It’s officially picnic season, which means that it’s time to nail the art of antipasti. Swap pre-packaged salad toppings with these easy vegan ricotta pesto balls.
Homemade cheese may sound complicated, but this simple recipe only takes 25 minutes to make and uses simple store cupboard ingredients, including protein-packed soy milk (crucial for building muscle). Pair with sourdough or sprinkle over summer salads to share at your next socially distanced picnic.
PREP TIME: 25 minutes + 3–4 days infusing time
1 litre soy milk
5 tbsp cider vinegar
Bunch of Thai basil
5 tsp vegan basil pesto
1⁄2 tsp chilli powder
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil (for marinating)
Bring soy milk to a boil in a pan over a high heat.
Stir in vinegar, as soon as it begins to boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool – during this time the soy will solidify and separate.
Carefully pour away the excess liquid.
Put remaining solid ingredients into a sieve lined with a clean tea towel.
Bring the corners of the towel together and then twist, so that as much liquid as possible is squeezed out from the solid soy ‘ricotta.’
Pull the leaves from the basil and chop them roughly.
Mix together the soy “ricotta” in a bowl with the pesto and chilli powder.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Form 10 little balls from the mixture and put them in a screw-top jar or preserving jar with the basil leaves.
Completely cover with the oil and leave to infuse for 3-4 days.
IMAGE: Brigitte Sporrer/DK Verlag
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Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).