional yeast is a wonderful vegan source of protein and Vitamin B12. For this recipe, if you don’t have or use nutritional yeast, you can double the hing and add 1 tbsp oregano for additional flavor
Simply add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until mixture forms a ball. It should be a creamy spreadable texture. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Stay tuned for the next recipe–I’ll be sharing how to make a hearty VEGAN LASAGNA using this delicious ricotta. Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!