Vegan cheese has become increasingly popular over the past few years. It’s not just for vegans anymore; even meat lovers are trying it out. But what exactly is vegan cheese? And why do we care?
There are many types of cheese available today. Some are made from soy milk, others from almond milk, and others from coconut oil. They range in flavor from mild to strong, and they can be used as substitutes for dairy cheese.
> Read more: Is cheese vegan?
But what makes these products unique? Why should you try them instead of regular dairy cheese? In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about vegan cheese, including how it’s made, and where to find it.
What is vegan cheese made of?
Vegan cheese is typically made from plant-based ingredients such as soy, nuts (such as cashews), and vegetables (such as carrots or potatoes). Most of the time, the ingredients are mixed together and then left to ferment to give the cheese its taste and texture. Some plant-based cheeses are also made with vegan-friendly binding agents such as tapioca or agar agar to help give the cheese its desired consistency. These ingredients are usually combined in a blender or food processor before being poured into molds and allowed to ferment.
Do vegan cheeses taste like cheese?
The taste of vegan cheese can vary depending on the type and brand. Some vegan cheeses are designed to closely mimic the taste and texture of traditional dairy-based cheese, while others may have a more distinct flavor. In general, however, many people find that dairy-free cheese does not taste exactly like traditional cheese, but can still be a tasty and satisfying alternative.
Is vegan cheese healthy?
Vegan cheese’s healthiness is determined by a number of factors, including the ingredients used to make it and how it is consumed. Some vegan cheeses can be a good source of plant-based protein and other nutrients and can be a healthy alternative to traditional cheese for people who are lactose intolerant or following a vegan diet. However, like any food, it is important to read the label and choose wisely, as some vegan cheeses can be high in sodium, fat, and calories. As with any food, it is important to enjoy vegan cheese in moderation as part of a well-rounded, healthy diet.
Types of Vegan Cheese
There are many different types of vegan cheese available on the market today. Some common types include:
- Nut-based: These cheeses are made from nuts such as cashews, almonds, or macadamia nuts, and are typically high in protein and healthy fats.
- Soy-based: These cheeses are made from soy milk or tofu, and are a good source of plant-based protein.
- Coconut-based: These cheeses are made from coconut milk, and add a creamy flavor. Perfect if you are into creamy cheese.
- Vegetable-based: These cheeses are made from vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, and can be a good source of vitamins and minerals.
- Store-bought: Many grocery stores and health food stores now carry a variety of vegan cheeses that are pre-made and ready to eat. These can come in a range of flavors and textures, and can be a convenient option for people who want to enjoy vegan cheese without making it at home.
Where to Buy Vegan Cheese?
Vegan cheese can be found at many grocery stores, health food stores, and specialty vegan markets. Some popular grocery store chains that carry vegan cheese include Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway. Many local health food stores and co-ops also carry a variety of vegan cheeses, as do many vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes. Additionally, vegan cheese can also be purchased online from a variety of retailers.
8 Best Vegan Cheese Brands
There are many vegan cheese brands available, but not all of them taste great. Some are bland, others are too salty, and some just aren’t very tasty.
I’m going to share with you my top 8 favorite vegan cheeses. These are the ones that I’ve tried and loved, and I hope you will too!
1. Follow Your Heart
Follow Your Heart makes several varieties of vegan cheese including vegan mozzarella, cheddar, provolone. And probably my favourite ones are the specialty cheese products they offer, such as the Blue Cheese and Feta crumbles or their dairy-free Parmesan.
2. Miyoko’s Creamery
Miyoko’s Creamery makes delicious vegan cream cheese spreads, which can be described as “creamy, tangy, spreadable.” On top of that they offer many different cheese options as well as vegan butter!
3. So Delicious
So Delicious makes several different kinds of vegan cheese, from shredded cheese to cream cheese spreads. They offers many vegan versions of cheese.
4. Chao by Field Roast
Chao is the cheese line of Field Roast. It offers dairy-free cheese with a coconut oil and fermented tofu base. Definitely one to try out! Their dairy-free versions of some regulars are top notch
Daiya offers tons of plant-based cheese options. Don’t miss out on their vegan Mac & Cheese. Their smoked gouda or the Jalapeño Havarti Flavour Block is definitely a killer. Their cheese is dairy, soy and gluten free. And GMO free.
Violife makes several varieties of vegan cheddar cheese, including regular cheddar cheese, mature cheddar cheese, and vegan mozzarella. They use coconut oil and their products come with B12.
7. GOOD PLANeT
GOOD PLANeT makes several varieties of cheese. Whether you want it in shreds, in slices or in snackable wedges, they have what you are looking for! Tastes like real cheese.
Loca makes several varieties of vegan Mexican style cheeses. Their queso is potatoe-based.
How to make vegan cheese at home
To make vegan cheese at home, you will need a few basic ingredients such as nuts, soy milk (or your favourite plant-based milk), or vegetables, as well as some seasonings and binding agents. Here is a simple vegan cheese recipe to get you started:
- 1 cup of raw cashews or almonds, soaked in water for at least 2 hours
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened soy milk or almond milk
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch or cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
- Drain the soaked nuts and place them in a food processor or high-speed blender.
- Add the soy milk, nutritional yeast, tapioca starch, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder to the food processor, and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the cheese mixture to a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cheese starts to thicken and become gooey. If needed you can add a bit of water to get the texture you want. It depends on the style you are looking for.
- Once the cheese has reached your desired consistency, transfer it to a covered container and let it cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Once the cheese has cooled and set, you can slice, shred, or spread it as desired. Enjoy your homemade vegan cheese on crackers, sandwiches, or as a dip for veggies or chips.
Note: You can easily make this recipe your own by adding your favorite herbs or spices, like Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, or fresh herbs. You can also experiment with different types of nuts or non-dairy milks to find the cheesy flavor and texture that you like best. Lemon juice and yeast extracts are common ingredients used to help improve the taste.
Is vegan cheese actually cheese?
Vegan cheese is a plant-based product that is designed to mimic the taste and texture of dairy cheese, but it does not contain any animal-derived ingredients such as milk or milk proteins. So, according to the traditional definition of cheese as a dairy product, it is not technically cheese.
Is vegan cheese healthy for you?
The ingredients and production methods used to make plant-based cheese affect how healthy it is. Some vegan cheeses are made with whole, nutrient-rich ingredients such as nuts and seeds, and can be a good source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. Other vegan cheeses may be processed and made with artificial additives and preservatives, which can make them less healthy. It is important to read labels and choose vegan cheese products that are made with whole, natural ingredients for the best health benefits.
Does vegan cheese taste nice?
The taste of vegan cheese can vary greatly depending on the specific brand and type of cheese. Some vegan cheeses are designed to mimic the taste of traditional dairy cheese, while others have a unique flavor profile. In general, vegan cheese can be delicious and satisfying, but it may not taste exactly like traditional dairy cheese. It is important to try a variety of vegan cheese products to find the ones that best suit your personal taste preferences.
Does vegan cheese melt well?
The melting properties of vegan cheese can vary depending on the specific brand and type of cheese. Some vegan cheeses are formulated to melt and stretch in a similar way to traditional dairy cheese, while others may not melt as well. In general, vegan cheese made with plant-based oils and starches can melt and stretch well, while vegan cheeses made with nuts or other solid ingredients may not melt as smoothly. It is important to try a variety of vegan cheese products to find the ones that work best for your specific recipe or application.
In conclusion, vegan cheese has become increasingly popular over the past decade. While it doesn’t taste exactly like dairy cheese, it does provide a similar texture and consistency. In fact, it’s often used as a substitute for regular cheese in recipes because it works so well.
While it’s true that vegan cheese won’t melt in the same way as traditional cheese, it’s still possible to use it in dishes where melting is required. For example, you can use it instead of cheddar in macaroni and cheese, or sprinkle it on top of pizza crusts.
The best part is that it’s completely free from animal products, which means that it’s cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. So whether you’re trying to cut down on meat consumption or you want to help save animals, vegan cheese is definitely a step in the right direction!