Friday, 19 August 2011 01:37

Ultimate Guide to Vegan Cheese Alternatives

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There are so many non-dairy cheeses on the market these days that there's now something for every craving and occasion. When I first went vegan there were barely any options, and now I can't keep track of all of them! Each brand is a little different from the rest, so there's a lot of variety based on your palette and dietary preferences. Don't turn away from these if you're not vegan - many of these are fantastic even if you're used to eating "real cheese" all the time!

 
These are the best vegan cheeses in my opinion, ranked in order of my favorites. If I've left anything out, let me know! 
  • Miyoko's Kitchenif you're looking for a gourmet vegan cheese that looks like it's made from dairy and is great on crackers, this is the one! There are many flavors and several textures to choose from, each unique and delicious.

  • Treeline: my second favorite vegan cheese for crackers. They make both soft and firm cheeses.
  • Punk Rawk Labs: this raw cheese is fantastic. Made with either a cashew or macadamia nut base. So delicious spread on crackers.

  • Parmela: this company launched with their fantastic soy-free parmesan cheese alternative and has branched out to soft cashew cheese (ala Punk Rawk and Nary Dairy). In 2014 they introduced gourmet-style cheeses with alternatives to brie and goat cheese that are absolutely fantastic.

  • Daiya: soy-free & gluten-free - this has been one of my favorite cheeses for years. I love the way it melts, so it's especially great for pizza, macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, grilled cheese, etc. I also love the people behind the brand. 

  • Cashew Cheese (homemade): soy-free & gluten-free - there are endless ways to make your own cashew cheese, just do a recipe search online. The great thing about it is that you can adapt it to pretty much any diet, even if you're eating raw, or low in salt or oil. In fact, you can make cheese out of almost any nuts, including macadamia, almond, hazelnut, and brazil nut. One of my favorite recipes is this Way Better Baked Mac 'n' "Cheese".

  • Kite Hill: made by celebrated restaurant chef Tal Ronnen, this gourmet almond cheese is incredibly similar to traditional dairy-based cheese in terms of taste, texture and appearance. If you've been looking for a plant-based alternative to brie, this is a great place to start. 

  • We Can't Say It's Cheesesoy-free & gluten-free - My favorite is the hickory-smoked cheddar with Mary's Gone Crackers - a whole tub will be gone before I know it. Also great in sandwiches and mac & cheese.

  • Parma!organic, raw, soy-free & gluten-free - delicious parmesan alternative - great on salads, soups, and pasta. In fact, super easy to make yourself since it's mainly nutritional yeast and walnuts. Their cayenne chipotle flavor is my fav.

  • Teese: Their cheese melts really well and the people behind it are really, really nice. It is especially great on nachos, like this mind-blowing recipe from chef Jason Wrobel: Supreme Vegan Nachos.

  • Dr. Coworganic, raw, soy-free & gluten-free - it has a gourmet texture and taste - creamy and somewhat tangy/sour. Reminiscent of goat cheese. 

  • Nary Dairy: Similar to Dr. Cow and Punk Rawk Labs, this creamy cashew cheese is local to the Los Angeles area. 

  • Heidi Ho: a variety of yummy hazelnut based, soy & gluten-free cheeses including sauces, feta-like crumbles, chevre/goat cheese, gouda and monterey jack.

  • Sunergia: vegan blue cheese & feta - enough said. They may be soy based, but I'm willing to ignore that every once in a while to get my blue cheese fix.

  • Ste Martaensoy-free & gluten-free - I like these cheeses because of their flavors: Colby, Smoked Gouda, Pepper Jack. Muenster, & Olive. They're really good on crackers due to their dense texture.

  • Follow Your Heart: the texture and taste isn't very cheese-like, but it grew on me after being the only decent vegan cheese on the market until Daiya came along. I avoid it now because of soy, but I do like the taste. Many vegans are very faithful to this long-standing brand.

  • Cheezly: good melted, especially on pizza, though I don't like it as much as Daiya...however, the bacon and gouda styles are pretty exciting options. Owned by Heather Mills.

  • Sheese: these cheese is nice on crackers, but it has a bit of a funny soy aftertaste in my opinion. However, I love that there are so many traditional cheese flavors, like smoked cheddar. 

  • Go Veggie: used to go by the brand name Galaxy Foods and has improved their offerings over the years. They make convenient sliced cheeses, shreds and delicous cream cheeses. Beware: not all of their dairy-free cheeses are vegan - look for their purple packaging. 

  • Tofutti: is one of the oldest dairy-free brands, but it doesn't seem like they've been working on their recipes because they have that old school soy taste. However their vegan cream cheese and sour cream are great when you need them for recipes (and don't mind some soy).

If you want to try something off this list, note that some cheeses are marketed as milk-free but still have dairy products in them like casein.

Read 35294 times Last modified on Friday, 26 December 2014 20:33