However If You Want To Ditch The Dairy Vegan Cheese Is The Way To Go
Vegan cheese is created without the use of animal products. With people getting more and more conscious about the kind of food they eat and how it is sourced the vegan diet is on the rise.
The increased inclination of people towards a plant-based diet is also partly due to smart consumerism. Better late than never, people all across the world are realising and understanding their responsibilities as buyers. Its no wonder that the vegan diet has become an increasingly popular trend!
A vegan diet, like any other, provides you with the nutrition that a human body needs but is based on plants, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. In other words, there are no animal-based products such as meat, dairy, and eggs.
Initially, vegan products were only limited to certain items but as the market has expanded many new vegan food items have appeared. Among these is Vegan cheese.
Fast-forward to the present day and there are numerous high-quality substitutes for dairy cheese which are perfect for anyone who is on a vegan diet or simply wants to enjoy a delicious plant-based staple.
Why Would Anyone Eat Vegan Cheese
We have a confession to makewe love cheese. Unfortunately, traditional dairy-based cheeses cause a lot of unnecessary suffering for dairy cows and goats, and they can cause a lot of health complications in humans, too. Thats why we decided to ditch dairy-based cheeses for the often-misunderstood but oh-so-yummy world of vegan cheeses. If youre anything like we were, youre probably confused about just what vegan cheese is, where you can find it, how you can make it yourself, and if its as nasty as some people make it out to be . So we put together this guide for people like you who are considering adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle, even part-time.
Dairy Free Cream Cheese:
Again, for store bought options, Tofutti wins for taste. Im not arguing that these are the healthiest non-dairy alternatives you can find, Im simply speaking for flavor. Tofutti cream cheese, to my tongue, tastes nearly identical to dairy cream cheese. Follow Your Heart is again my second-place pick. You can also make your own delicious cream cheese with The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook, or try an online recipe: heres one for an easy cashew-based cream cheese.
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Why Make Your Own Vegan Cheese
- The cheeses that you buy at the store have sat on the shelf for a few weeks, they’re wrapped in plastic and have preservatives that change the flavor.
- You will not be able to buy vegan cheese that tastes this good in a store!
- It will save you a ton of money to make your own.
- And… once you make it, you will see how simple it is to make your own!
Whats Vegan Cheese Made From
If youre wondering exactly what makes up the glorious concoction that is vegan cheese, the answer is just about anything! So long as it doesnt stem from animals.
In lieu of dairy, vegan cheese is made from plant proteins. These include soy and nut milks and vegetable oils like coconut oil. Starchy flours like tapioca and arrowroot, as well as root vegetables like potatoes and carrots can also be turned into vegan cheese.
And, similarly to dairy-based cheese, plant-based cheese can come in many different varieties: in blocks, shreds, slices, grated, and as a dip. But, what are the best brands to shop for?
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Make Your Own Dairy Free Milk
Its incredibly easy, and in some cases more economical, to make your own plant-based milks. Yum Universe has an amazing guide to making over 20 different creamy, delicious plant-based milks Ive never seen so many different non-dairy milk recipes and tips in one place! Each recipe includes the flavor profile and nutritional benefits of the finished product. Ive made the almond, cashew, and hazelnut recipes from this guide and am happy to report that all are delicious. Im even happier to report that my favorite by far, the toasted hazelnut milk, is also the easiest no soaking required! An incredibly creamy, snowy-white non-dairy milk can be yours in minutes.
To get an idea of the basic steps involved in making your own non-dairy milks, check out this fun, 90 second tutorial:
Follow Your Heart Slices
Sliced cheese is an American staple, and you dont have to give it up if you decide to break up with cheese. The creators of the famous vegenaise also make fabulous dairy-free cheese in pre-sliced form. Were fans of the Provolone and Smoked Gouda slices in particular. Pile atop a veggie sandwich, stuff into gourmet grilled cheese, or stack slices on crackers or a savory afternoon snack. No matter how you eat it, its going to be gouda .
Best Cheddar: Field Roast Chao Creamy Original Chao Slices
Only comes in a large quantity online
You likely already know and love Field Roast for its vegan meat. Now, meet the brand’s vegan cheddar, made from coconut oil and fermented tofu. Reviewers love it, raving that it looks and smells like real dairy cheese and swapping their favorite ways to use it from patty melts to a good old-fashioned grilled cheese. For vegan cheddar that can take the place of the dairy stuff from your childhood in all the classic dishes, go with the Field Roast Chao Creamy Original Slices.
Base: Coconut oil | Labels: Non-GMO | Certifications: Vegan
Only comes in a large quantity online
If youre looking for a shortlist of ingredients, look elsewhere. If youre looking, though, for cheddar shreds that mimic exactly the beloved yellow cheddar of your childhood, congratulations! Youve found it. The Follow Your Heart Cheddar Shreds can be substituted wherever you need a properly melty vegan cheese situation. They are also great on something like taco dip or salads that need a kick of flavor.
Plus, you can feel good about the environmental impact of what youre eatingwhile palm oil is one of the ingredients, that palm fruit oil is sustainably grown and harvested from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms in South America .
Base: Palm oil | Labels: Soy-free* | Certifications: Vegan
Lots of comfort food potential
More processed than some of the other options
Only comes in a large quantity online
On the pricier side
Can be hard to find
On the pricier side
What Is Store Bought Vegan Cheese Made Of
Instead of using dairy in lieu of plant proteins, vegans make their cheese from those ingredients. Soy and sesame-based milk products and vegetable oils, such as coconut oil, fall into this category. A variety of starchy, plant-based foods, including flouries such as tapioca and arrowroot, as well as root vegetables can also benefit from the process.
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Wait A Secondwhy Are So Many Vegan Cheeses Made Of Nuts And Seeds
Soaked nuts and seeds such as cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds blend beautifully to create all sorts of creamy foods. If you blend them with lots of water, youll get nut milk. If you blend them with some liquid and flavorful ingredients and spices, you can make dressings and cheesy sauces. And with even less liquid and some fun techniques that youll find in vegan cheese recipes all across the web, you can get delicious vegan cheese.
Nuts and seeds naturally contain healthy fats. When blended with salt and flavorings, these wholesome ingredients can beautifully emulate the fattiness and creaminess of dairy cheese.
The Best Vegan Cheese Brands To Try
As with any burgeoning market, there are plenty of vegan cheese brands to choose from, with most having a particular line that has garnered loyal fans. One mans dreamy coconut milk-based cheddar is anothers worst nightmare, so the key is to try a few and use them in a variety of ways too. Dont forget that vegan cheese can now melt, stretch, and bake.
The following are brands that have made a name for themselves and brought out various products that have made even staunch dairy fans concede that they taste good:
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Is Vegan Cheese Healthier Than Regular Cheese
If youre avoiding regular cheese because of the saturated fat, you may not need to. Recent research shows cheese may actually be good for your health and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Vegan cheeses are typically lower in fat, protein and calcium than regular cheese and are likely gluten-free.
Does Vegan Cheese Taste Like Real Cheese
The big difference between real cheese and vegan cheese is the consolidated protein otherwise known as the curd. Real cheese goes through stages where the proteins physically bond to each other, which is why you can get so many different unique flavors and textures by aging the cheese.
Since vegan cheese doesnt experience any modification in proteins the way real cheese does, it may not deliver the same complex flavors that come from coagulated, acidified, pasteurized, and aged milk. But through the bacterial and aging process many vegan cheesemakers are now employing, there are some well-loved vegan cheeses that many say rival the taste and texture of dairy cheeses.
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Does Vegan Cheese Taste Like Cheese
The biggest thing you’ll notice with your dairy-free cheese is that it doesn’t melt quite the same. Don’t expect quite the same ooey-gooey experience when you top your pizza with vegan cheese. Keep in mind that all brands are different, so if you try one brand you don’t like, don’t give up on the rest. Vegan cheesemakers are coming up with new processes all the time that are making these cheeses taste even more like the traditional stuff.
What Do I Need To Make My Own Vegan Cheese
Whatever your skill level and however well your kitchen is equipped, theres a vegan cheese recipe out there for you.
However, we minimally recommend that anyone interested in a healthy plant-strong diet has the following in their kitchen.
Essential Kitchen Tools:
- A food processor and/or a high-powered blender for grinding nuts and seeds and blending the creamiest cheeses and cheesy sauces.
- A strainer and cheesecloth for draining your vegan cheese
- Nutritional yeast, which is a deactivated yeast with a nutty and cheesy flavor
- Miso paste, which can make your cheese taste more cheesy
- Salt and lemon, for saltiness and tartness, respectively
Needless to say, choosing dairy-free is easier today than it ever has been before. No longer does it require sacrifice. Enjoy the adventure, friends!
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Best For Italian Dishes
- Kite Hill Ricotta I crumble this vegan ricotta cheese liberally in lasagnas and often sprinkle it in salads. Its a cheese staple in my house.
- Miyokos MozzarellaI mentioned the Smoked VeganMozz above, but I had to also give a shout out to Miyokos traditional VeganMozz. I have used it to make marinated mozzarella balls, skewered with cherry tomatoes and basil for an elegant appetizer. It also slices beautifully for a traditional Caprese salad without the dairy and makes a delicious Caprese sandwich, fresh or grilled on a panini press. And of course, it works perfectly on homemade vegan pizza!
Everything You Need To Know About Vegan Cheese
Vegan cheesemakers are busy these days providing us with delicious concoctionsand new brands are popping up all over the place. The availability of new products, along with our favorite vegan cheese staples, makes it an exciting time for anyone looking to eat compassionately. Eating cheese made from cows milk contributes to a system in which mother cows are repeatedly sexually abused and their calves are taken away from them so that their milk can be stolen. Mother cows experience intense physical and emotional pain for the duration of their lives, only to be tossed aside when they become less productive for the people who profit from their milk.
When you choose vegan cheese, you use your power as a consumer to show that you wont support this cycle of pain. Vegan cheeses can be made from a variety of nuts, most commonly cashews, almonds, and macadamias. These plant-based sources contain healthy fats but no cholesterol, rennet, or any other gross ingredients found in cheese made from cows milk.
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Struggling To Give Up Cheese This Might Help
Want to eat plant-based but struggling to give cheese the boot? We hear you! Many of us at MamaSezz enjoyed a good cheese plate back in our Standard American Diet days. And we know first hand that its hard to give up .
Why is giving up cheese so difficult? It turns out, theres science at work here. Cheese is addictive.
Not to mention, dairy is not the health food we grew up believing it to be! Cheese and other dairy products are inflammatory and is linked to chronic inflammation which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, digestive issues , asthma, and more.
Even better news. There are some really delicious dairy-free cheese alternatives that fit better with your new healthy and plant-based lifestyle.
How To Eat Vegan Cheese
- You can have this vegan cheese as an appetizer or even a snack and serve it with tortilla chips, crudités, pita bread or whatever you want.
- Its also a good alternative to real cheese to make pizza, lasagna, or pretty much anything that is made with cheese. I also add it to my burgers sometimes instead of sliced cheese.
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What Is A Plant
A plant-based cheese substitute is really any product that you can use in place of cheese. It could be as simple as placing avocado on your sandwich instead of cream cheese, or sprinkling a plant-based seasoning or nutritional yeast on your pasta to replace parmesan, or it can be as complex as producing your own vegan or plant-based cheese.
One alternative, which you will come across in many recipes, is nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a non-living yeast which starts out the same as brewers or bakers yeast. It can be described as having a slightly salty and cheesy taste and it makes an excellent substitute for parmesan cheese. In addition, it contains no animal or dairy products, no wheat, starch, soy or corn, has low salt and contains no artificial colours or flavours, which makes it an ideal substitute for those with sensitivities as well as for those just wanting a plant-based cheese substitute.
As well as having an excellent cheesy taste though, nutritional yeast also harbours an impressive list of minerals and vitamins. It is high in B vitamins, and often Vitamin B12 is added to it, as this is not naturally present. It is also high in protein , and it is a complete protein which means it can add to your daily protein requirements. It also contains magnesium, copper and manganese and is high in dietary fibre. Nutritional Yeast is available at most major supermarket chains in Australia, but can also be obtained from health food stores, or online.
How Many Types Of Vegan Cheese Are There
As many as you can imagine. If you try to break dairy cheese down into groups, you might have hard and soft and then within those groups, an exponential number of varieties. Vegan cheese is no different. From standard cheddars to ricotta and everything in between, there is either a product or a recipe to try.
The alt-dairy industry as a whole is experiencing vast growth. Despite conventional dairy reporting a surge in sales in 2019, alternatives are being heralded as a major disruptor. Figures being floated include sector value projections of $32 billion within the next 10 years and vegan cheese is driving that forward. Its safe to say that there will be many more vegan cheese products being launched during that time.
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How To Make Your Own Vegan Cheese
Believe it or not, vegan cheese doesnt necessarily have to require such a complex processing method that can only be done in a factory. In fact, its far healthier if you make it yourself — because then you have total control over exactly what goes into it.
Here are a few delicious vegan cheese recipe ideas to get you started.
What Does Vegan Cheese Taste Like
As mentioned before, the increased demand and newer production techniques have allowed producers to create a cheese that is very similar to dairy cheese. While previously, vegans had to suffer from poor tasting, low-level imitations of cheese, now vegan cheese has evolved to such an extent that in some cases the taste is almost indiscernible.
There are many brands producing varied types and qualities of cheese, with their own unique taste but it is all about personal preference.
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What Is Vegan Cheddar
Vegan cheddar is a food that is designed to mimic real cheddar cheese in color, texture, and flavor. It may be made from a variety of different ingredients as long as none of these ingredients are derived from animals. Some of the most common ingredients in vegan cheddar are soy, oil, and grains. Fake cheeses such as this one are often used by people who do not want to eat animal products or who have food intolerances that prevent them from eating dairy.
Without the use of any dairy products, vegan cheddar relies on a number of different ingredients to make it look and taste like real cheddar. Soy and tofu, a soy product, are the most commonly used vegan cheese bases. The liquid in soy can be pressed out so that it takes on the texture of a firm cheese and other ingredients can be added to make the soy taste like cheddar cheese.
Alternatively, vegan cheddar may be made from a variety of oils. A binder, such as tapioca starch or arrowroot can be cooked into an oil so that it firms and mimics the texture of cheese. As with the use of soy-based vegan cheese, oil-based vegan cheese requires the addition of a number of different ingredients so that it will look and taste like cheddar cheese.