May 31, 2023
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Why Vegan Cheese?
In your local grocery store, you may have noticed that the prevalence of vegan cheese alternatives has grown substantially in recent years. Demand for vegan cheese has been on the rise for a variety of reasons; increased amounts of individuals with dairy allergies and lactose intolerance and individuals following a vegan diet. No matter the cause, the good news is that vegan cheeses are now plentiful at grocery stores, health food stores, and online for individuals who abstain from dairy consumption. Not only that, the quality of the products and similarity to dairy cheese has greatly improved too - meaning that nacho night, mac and cheese, and pizza parties can live on!
How is Vegan Cheese Made?
If you’re wondering what on earth vegan cheese is made of - you’re not alone. Vegan cheese is made differently depending on the recipe and company. Usually, it is created from some combination of soy, nuts, oats, nutritional yeast, and vegetable oils. Vegan cheesemaking uses some similar processes to traditional cheesemaking. However, because it does not contain casein, a dairy protein that gives traditional cheese its stretch, different methods of culturing are necessary.
Is Vegan Cheese Healthy?
Depending on your personal definition of healthy, vegan cheese can be seen from a variety of angles. Vegan cheese is highly processed, meaning that it often has high sodium content, depending on the brand. Looking at the ingredients of any cheese in particular can be telling of its general healthiness. For example, vegan cheeses made from cashews might be more nutritionally dense than vegan cheese from vegetable oils. Because vegan cheeses aren’t made from milk, they typically contain less calcium than traditional cheese unless they are fortified. Compared to dairy cheese, vegan cheese can often be much lower in saturated fat. Ultimately, while vegan cheese isn’t typically a “health food,” it provides some benefits in lieu of dairy cheese, depending on the brand and ingredients.
When to Use Vegan Cheese
So, when should you use vegan cheese? Simply use it anywhere you would use traditional dairy cheese! Varieties of vegan cheese can be found to be used in different recipes ranging from quesadillas to grilled cheese to lasagna and beyond.
Top Vegan Cheese Brands
Looking for the perfect vegan cheese for your next cheesy recipe? Look no further than these consumer-loved brands.
Kite Hill Vegan Cheese
Miyoko’s Creamery uses all-organic ingredients and time-honored cheesemaking techniques. They offer vegan cheese rounds in a variety of flavors, such as chive, garlic herb, European truffle, smoked gouda, and more. They also offer a plant-based mozzarella in a round and a pourable version (ideal for perfect pizzas).
Violife has an incredible range of vegan cheeses that are all incredibly delicious. Shreds, slices, blocks - you name it, Violife makes it! Some favorites include their colby jack style shreds, mature cheddar slices, feta blocks, and parmesan wedge.
Daiya is a veteran in the vegan cheese industry. They were one of the first to make it on grocery store shelves, and have remained a tried and true staple in the industry. Daiya boasts a selection of vegan cheese shreds, slices, sauce, blocks, and sticks. What more could a vegan cheese lover ask for? Some popular options include their Cheddar Style Cheeze Sticks, Provolone Style Slices, and Cheddar Style Shreds.
Forager is an organic company focused on doing good for the planet. They offer three different types of vegan cheese shreds; 3 Cheeze Blend, Queso Fresco, and Parmesan. They make it from their cashew-based yogurt, meaning it has a wonderful stretch and melt. A must-try for those who are environmentally conscious.
Follow Your Heart
Follow Your Heart has a bountiful spread of plant-based products including vegan cheeses. They offer shreds, slices, crumbles and blocks. Some Follow Your Heart fan favorites include their Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Grated Parmesan, and Finely Shredded Cheddar.
With so many vegan cheese options on the market to choose from, there are no excuses not to make your favorite cheesy dish plant-based!
Our Favorite Dishes Featuring Vegan Cheese
Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Grilled cheese is a no brainer. Even this cheesy delight can be made vegan. Check out this Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Minimalist Baker. It features an option to use store-bought vegan cheddar, or make your own!
Vegan Caprese Salad
This fresh, bright Vegan Caprese Salad by Heartful Table is perfect for the summer months ahead. It features acidic notes from the fresh tomatoes, complemented by olive oil, basil, and vegan mozzarella.
Vegan Charcuterie Board
We wouldn’t be Mmm…Boards if we didn’t mention charcuterie! Vegan charcuterie is both attainable and absolutely delicious. Check out our Vegan Charcuterie Blog for inspiration on what vegan substitutions to use to craft the board of your dreams!
All that said, vegan cheese is a wonderful substitute for traditional cheese. It can make all of your dairy-free dreams come true thanks to a huge spread of options available on the market. Tag us @mmmboards on Instagram and Facebook to show us how you’re using vegan cheese!