All About Cheese with Dr. Neal Barnard (video) + Plant Based Tofu Ricotta (oil free)


Just like any bad habit that doesn’t serve your health and wellbeing, cheese is a bitch to quit.

From what I hear.

When I quit eating cheese I was deep in the sheets, making hot love to alcohol and nicotine on a daily basis, so at the time, I was happy to give anything up as long as it wasn’t smoking or drinking.

After I quit cheese in 2008 I would think about a gooey grilled cheese from time to time, but as long as I could go home after work and drink a bottle or two of wine and smoke a half a pack of cigarettes, I was cool with giving up just about anything. If I wasn’t addicted to smoking and drinking, I do believe my cheese addiction would have been a lot harder to break.

I say cheese addiction because that’s exactly what it is. And in today’s video Fuckery, Dr. Barnard and I talk about why this gooey, salty, creamy stuff is so hard to break up with.

Dr. Barnard is one of my fave plant based doctors and his newest book, The Cheese Trap came out earlier this year. There is no one better suited to handle the topic of crack in dairy form than Dr. Barnard. I had a great time chatting with him and I know you’ll enjoy it.

Here are just a few of the tidbits you’ll walk away with after you watch this video:

  • Why it’s a really, really, really good idea to wean you and your family off from cheese.
  • Why it’s so fucking hard to do that (my words, not his).
  • What to do if you’ve gotten off the cheese pipe (yes, like crack pipe but with cheese) but your kids are still eating it.
  • The ah-ha moment that led to Dr. Barnard’s breakup with meat and dairy.

There are a ton of nuggets packed into this 25 minute talk, so put down the queso, sit back and enjoy!

Oh, and if you’re inspired to quit cheese after watching this video, my weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans will help you navigate your life without the cheese. As always, I got you!

Visit Dr. Barnard’s website, PCRM here.

Buy his newest book, The Cheese Trap here.

Have you struggled with giving up cheese? Talk to me in the comments below.

After you watch this video, make today’s recipe and put it on anything you would put dairy ricotta on.

Plant Based Tofu Ricotta Cheese

Author: Molly Patrick


  • 1 block firm tofu pressed (instructions below)
  • ¼ cup raw cashews soaked in water for 10 minutes (35g)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon onion granules
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 turns of black peppercorn


  • Take the block of tofu out of package and rinse with water. Next, press the liquid out of the tofu by using a tofu press, or by placing the tofu on a plate and carefully stacking more plates on top of it. Make sure the plates are heavy enough to press the liquid out of the tofu. Let it set like this for 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Drain and discard the water from the cashews and place the cashews into your food processor, along with the lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, dried oregano, dried basil, onion granules, salt and pepper. Process until there are no chunks of cashews and everything is blended up. Turn off the food processor and scrape down the sides if necessary.
  • Add the tofu to the food processor and pulse a few more times until the tofu is crumbled up and all the ingredients are mixed together. Transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with trading in short term comfort for long term joy.


Get a weekly dose of inspiration to eat more plants and celebrate imperfection

Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.


  1. jeri on April 15, 2017 at 10:07 am

    great video w/ dr. barnard. but, i was left w/ one question…
    what about the health of goat or sheep cheese?
    can you help?

    many thanks,

    • Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 15, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Jeri, though goat or sheep’s milk cheese have somewhat different levels of macro and micronutrients, they’re still quite high in fat and animal protein, so best avoided. 😉

      Team Dirty Girl

  2. vicky Haluska on April 15, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Molly and Luanne,
    Wonderful interview with Doc Barnard, congrats!

    I did the math on the average American intake of 60,000 calories of cheese in a year (35 pounds) and it comes out to 164.38 calories from cheese a day. Am I missing something, because honestly that does not seem excessive in the normal American diet?
    Sending all best to you both. v

    • Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 15, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks Vicky! Yeah, it may not seem like much cheese on a daily basis, but it can add up in health ramifications anyway. Luckily there are lots of healthy and delicious homemade and store bought cheese alternatives out there! 🙂

      Team Dirty Girl

  3. Catbat on April 15, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Great interview. Going to get this book. I need to get cheese out of my life!!!

    • Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 15, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Woohoo! Let’s do this Catbat!

      Team Dirty Girl

  4. Heather Conrad on April 16, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Thank you for such a great interview! I have been vegan for three and a half years and the rest of my family is vegetarian. I have been wanting to eliminate cheese from the kids’ diet but have been hesitant for the social reasons that Dr. Barnard spoke about. He has given me just the push I needed to take this very important next step in my family’s health.

    • Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 16, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      This is awesome Heather! So glad that Molly’s interview with Dr. Barnard helped to push you forward. 😉

      Team Dirty Girl

  5. sheila on April 20, 2017 at 9:48 am

    just wondering if you know where any positive studies regarding organic soy are. my brother is trying to find some great protein choices but is still fearful of soy because he doesn’t want to ingest pseudo hormones. I ‘d like to dispell those myths but am unsure where to look? thanks

    • Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Sheila,

      I’d recommending watching this video where Molly interviews Brenda Davis all about soy. Also, search for soy on Dr. Greger’s site

      Team Dirty Girl

  6. Carrie Cieliczka on April 20, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Wow. Fantastic interview. So much appreciate Molly asking the tough question about kids | cheese. I’m not going to lie, it made me cry. That’s my exact situation.
    Xx Carrie

    • Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 21, 2017 at 7:01 am

      So glad that this interview helped you Carrie! 🙂

      Team Dirty Girl

  7. Kristina Woolf on April 23, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Love this…
    How can I share this video??
    Do you have a I can share on fb???
    The struggle is real..I have been off and on dairy for yrs..I’m working toward off again! Thanks to all you do!

  8. Stacy Urban on June 14, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    So, the cashews should stay kinda chunky? Not blended smooth like for a sauce?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on June 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Stacy, The cashews will be smooth because you’ll soak and blend them until there are no chunks in the food processor. The tofu gets added after that and it’s up to you how long you want to blend it in.
      You can pulse to a level of crumbly (more ricotta-style texture) per the recipe or continue blending until it’s smooth. ~Karen

      • Sarah on January 20, 2020 at 2:11 pm

        Hey. So I soaked my cashews for 15 minutes. The blades of my Vitamix were too high to blend the cashews once they were in pieces. I’d have to say that this recipe doesn’t have enough liquid or nuts to make them smooth, not in a Vitamix anyway. I added some of the tofu to try and blend more, but there’s not enough liquid for that. Good flavor though!

  9. Laureen Granger on January 8, 2022 at 9:05 am

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and was impressed with the taste. Honestly I have tried all kinds of recipes for tofu-based cheese alternatives from other bloggers and usually don’t particularly like them. But I do like this, and am thrilled to have a plant-based ricotta substitute as I often crave ricotta on toast for breakfast, which my Italian mom often served when I was growing up.

    • Stephanie from Team Dirty on January 8, 2022 at 9:46 am

      What a compliment! Thanks, Lauren!

      This is one of my favorite CFDG recipes and I don’t even like dairy ricotta. It’s delicious!


Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

You may also enjoy...

New? Download your free Beginner's Guide and start the most delicious and rewarding journey of your life, fueled by plants.

Our mouthgasmic plant based meal plans are designed around batch cooking. Get your free Batching Handbook and dive in.

Stop junk food cravings and glow from the inside out with our easy-to-follow program. Give me the juicy details.

Love the food that loves you back

Get instant access to thousands of plant based recipes and meal plans, no credit card or perfection required.