Have you seen the classic recipe for bariatric ricotta bake? Maybe you’ve been wondering how you can make a vegan version of the bariatric ricotta bake.
Even if you’re not sure how to prepare tofu, give this recipe a try. I promise, it doesn’t taste like tofu!
Nutritional Benefits of the Vegan Bariatric Ricotta Bake
The vegan bariatric ricotta bake includes 9 g of protein per serving. It is important for you to get enough protein each day, especially in the early days after bariatric surgery to help you maintain your lean muscle mass as you lose weight.
Low in Carbohydrates
If you’re concerned about the amount of carbohydrates in the food that you eat, tofu is one of the lower carbohydrate options when it comes to vegan foods that are more concentrated in protein.
It is important to note that there’s not an exact amount of carbohydrates that you need to restrict yourself to after bariatric surgery to be successful. Either way, I do see the question about which vegan protein foods are lowest in carbs often so I wanted to make a note of it here.
Most vegan protein foods include fiber, whereas meat and other animal products do not contain fiber. This is important because most people don’t get enough fiber each day after bariatric surgery.
In general, the more firm a tofu is, the more fiber it contains. Even though this recipe is made with soft tofu, it still provides a little fiber in each serving.
Source of Calcium
Tofu that has been set with calcium can help contribute some of your total calcium needs in a day. This recipe, for example, provides about 50 mg of calcium per serving.
To put this in perspective, most people need 1200-1500 mg of calcium per day from food and supplements combined after sleeve gastrectomy and roux-en-y gastric bypass. For the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch this goes up to 1800-2400 mg of calcium per day from food and supplements.
You can see that supplements are required for you to be able to meet your calcium needs after bariatric surgery, but food can help reduce the number of calcium supplements you need to take each day.
Ingredients You Need to Make a Vegan Bariatric Ricotta Bake
I used soft tofu in this recipe to mimic the creamy texture of ricotta cheese. After blending it retains the thick, creamy texture of ricotta cheese and thickens up a bit as it bakes.
Miso is the perfect addition to a vegan cheese recipe. It adds a salty, umami flavor that just can’t be beat. I used white miso in this recipe-it is more mild than red miso.
Garlic powder adds just the right amount of garlicky goodness to this recipe. If you want to use raw garlic, I recommend sauteeing it first as it can be kind of strong when you add it raw.
You can use either fresh or bottled lemon juice in this recipe. I always have bottled lemon juice around, so that is what I use most often. It adds tartness and acidity to the ricotta bake.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I add extra virgin olive oil to the recipe to make it more creamy and rich. It also adds heart healthy fats to support healthy blood cholesterol levels.
You can leave the Italian seasoning out of this recipe as this isn’t in a traditional ricotta bake. But, I think it adds a little something extra that makes this vegan bariatric ricotta bake something special.
Nutritional yeast (or nooch) is the quintessential vegan food to add that cheesy flavor, b-vitamins, and protein to any recipe. Adding it here really makes sense to increase that cheesy flavor even further.
I recommend that you add the salt to the tofu mixture last, after tasting it. Depending on your individual taste preferences, you may find that you don’t need to add any salt. Or, you may want to add some salt.
You should choose a smooth marinara sauce if you are still in the pureed diet stage. Otherwise, if you’re on the soft stage or further, you could choose a marinara sauce that has some vegetable chunks in it. You can use whatever type of marinara sauce is your favorite; I like the Kirkland brand one at Costco.
Kitchen Equipment You Need to Make a Vegan Bariatric Ricotta Bake
You need measuring spoons to measure out the spices, oil, miso, and nutritional yeast in the recipe.
A food processor is necessary to blend the tofu with the other ingredients into the tofu ricotta. You could also use a blender if you don’t have a food processor.
Ramekins or Small Glass Dishes
Dishes that accommodate about ¾ of a cup are large enough for these vegan bariatric ricotta bakes. A muffin tin would also work if you don’t have any glass baking dishes that are small enough.
A spatula is more helpful than using a spoon to get the ricotta bake out of the food processor and into the ramekins.
The oven is necessary for baking the bariatric ricotta bake. You could also use a toaster oven, but I would recommend keeping an eye on it as they sometimes cook faster.
How to Make a Vegan Bariatric Ricotta Bake
Step 1: Assemble Ingredients
Step 2: Blend the Tofu Mixture
Add the soft tofu, miso, garlic powder, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and Italian seasoning to a food processor. Blend until it is smooth.
Step 3: Make it Noochy
Dump in the nutritional yeast and blend again. Taste the tofu ricotta and add the salt if it doesn’t taste salty enough. Blend again until smooth.
Step 4: Assemble and Bake
Spray 4 small glass dishes or ramekins with oil. Evenly divide the tofu mixture into the 4 ramekins. Top with the marinara sauce and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5: Enjoy
Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before enjoying.
What if I Don’t Have Nutritional Yeast?
If you don’t have nutritional yeast, there isn’t really a great substitute for it. I would recommend that you try to find it.
Nutritional yeast has quite a long shelf life and you can easily order it online at Vegan Essentials or Amazon. Once you get it, you will probably find many other uses for it.
Can I Make This Recipe With Other Types of Tofu?
I have not yet tried making this recipe with other types of tofu, but you could probably use medium firm tofu. Firm or extra firm tofu might be too crumbly.
If you want to try silken tofu, I would recommend the firm or extra firm variety. The soft version of silken tofu would probably come out as a pudding texture.
Bariatric Ricotta Bake (this one’s vegan)
- Measuring Spoons
- food processor
- 4 ramekins
- 14 oz soft tofu 1 block
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp marinara sauce smooth or pureed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Blend the tofu in a food processor with the miso, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil until it is smooth.
- Add the nutritional yeast. Blend until incorporated. Taste for salt. Add the salt if you think the flavor needs it. Blend again if you added the salt.
- Spray 4 small cups or ramekins with oil. Evenly distribute the tofu mixture. Top with marinara.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cook 5 minutes before digging in!
- If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you can try it without, but you should know that it won’t be as cheesy and will have less protein.
- You can try this recipe with different textures of tofu, firm tofu may make the recipe more crumbly and silken tofu may make the recipe more like a pudding.
- This recipe works great for the pureed diet stage, but is delicious enough to keep eating it even after you’re done with being required to eat pureed food!
Let Me Know If You Tried It
Ashley Krautkramer, RD, CSOWM, CD, CDCES is a vegan and bariatric nutrition expert with more than six years of experience. She is a board certified specialist in obesity and weight management.