This sunflower cashew ricotta is a vegan ricotta cheese that's just as rich and creamy as real ricotta. By using a mix of sunflower seeds and cashews, you can create a cashew ricotta that's even lower in carbs. The sunflower seeds are also higher in fiber than cashews, so a mix of the two is a great way to lower the carb load and still enjoy a vegan nut cheese that tastes like the real thing.
Adding sunflower seeds also means you're spending less overall. Sunflower seeds are much more budget-friendly than raw cashews which is another reason to love this vegan cheese recipe!
Of course, if you prefer to use all cashews or all sunflower seeds, go for it. 😉
why this recipe works
Oh, the things you can make with this sunflower cashew ricotta!
Not only does this vegan cheese recipe give you a creamy, delicious, dairy-free ricotta that is keto-friendly, but it also makes the perfect base for other dips, dressings and spreads!
This sunflower cashew ricotta is:
- rich, creamy and flavorful
- made with simple ingredients
- an easy and versatile vegan version
- low carb, dairy free, keto and plant-based diet friendly
how to use sunflower cashew ricotta
There are endless ways to enjoy this delicious cashew ricotta! Use it as a dip or spread. It's great on this ricotta and asparagus flatbread and as a creamy dip for air fryer broccolini or zucchini tots.
Here are a few other ideas:
- swap it in for traditional ricotta for a dairy-free cheese (perfect if you're on a vegan keto diet or you're dairy-free keto)
- add your favorite seasonings to make a yummy nut dip for fresh veggies (cajun, garlic powder and ranch seasoning immediately come to mind!)
- spread it on almond meal bread, biscuits or a keto pizza/flatbread
- thin out a spoonful or two to make a creamy salad dressing.
Some of the best vegan cheese can be made right at home and this vegan cashew ricotta cheese recipe is one of them! The process is simple and so is the ingredient list. You will need:
- raw cashews
- raw sunflower seed kernels (sometimes called hulled sunflower seeds)
- nutritional yeast (this gives it a cheesy flavor)
- fresh lemon juice
- water or unsweetened nut milk (macadamia milk or almond milk)
- garlic cloves
- sea salt and black pepper
- apple cider vinegar
- probiotic capsule (optional, if you prefer that slight tanginess of real ricotta)
- flat-leaf parsley (optional garnish)
let's make some!
Have I mentioned how easy this is? Sunflower cashew ricotta is a quick recipe, and the only step that takes more than a few minutes is soaking the cashews and sunflower seeds ahead of time.
The process is below, but make sure to check out the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page!
To make sunflower cashew ricotta:
- Place cashews and sunflower seeds in a bowl full of boiling hot water for one hour. This will soften them.
- Drain the water from the seeds/nuts, then add them to a high-speed blender or a food processor.
- Add all the other ingredients except for the parsley and probiotic. Blend/process for about 3-4 minutes, pausing halfway to scrape down the sides. It's ready to use/serve!
- Optional steps: break open a probiotic capsule and sprinkle in the powder, stirring it with a wooden spoon (as metal can deactivate probiotics). Cover with a thin towel and place the bowl (ceramic or glass bowl) on the counter and let it sit overnight. This gives it that familiar tanginess that's found in many soft, fresh cheeses and yogurts. Stir in chopped parsley when ready to use.
tips for the best cashew ricotta
- Soaking the seeds and nuts is important. A quick soak in hot water will soften them and make it much easier to blend/process the mixture.
- Feel free to add 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the cheese after blending. This can help thin it if it's too thick.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- This cashew version of ricotta really requires a powerful blender or food processor. It's the best way to process the quick-soaked cashews and sunflower seeds and will give you an ultra smooth and creamy vegan cashew cheese.
frequently asked questions
It depends who you ask and what your goals are on a ketogenic diet. Since cashews have a higher amount of carbs and natural sugars, some say to avoid them completely. If you're following a more strict keto diet and trying to stay under 20g net carbs per day, you might think cashews are out of the question. However, total net carbs and its affect on ketosis can really vary for each individual and your serving size.
This sunflower cashew ricotta recipe calls for ¾ cup raw cashews, which is equivalent to 21 grams net carbs and 6 grams of sugar. But chances are, you won't be eating the whole bowl (nearly 2 cups total serving size). By adding the sunflower seeds, we're adding more fiber, and one serving size-- just over three tablespoons-- of this sunflower cashew ricotta has about 2.5 grams net carbs.
The short answer is, while cashews are not the most keto-friendly nut, I believe they can have a place in a keto diet, as long as you watch your serving size.
There are many different variations of vegan ricotta including recipes that call for cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and even a block of tofu.
Add-ins like lemon zest, garlic, herbs and aromatics can give you flavor variations. Or keep it simple for a creamy vegan cashew ricotta recipe that tastes just like dairy-based ricotta cheese!
I hope you love this homemade vegan cashew ricotta and find many uses for it! It's an easy, dairy-free and low-carb recipe that all eaters can enjoy!
you might also love...
- This recipe for homemade almond milk, which is quick, easy, and only requires two ingredients!
- Shaved Brussels sprouts salad with mustard dill vinaigrette for a delicious, low-carb salad packed with cruciferous veggies and healthy fats.
- Broccoli crunch salad, a crisp, crunchy and flavor-packed way to eat your broccoli.
- This easy keto ranch dressing also happens to be dairy-free and delicious! It's extra creamy, savory and flavor-packed.
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup raw sunflower seed kernels
- 1 small garlic clove (or 1 teaspoon minced garlic)
- juice of 1 medium lemon (about 1-½ tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1-½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup nut milk (macadamia or almond) or sub water, divided in half
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 probiotic capsule (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parlsey (optional)
- Place the sunflower seeds and cashews in a medium bowl. Pour boiling water over them until they're completely submerged. Allow them to soak in the hot water for 1 hour to soften.*
- Drain and discard the soaking water. Place the cashews and sunflower seeds into a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the garlic clove, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, apple cider vinegar, and half of the amount of nut milk (¼ cup only-- you'll add the additional ¼ cup later).
- Blend/process on high speed for about two minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender/food processor. Blend/process for another minute, then stop and check the consistency. If you want the ricotta to be on the thicker side, continue blending it for another minute. If you need to thin it down, add the remaining ¼ cup of nut milk and blend for another minute, or until it's smooth.
- Transfer the sunflower cashew ricotta to a small bowl. It's ready to use. You can stir in the chopped parlsey, if you'd like, or move to the next optional step.
- Optional step: Break open a probiotic capsule and use a wooden or plastic spoon to stir the probiotic powder into the ricotta (metal deactivates probiotics). Cover with a thin, clean dish cloth and let it sit on the counter overnight. The probiotics gives the ricotta that familiar tanginess that many soft, fresh cheeses and yogurts have.
Alternatively, you can soak the cashews and sunflower seeds in cool water for about 6 hours.
Store the ricotta covered, in the refrigerator, for up to one week.
You can adjust the amount of garlic, nutritional yeast, and salt, as desired.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on 10 servings, or just over 3 tablespoons per serving. This serving size will vary depending on how you use the ricotta.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90Total Fat: 6.7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8.5mgCarbohydrates: 4gNet Carbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 3.1g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.