All you need to know about vegan cheese
One of the many questions vegans get asked is, “what about the dairy; the milk, the cheese, the butter, the eggs?”. For a while now there have been many vegan cheese alternatives to traditional cow’s milk in the form of soy, almond, cashew and other milks. But getting something to replace cheese in both consistency and flavour has proven difficult.
However, this is quickly changing! Vegan cheese brands are popping up everywhere. Not just powdery parmesan, but full-flavoured, well-textured cheese which is able to fool any dairy eater.
Shredded & Grated Vegan Cheese- (Various) Italian Style Grated (142g) by Follow Your Heart
- Creamy Cheese (120g) Classic by Happy Cheeze
Homemade Vegan Cheese Yoghurt & Milk - by Yvonne Holzl-singh
Why has this taken so long?
Mainly because of stigma and branding, for so long cheese alternatives were bland, poorly textured and unenjoyable to eat. Slowly though, big names such as Zizzi’s and Pizza Express have started including vegan options on their menus. Using the best in cows milk cheese alternatives. This has allowed the price and range of these products to become more available to the average person. This has spurred on further growth in the market. Plus with so many influential people, including Oprah Winfrey and celebrity chefs such as Tal Ronnen, promoting the benefits of vegan cheese, it’s a wonder it has taken so long for vegan cheese to really take off.
What options are there for vegan cheeses?
At this point in 2019, the options are seemingly endless. But it depends on the type of cheese that you’re looking for. Parmesans, for example, are generally made of a coconut base, Ricotta from a tofu base, bries and other soft cheeses from a cashew or other nut base, and many more novel and interesting mixes to create the range of flavours available in traditional cheeses. One of the most promising and fastest growing methods of producing Vegan cheese is using cashews. In particular, many Asian countries, such as Vietnam where lactose intolerance is common and cashews are grown and exported in abundance, have seen a boom in the market for this type of cheese.
- Sheese 100% Dairy Free Cheese - Gouda Style Block (200g) by Bute Islands
Vegan Cheese Slices - (Various) Pepper Jack by Follow Your Heart
- Matured Cheese (100g) (Various) Chorizo by Happy Cheeze
Cashew cheese: but how do they do it?
One of the great things about cashew cheese is that the process is much the same as for traditional cheese. The cashews are mixed with coconut oil and a range of other ingredients and enzymes, then fermented and cultured to give the great taste and texture that cheese lovers are used to. If you like,
you can make what some have described as “cashew humus” and eat it right away without waiting for the fermentation to occur.
What are the best vegan cheese brands out there?
As with dairy-based cheeses, this can be a matter of opinion. But nowadays there are tons to choose from. The Huffington Post did a great article on taste testing different cheese options out there. Their conclusion is that all the options they tried were cheesy and tasty and the best route out there is to try a few of the options you find online or in the supermarket and make up your own mind. BBC Good Food also wrote a great article where they detailed some of their favourite options in the UK. They also gave some good tips from brands such as Green Vie and Follow Your Heart.
- Happy White Camembert Cheese (150g) by Happy Cheeze
(Various) CreamyRisella by MozzaRisella
- Organic Blue Cheese Alternative (150g) by MozzaRisella
So there you have it: now go eat it!
Vegan cheese really is a true competitor to traditional cow’s milk cheese. The number of recipes that are including vegan cheese as an ingredient are growing by the minute. Go get some vegan parmesan to add some pop to your pasta. Or break out some vegan brie spread thickly on a French
baguette for your next picnic. If you’ve never tried it, then now you have all you need to know about vegan cheese. So get out there and give some a try!
Author: Robert Watts