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The Cheesy Vegetarian: Cannoli Dip


During my fourteen years of being sans meat, I’ve found that when you ask vegetarians “Why aren’t you a vegan?” their response is either “too expensive” or “cheese.” In order to help my comrades–in–vegetables out, I’m scouring the internet for the cheesiest meat-free recipes around. Join me on my journey to recreate the best, and learn the history of our favorite cheese while we’re at it.

Missed last week’s recipe? Discover the perfect party app in Goat Cheese–Stuffed Mini Peppers here.


THE CHEESE

We’ve already discussed cream cheese before, so now it’s time to focus on ravishing ricotta. I’ve always loved a dollop in the middle of a bowl of pasta or in my mom’s homemade lasagna, but ricotta is best in its sweetened form: a rich, cannoli filling.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ricotta is not technically a cheese in that it’s traditionally created from the whey left over from cheesemaking rather than straight-up milk. Generally most of the whey gets tossed, but when making ricotta, chefs re-cook the surviving whey and scoop off the solid milk blobs that float to the top. After draining out some of the extra liquid, the ricotta is ready to go. Try your hand at making ricotta with our easy-peasy recipe here.

Like most types of cheese, no one can be sure when the first farmer made ricotta. Historians do know it came to Europe via Sicily, along with a slew of other cheeses, but the exact date and location of its origin are unknown. At some point in the 13th century, there was mention of the Sicilian King Frederick II, who demanded ricotta from a local cheesemaker, which he preceded to eat on bread.

Ricotta’s a multifaceted cheese. It tastes good mixed with powdered sugar in a pastry shell or with mozzarella and tomato sauce in a calzone. I can’t say the same for most.

THE RECIPE

This dessert dip can be prepared in 10 minutes (and gone in another). It’s sweet but not too sweet and has the perfect ratio of cream cheese and ricotta. Versions online vary: some include heavy cream, marscapone, or whipping cream replacing the cream cheese. Any of these tastes delicious, but the addition of cream cheese gives the dip a thick and hearty texture.

Cannoli Dip
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ cups powdered sugar
  2. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 1½ cups ricotta
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1-2 cups chocolate chips, to taste
  6. Crushed-up sugar cones, graham crackers or fruit, to dip
Instructions
  1. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl with a handheld blender, except chocolate chips, until well combined.
  2. Add as many (or as little) chips as you want and mix with wooden spoon.
  3. Serve immediately in a small bowl with crushed cones, graham crackers, or fruit to dip.
culture: the word on cheese https://culturecheesemag.com/

Click here and check out next week’s recipe: mozzarella bombs!

Becca McGilloway

Becca McGilloway is currently a senior at Emerson College studying Writing, Literature, and Publishing. When she isn't on the hunt for the latest cheese-permeated vegetarian recipe on Pinterest, she's probably binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.