Food What to use instead of ricotta?


Sylvie Guillem fan
May 10, 2006
Hi, Ladies

I've been invited to a dinner party. The hostess always underestimates how much work she sets herself up for, so I told her I would bring a vegetable dish since these can be time consuming.

I found the recipe below and I think I will love it.

Someone at the dinnerparty can't have anything dairy, so what should I substitute for the ricotta?

Is there such a thing as tofu that is firm but soft enough to be blended like cheese?

Chestnut butter?

Any other ideas?

MANY THANKS :heart: :heart: :heart:

Recipe for
Butternut squash gnocchi with sage brown butter and parmesan

Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 6 Servings

  • 3 pounds butternut squash
  • 1 pound russet potatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons finely ground amaretti cookie crumbs
  • ¼ cup pastry flour
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 30 fresh sage leaves
  • ¾ cup thinly shaved parmesan
Preheat oven to 350°F. Split squash lengthwise and place halves face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake squash about 45 minutes. Turn oven down to 300°F. Remove and discard seeds and using a large spoon, scoop out squash flesh. Pass flesh through ricer or food mill and spread out on baking sheet. Bake in oven 15-20 minutes to dry squash to paste consistency.
While squash is roasting, place potatoes in pot, cover with cold water and bring to low boil stove over medium heat. Cook potatoes until skewer can pass easily through center, about 1 hour. Drain potatoes and let rest 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel potatoes and pass through food mill. Lay milled potato out on baking sheet and bake in a 300°F oven 10 minutes to dry potato.
Spread potato and squash out together on work surface. Combine eggs, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper and pour into center of potato. Sprinkle amaretti crumbs and flours over surface and slowly, gently mix dough by folding outside edges in toward center, pressing them down and repeating procedure until everything comes together in slightly sticky mass. Roll dough into ball and place on edge of work surface.
Cut off a small piece of dough, lightly flour work surface and roll dough into log shape about the thickness of a medium sized cigar. Cut 1 inch pieces off of log at slight angle. Drop pieces into pot of boiling salted water and cook about 1 ½ minutes. Remove from water and set aside. Repeat through rest of dough.
Put butter and sage in cold, non-stick skillet and turn flame to medium high. When butter has melted and is just beginning to brown, place warm gnocchi in skillet and toss gently with butter and sage about 1 minute. Toss in parmesan and serve immediately.
Sep 14, 2007
I don't think I would play around with turning a recipe dairy free for a dinner party...especially that one. You need butter to make that sauce.
If I was cooking for me and another person I would experiment but would be afraid to try something like that for a group.
I have had dairy free ravioli before (several varieties) and they just weren't that great, IMO.
What about a stuffing of some sort? I made a good one last year with apple cider and stale italian bread and all sorts of herbs...not even sure where I got the recipe.
If you look on Whole Foods web site I bet you could find some things:
Do you know what the hostess is making?


Jul 13, 2006
I agree with the above poster- especially for a dinner party, just make something that isn't supposed to have dairy. There are certainly plenty of yummy foods that don't require it.

you could make potato gnocchi in a tomato sauce for example.

If your really into the squash related idea I have a really good recipe for a pumpkin soup that has coconut milk and no dairy at all from what I can remember.


Sylvie Guillem fan
May 10, 2006
OMG !!! :nuts:

These are all TERRIFIC ideas!

You are right about the sage needing butter. I'll use a homemade chicken consomme instead. I forget that butter has lactose, too. I can be such a dork. (My gramma says dork - I think it's cute.)

Thanks for the tofu link! Going there next.

Bread stuffing would be the perfect substitution. It and the tofu ricotta with egg will give the recipe binding.

Pasta needs to be eaten immediately upon cooking (unless you make it into a cold salad) so I had already planned to use frozen croissant sheets as the "pillows."

You girls are psychic! I was thinking about butternut squash gnocchi! That holds up waaaay better than pasta so it doesn't have to be eaten immediately upon coming out of the water. Gnocchi is a heck of lot easier to make than my idea. Maybe I'll make an herb/tofu/bread/egg gnocchi cooked in sage/chicken/consomme and top it with a butternut squash sauce and some sage leaves! (Then I can use that great bnut soup in a box and cut the prep time down to zip!)

I think the hostess is doing a turkey / autumn menu thing. She loves super fresh produce. And, like me, she likes to surprise ppl so I know better than to ask. (Also I have had souffles turn into fritattas. kwim?) The bnut flavor and YOUR ideas will fit right in.

I've been experimenting on my friends for a long time and they welcome it. So thanks LOTS for your words of warning. If I were new to cooking I would agree with you all 500%.

tPF is the best and I :love: you!