Pasta Salad with Cashew Ricotta Cheese
I love a good pasta salad…Especially one that is loaded with goodness. Cashew Ricotta? I know for those of you who are not familiar with using cashews as cheese that it may sound odd. It did to me at first too when I started making cheeses with nuts. But this vegan version of ricotta cheese is by far my favorite and my go to for any pasta dish that calls for ricotta. Growing up I put ricotta cheese (also known as pot cheese around my way) on everything.
The good thing about cashews is you can turn them into something sweet or savory. For instance I make sweet raw cheesecakes using cashews. It’s so versatile. I make sure to always have cashews on hand because you can literally use them for anything. Well in my opinion at least.The texture of this is pretty spot on to the dairy ricotta you find in stores. I make this in bulk and keep it in my fridge because it lasts up to five days. For this specific pot cheese I keep it basic. You can add seasonings to go with whatever will compliment the dish you’re making but this is a staple recipe. Water, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt and pepper. All will be explained in the recipe section. Super easy.I definitely eat this by the spoonful. I’m not shy. LOL When I’m really into something I make it constantly. Like playing a song over and over again until I had enough. I can get like that with certain foods. However I’ve yet to get bored of chocolate. Anyway…For each batch I use one bag of cashews and I soak them for 4 hours at least. When you soak cashews to later blend them they will be creamier. You don’t have to blend them if you have a high speed blender but I find it still won’t be as smooth and creamy as when you previously soak them. This recipe makes about 4 1/2 cups. Um four and a half cups of deliciousness!
Here is just one of the many things you can do with this cheese. Add it to Pasta Salad. Yeaaa BuddyI used an organic brown rice elbow pasta with cherry tomatoes and fresh spinach. I made this for SuperBowl Sunday. I love sandwiches and pasta salads I feel they’re a good pair. And I kept it traditional but also healthy. I totally get down like that. LOL
Pasta Recipe adapted from BudgetBytes
- [b]Cashew Ricotta[/b]
- 2 cups cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours
- 1 c water
- juice of one whole lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1-2 tsp onion powder
- pink salt to taste
- [b]Pasta Salad[/b]
- 1 bag brown rice elbow pasta
- 2 c fresh spinach
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 1/2 c cashew ricotta
- 1 head garlic, roasted
- salt/pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cut off the top of the garlic, wrap in foil leaving it slightly open at the top and roast for 20 minutes.
- While the garlic is roasting make the cheese.
- Drain and rinse cashews and place in a blender. Add all the ingredients and run until just smooth but slightly crumbly. You want it to have the same texture as ricotta cheese.
- Pour into a glass jar and set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Usually bout 7-9 minutes for brown rice pasta. Rinse with cool water once finished.
- Take the garlic out of the oven and pop out the bulbs. Cut them into small pieces.
- Assemble the salad by placing the pasta and all ingredients into a large salad bowl. Mix well making sure to cover the spinach and tomatoes with the “cheese”.
- Add salt and pepper as desired.