As an Italian food fanatic, there’s one ingredient that has always been my absolute weakness – melted mozzarella cheese. Oozing, stretchy mozz dripping off pizza, lasagna, and juicy meatball sandwiches makes my heart and stomach equally happy.
Or at least it used to. After going vegan, I thought those days of mozz bliss were behind me. Boy, was I wrong! It turns out there are some phenomenally delicious vegan mozzarella cheese options that come deliciously close to the real deal.
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After taste testing just about every dairy-free mozz on the market, I’ve become an expert on which melty, stringy kinds live up to the hype. In this cheesy guide, I’ll share my epic journey sampling all kinds of plant-based mozzarellas to find the best. Grab some pizza because we’re diving into the wonderful world of vegan mozz!
What Makes Mozzarella So Unique?
Before we get into the vegan versions, permit’s explore what makes regular mozzarella so unique. Here are some of its unique properties that the best vegan mozzarellas try to mimic:
- Irresistible melt – When heated, mozz becomes extremely soft and stretchy. This melt allows it to get wonderfully gooey.
- Mild, milky flavor – Fresh mozz has a very subtle, creamy taste. Aged mozz develops more tang and complexity.
- Bright, white appearance – Quality mozzarella has a pure white color rather than yellow.
- High moisture content – The high moisture is why it melts so well. Most is 80% water.
- Soft, flexible texture – Even when cooled, fresh mozz has an irresistibly soft, pliable texture.
- Ability to strand when stretched – When melted, mozz strings apart into long delicious stretches rather than clumping.
Those traits are what make mozzarella best for dishes like pizza, lasagna, caprese salad, and greater. Finding plant-based totally cheeses that may acquire comparable trends has been a game-changer for vegan recipes!
What’s Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Made Of?
Traditional mozzarella requires cow or buffalo milk, rennet, and bacteria cultures. So how do you make mozz without dairy? Here are the main ingredients used:
- Plant-based milks like soy, almond, or coconut for the base
- Starches like tapioca or arrowroot to improve melt
- Natural lactic acid for tangy flavor
- Nutritional yeast for savory “cheese” notes
- Natural gums and vegan rennet for stretch and texture
- Cultures and probiotics for complexity
- Extra virgin olive oil or coconut for rich creaminess
- Sea salt and herbs for seasoning
With the right blend of those plant-based ingredients, the results can impressively mimic the taste, texture, and melt of dairy mozzarella – without the cholesterol or cruelty. It’s mozz magic!
My Favorite Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Brands
Now for the really fun part – talking about specific brands! I’m sharing my personal top picks for vegan mozzarella greatness:
Miyoko’s Fresh Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
Hands down, Miyoko’s makes the absolute best fresh vegan mozzarella you can buy. Their hand-stretched fresh mozz balls are incredible. The texture mimics delicious tangy Italian buffalo mozz. It melts, stretches, and bubbles up just like the real deal. I like to slice it raw on salads and caprese too. This is the #1!
Miyoko’s Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Shreds
In addition to their fresh mozz, Miyoko’s also makes phenomenal shreds specifically formulated for melty pizza, lasagnas, and bakes. They go on creamy and melt into perfect gooey deliciousness. Next pizza night, make it Miyoko’s!
Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Shreds
For a more budget-friendly shredded mozz option, Daiya is a great choice that I always keep stocked. Their shreds melt beautifully into a satisfying stretchy texture. I love these homemade pizzas and flatbreads for weeknight dinners.
Follow Your Heart Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Shreds
Another tasty affordable shredded mozz is Follow Your Heart. These work great for quick veggie melts, easy bakes like mozzarella sticks, or sprinkled on pasta. I usually can find them on sale at my grocery store too.
Kite Hill Artisan Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
For a fresher soft mozz option, Kite Hill makes a fantastic almond milk artisan mozzarella. It has such a creamy, spreadable texture that’s amazing sliced on crackers or bread. I also like dicing and adding it to salads.
Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds Cheese
Violife is best known for parm, but don’t overlook their Just Like Mozzarella shreds. These make dairy-free pizza prep a breeze. They stretch nicely when melted and lightly browned.
Treeline Creamy Cashew Mozzarella
For a thinner, creamier soft cheese, Treeline does an incredible aged cashew mozzarella. It spreads smoothly and adds such a delicious punch of flavor. I love it as a sandwich spread or whipped into veggie dips.
Those are my personal top picks, but there are tons more artisan nut-based mozzarellas worth trying too from brands like Nuts for Cheese, Good Planet, and Parmela. The options keep getting better for us dairy-free foodies!
Hack the Perfect Melt Every Time
Getting that satisfying ooey gooey melt can take a little practice with vegan mozz. After some trial runs, I’ve dialed in how to achieve pizza and baked dish perfection:
- Use a blend – Mixing shreds and fresh mozz gives you ideal melt, bubbles, and stretch.
- Grate it fine – Grate block mozz into thin shreds so it melts faster. A microplane works great.
- Preheat and toast – Letting the cheese warm up first helps it melt smoothly. Lightly browning it boosts flavor.
- Add a touch of oil – A light mist or drizzle of olive oil prevents sticking and aids melt.
- Cover while cooking – Trapping steam helps shreds or slices melt fully without drying out.
- Sprinkle and layer shreds – Evenly distributing shreds instead of clumping prevents gaps in coverage.
With those pro tips, your vegan pizzas, lasagnas, and bakes will impress even the biggest dairy cheese devotees. Now let’s drool over some insanely delicious vegan mozz recipes!
Epic Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Recipes to Try
Baked Ziti with Miyoko’s Mozzarella – Creamy ziti baked with Miyoko’s fresh and shredded mozz is pure Italian food heaven. The two mozz textures create an epic cheese pull!
Lasagna Rolls with Spinach and Daiya – Cheesy lasagna tastes even better in cute roll form. Daiya’s shreds give the perfect amount of decadent melt.
Caprese Salad with Burrata Style Mozzarella – Recreate the classic with fresh tomatoes, basil, and dreamy dairy-free burrata-style mozzarella balls.
Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Crust Pizza – Next level pizza deliciousness with spicy Jalapeño popper filling in the crust and melty Follow Your Heart mozz on top.
Eggplant Parmesan with Smoked Mozz – For the ultimate vegan parm, breaded eggplant stacks are layered with tomato sauce, basil, and smoky mozzarella.
Crispy Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara – These crunchy battered and baked sticks encase ooey gooey melted Violife mozz. Perfect with warm marinara for dipping!
Veggie Fajita Flatbreads with Pepita Queso – Sizzling onions, peppers, and mushrooms topped with creamy cashew pepita queso and Treeline mozzarella.
Those recipes all showcase how insanely versatile vegan mozzarella cheese may be. You can literally enjoy melty cheesy goodness in so many dishes. And don’t get me started on all the dessert options – hello vegan mozzarella cheese ice cream?!
The Takeaways on Fantastic Vegan Mozzarella Cheese:
While no vegan cheese is an exact reproduction of dairy, the right brands and recipes come amazingly near. With a little trial and mistakes, you could revel in show-stopping vegan mozzarella! Here are the important thing points:
1. Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Has Come a Long Way: Gone are the days of bland, rubbery vegan cheeses. Today, we’ve got alternatives that may surely satisfy your cheese cravings.
2. Diverse Brands Offer Quality Choices: From Miyoko’s creamy fresh mozzarella to Daiya’s finances-pleasant shreds, there is a vegan mozzarella for every flavor and budget.
3. Experiment and Mix: Don’t be afraid to mixture one-of-a-kind sorts of vegan mozzarella for the precise melt and taste in your recipes. 4. It’s Versatile: Vegan mozzarella cheese is enormously flexible, whether you’re making pizza, lasagna, caprese salad, or maybe dessert.
5. Keep Exploring: The global of vegan cheese keeps to conform, so preserve exploring new manufacturers and recipes to discover your private favorites.
With the proper vegan mozzarella to your kitchen and a few cooking guidelines, you can revel in all your favourite cheesy dishes while embracing a cruelty-unfastened and dairy-unfastened way of life. So, move ahead, melt away, and have fun with each bite of vegan mozz bliss!