If you had told me a year ago that I’d someday become obsessed with cheese, I would have laughed in your face. As a lifelong vegan cheese fiend, I thought giving up dairy meant kissing cheese goodbye forever. But while my medical doctor counseled I strive going vegan to help manage my ldl cholesterol, I knew I needed to find a way to hold cheese in my lifestyles.
And let me tell you, after some trial and error, I was shocked by all the insanely delicious cheese options out there now. I went from skeptical to full-on cheese fanatic! In this put up, I’ll proportion my adventure sampling all types of dairy-free cheesy goodness. I’ll also give you the last amateur’s manual to varieties of cheese, top brands, in which to shop for it, a way to cook dinner with it, and a number of my favourite melty, stretchy recipes. Grab some vegan crackers or bread because we’re about to have some serious cheesy fun!
Table of Contents
The Most Popular Types of Vegan Cheese
In my exploration of the outstanding global of cheese, I’ve attempted all sorts of varieties. Vegan Cheddar – This is often the first vegan cheese people try since cheddar is so ubiquitous. It comes in mild to super sharp flavors. The best brands melt smoothly in grilled cheese or mac and cheese. Pro tip: Let it brown slightly for extra flavor!
Vegan Mozzarella Cheese – For pizza and other baked dishes, melty vegan mozz is a must-have. It stretches when melted and gets that nice golden brown crust. I like using “mozzerella” shreds or fresh mozzarella balls.
Vegan Parmesan – Vegan parm offers that hard, salty punch for pastas, salads, and more. It’s less melty but packs a ton of flavor. A quality one can make veggie dishes more crave-worthy.
Vegan Cream Cheese – Bagels just aren’t the same without a schmear! Vegan cream cheese comes in plain and flavored versions. Whipped and soft are great for spreading; firmer blocks hold their shape better.
Vegan Slices Cheese – Like their dairy counterparts, vegan cheese slices are individually wrapped for sandwiches and burgers. They melt nicely and come in Cheddar, Swiss, Pepper Jack and more.
Vegan Cheese – Blocks give you the experience of slicing your own cheese for charcuterie boards or cheese platters. Flavors like smoked gouda and brie are divine!
Vegan Cheese Wheels – For a show-stopping gift or dinner party centerpiece, you can’t beat a whole vegan cheese wheel. Available in blue cheese, camembert, and more – just avoid obvious splurges like $900 24k gold versions!
This is just a taste – there are SO many varieties of vegan cheese out there now. From queso fresco to halloumi, the options are endless once you start exploring dairy-free alternatives.
The Best Vegan Cheese Brands
Browsing the vegan cheese section at my grocery store and on Amazon quickly became an addiction. Here are some of the very best brands I’ve tried:
Miyoko’s – Hands down, Miyoko’s is my #1 favorite vegan cheese brand. Miyoko Schinner is like the goddess of dairy-free cheese! Their phenomenal cheeses range from melty mozzarella to their award-winning cultured vegan butter.
Kite Hill – For incredible cream cheese, indulgent ricotta, and wheel cheeses, Kite Hill is a must-try. Their soft fresh original almond milk cream cheese even fooled my devout dairy-loving dad.
Daiya – Known for their shreds, Daiya makes some of the most melty, stretchy vegan mozzarella and cheddar. Their blocks and slices are great too. I always keep their shredded cheddar in my fridge.
Chao – For a sliceable, sandwich-perfect vegan cheese, Chao is the winner. Their tomato cayenne and creamy original slices taste and melt wonderfully.
Violife – If you’re looking for epic vegan Parmesan, Violife is my #1 choice. Their Just Like Parmesan and Parmish flavors are cheesy perfection.
So Delicious – Their shreds and slices are great go-to options. I especially love So Delicious’s vegan cheddar and pepper jack for Tex-Mex dishes.
Field Roast – Their Chao cheese is incredible, but don’t sleep on Field Roast’s blocks and wheels! Their smoked tomato cheddar and double cream chive are sublime.
Go Veggie – For a very budget-friendly option, Go Veggie makes great shreds, slices, cream cheese, and even vegan feta. It’s an lower priced manner to check flavors and discover your faves. There are such a lot of more high-quality vegan cheese manufacturers, like Treeline, Parmela, and Nuts for Cheese. Part of the fun is sampling special ones to discover your personal holy grails!
How Vegan Cheese Is Made
One thing that fascinated me was learning how plant-based cheeses can mimic the taste, melt, and texture of dairy cheese so convincingly. Here’s a quick look at the science behind it:
- Plant milks like almond, soy, and coconut form the base, replacing animal milk.
- Starches and nuts like arrowroot, tapioca, and cashews provide stretch and creaminess when blended.
- Natural acids like lactic acid and citric acid give tanginess.
- Cultures and probiotics ferment the proteins, creating complex flavors.
- Coconut or vegetable-based fats ensure a rich, creamy mouthfeel.
- Nutritional yeast adds savory, “cheesy” flavor and color.
- Natural vegan rennet made from plants helps the cheese coagulate and firm up.
- Salt and seasonings like garlic, chives, and paprika round out the flavor.
It’s notable how soy, nuts, and plant components can create such complicated, practical this cheeses through present day meals technological know-how. The tastes and textures artisan vegan cheesemakers are achieving now blow my mind!
Insane Vegan Cheese Recipes to Try
Now for the really fun part – eating vegan cheese! Here are some drool-worthy recipes I’ve loved that truly highlight how melty and delicious dairy-free cheese can be:
- Loaded Vegan Nacho Queso Dip – Ooey gooey vegan cheesy dip is total comfort food. Daiya cheddar shreds give this zesty queso incredible melt and flavor. Dip in tortilla chips, sweet potato fries, or roasted cauliflower.
- Easy Vegan Pizza with Miyoko’s Fresh Mozz – Making your own pizza with pillowy homemade dough and Miyoko’s incredible fresh dairy-free mozzarella takes it to the next level. So much tastier than delivery!
- Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda – Smoked gouda gives this classic comfort dish a sophisticated depth. Tossing the pasta in a creamy sauce makes the vegan cheese melt into every bite.
- Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup Shooters – A fancy spin on grilled cheese and soup! Use your favorite melty cheese between crusty artisan bread with flavorful quick tomato bisque shooters for dunking.
- Caprese Salad with Fresh Mozzarella – Traditional caprese salad with fresh tomato, basil, and balsamic is even better with soft melty vegan mozzarella balls. It makes for an first rate appetizer or summer time dinner.
There are SO many extraordinary recipes to try after you dive into cooking with vegan cheese.. Tacos, enchiladas, burgers, sandwiches, pastas – the possibilities are truly endless. Get creative!
Where to Buy Vegan Cheese
When I first went shopping specifically for vegan cheese, I’ll admit I was overwhelmed. But now I have my go-to stores that make it easy. Here are some great places to buy cheese:
- Major grocery store chains – Nearly all major grocers have expanded their vegan cheese selections, especially in the refrigerator case. Stores like Kroger, Safeway, Publix, and Albertsons carry tons of popular brands.
- Whole Foods/Sprouts/Earth Fare – For more artisan and gourmet varieties, health food stores like these have huge inventories of this cheese. It can be pricier but worth it for specialty kinds.
- Trader Joe’s – My favorite place for affordability and fun new flavors! TJ’s vegan cheese section keeps expanding. Their unexpected Sharp Cheddar Sheese and Chili-Lime Almond Dip are so good.
- Online stores – Vitacost, Thrive Market, Vegan Essentials, and Amazon carry a ton of vegan cheese options you can order online if you can’t find them locally.
In conclusion, vegan cheese has come an extended way in phrases of flavor, texture, and range. It gives a cruelty-loose and sustainable alternative to standard dairy cheese. While it may no longer be an precise replica, many vegan cheese alternatives provide a satisfying and delicious enjoy for those trying to avoid animal merchandise. As extra improvements and upgrades keep to emerge within the international of plant-based cheese, it’s an exciting time for each vegans and those curious to explore dairy-free alternatives.