If you have a block of tofu and a jar of capers in the house, you’re all set for this easy, delicious vegan ricotta spread. We recently had dinner at Charlie was a sinner. restaurant in Philadelphia and loved it. Our favorite dish was a chargrilled Caesar salad, but we also really liked their house-made “ricotta with agave, black peppercorn and olive oil” served with grilled bread. The waitperson said it was made of “whipped tofu.” My version below is adapted from Tofu Ricotta Crostini by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. It’s good, easy and versatile, and would be great for an appetizer. Alongside a salad, it would also be good for lunch or dinner. If you’re looking for other starter ideas, check out the appetizer category on this site.
14 oz. block of firm organic tofu, drained well (not pressed)
2 Tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or some fancy pepper
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, pressed, or crushed and minced
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
baguette to grill, or crackers
In a medium mixing bowl, break up tofu with a fork until it’s the consistency of ricotta cheese. Scrape 3/4 of this mixture into a food processor, along with the nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth and then scrape the processed tofu back into the crumbled tofu in the mixing bowl, add capers and stir to blend. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes and then sauté garlic for a minute or two, just until golden. Add tofu mixture to pan, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and stir to mix. Top with a drizzle of good olive oil, and a sprinkle of your best salt (I used homemade basil salt).
Notes: Some changes I made were to use the entire block of tofu, and to whip part of it for the creamier consistency of the restaurant dish I had. I also reduced the initial oil and salt and then added a little more at the end to finish. This recipe can be flavored any which way. You could add a teaspoon of agave syrup when processing, and then top with thin slices of grilled fig or dried date, or candied pecans, or toasted pistachio nuts. Or use preserved lemon when you process, for a deeper lemon flavor. On canapés, you could top it with slices of pear, or fruit compote, with shards of coconut bacon, etc. It could even be used to enhance avocado toast.
One photo from Charlie was a sinner.