This Almond-Based Ricotta Is Just *Begging* for a Star Turn in Your Vegan Lasagna

Photo: Nutrition Stripped
Sure, the pasta sheets and creamy tomato sauce in lasagna are great, but what's the Italian staple without a hearty layer of creamy-crumbly ricotta cheese? While the real stuff—which is made up of leftover whey from the cheesemaking process—can trigger a not-so-fun case of inflammation like all dairy products, you can make a totally gut-friendly option using...wait for it...a couple handfuls of almonds.

Nutritionist and Well+Good Council member McKel Hill of Nutrition Stripped grew up in the midwest eating and loving ricotta cheese, even as dessert, and that's exactly why she developed a healthier, vegan version of the comfort-food staple that claims to offer the same great taste and texture. And this plant-based dupe also provides plenty of impressive benefits. One cup of almonds offers 20 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber and a host of other nutrients like vitamins B, E, magnesium. And that's not all: According to Hill, choosing the raw variety will win you extra health bang for your buck: "As with other nuts and seeds, almonds can help combat heart disease in multiple ways, and the skins in almonds contain a natural prebiotic—the food that feeds the good bacteria in our gut," she writes.

So how can you turn almonds into cheese? The process is actually surprisingly easy. In her Not Really Ricotta, Ricotta Almond Cheese recipe, the transformation only requires a few steps: lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, and some sea salt and pepper. After a little soaking and time pulsing in the food processor, you'll have a protein-packed nut cheese you can use in everything from pasta dishes to—as Hill loves—a toasted bagel. Talk about yum.

Use this easy hack to make vegan poké out of watermelon. Or create a lobster-free lobster roll using hearts of palm.

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