26 March 2012

Vegan cheese, please: The best vegan cheese alternatives

People love cheese. Most vegans hear from non-vegans on a regular basis: “I could never give up cheese!” “I could be vegan except for cheese!” “Don’t you miss cheese?!” But vegans can get their cheesy fix in a variety of delicious, cruelty-free ways.

Tofutti has a long line of dairy-free products that happen to be vegan. For a melty grilled cheese sandwich, try their American Soy-Cheese Slices. These slices melt quickly, so they’re also good for quick nachos. Tofutti also makes a Mozzarella-style cheese slice.

Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet cheeses come in 4 flavors: cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and nacho. They are sold in block form, so you can slice them up and eat them with crackers or in a sandwich, or shred them for pasta dishes or your favorite Mexican dishes. Some pizza shops and other restaurants offer Vegan Gourmet cheeses.

By now, most people have heard of Daiya (pronounced Day-ah) cheese alternatives. They’re sweeping the vegan scene, winning awards, and winning over cheese lovers. Their cheese shreds are available in cheddar, mozzarella, and pepperjack. Daiya cheeses are becoming more commonly found in pizza shops and other restaurants.

Wayfare Foods creates fun, dairy-free, and delicious foods. Their cheesy “We Can’t Say It’s Cheese” dips will win over anyone! The Mexi-Cheddar Style dip is perfect for nachos, tacos, and enchiladas. Their Cheddar-Style dip is perfect for chips and pasta, as their Cheddar-Style Spread was made for crackers! If you love smoky flavors, you’ll love their Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style dip.

If you don’t think you can get by without Parmesan, you have a few options for “sprinkle cheese,” too. Parma! cheese is nutritional yeast based and comes in three flavors: Original, Chipotle Cayenne, and Garlicky Green. These blends are also fantastic on popcorn.

Galaxy Nutritional Foods has a line of vegan cheese products, including shredded cheese, in block form, and Parmesan sprinkles. They’re easy to spot with the name of their products being simple, Vegan. No need to read that ingredient label.

And of course, there’s good ol’ fashioned nutritional yeast. Some stores carry the Red Star brand on the shelves in a container, and most health food stores offer it in the bulk section. Nutritional yeast is a complete protein and is an excellent source of B vitamins. This deactivated yeast is typically sold in flake-form, and occasionally powder. Nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” is perfect on popcorn, baked potatoes, kale chips, roasted chickpeas, tofu scramble, sauces and dips, mac & cheese, you name it! Keep it in the fridge to keep it fresher longer and to prevent clumping.

So the next time a non-vegan says they can’t live without cheese, tell them they don’t have to! Share your vegan cheesy dishes with them and show them that cruelty-free foods never sacrifice flavor or fun.

Amanda Just | Blog | Facebook
Tampa Bay, FL Amanda stopped eating meat in 1995, the moment she learned what meat was: dead animals. She was 11 years old. Her passion for vegetarianism and animals grew as she did and she eventually went vegan in 2004. Amanda blogs at Hungry Vegan Traveler, posting about vegan eats she encounters everywhere she goes, near and far. Amanda currently resides in the Tampa Bay, Florida area. She works full-time with at-risk youth and is also an active volunteer for animal and human causes.

Photo credit: Wayfare, Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Parma!, Toffuti and TDIV