Vegan Cheese

Vegan cheese has come a long way in the two decades since I
started eating it, and there are more options than ever for
those of us that don’t (or can’t) eat dairy.

vegan cheese on platter
Jez Timms
on Unsplash

 

15 Varieties of Vegan Cheese

Below I’ve detailed the most common brands of vegan cheeses,
what the best uses are for each cheese, what I (and other
bloggers) think about them, and where you can find them.

A note of guidance: most of these vegan cheeses are not going
to fool omnivores into thinking it’s “real” cheese. But who
cares? These plant-based cheese options will fulfill your
craving for creamy, salty, and tangy in whatever you might be
cooking.

1. Miyoko’s Kitchen

Miyoko’s is at
the top of my list because I think it’s the most delicious
thing on the planet, vegan cheese or otherwise. Miyoko’s is a
cashew-based soft cheese round that’s blended with chickpea
miso and cultured for about three weeks in their Northern
California creamery. Each of the flavors are quite unique. My
personal favorite is the
Classic Double Cream Chive
and the
Sun-Dried Tomato
. Best of all, she’s always releasing new
and tasty special editions.

Miyoko’s cheese comes mostly in small rounds (about 4 inches
around). These rounds are great on cheese platters or served as
a dip for veggies or crackers. My new favorite way to enjoy
Miyoko’s is atop warm noodles; the creamy cheese melts onto the
noodles and veggies for the ultimate creamy, flavorful
pasta. Miyoko’s also makes a
cultured vegan butter
which I’ve heard is amazing.

Buy Miyoko’s
online
 or at your local natural foods
store. 

2. Daiya

Daiya is an excellent vegan cheese: it is offered as shreds, as
blocks, and slices. The secret about Daiya is that it
must be warmed. I do not recommend eating Daiya cold;
it has a very distinct smell/flavor that just doesn’t work for
me (or most people I’ve met), but it’s truly delightful when
warmed.

I like the cheddar
and mozzarella
the best, but they also offer a pepperjack
version. Get the blocks and chop for burritos, use the shreds
on pizza or on noodles, and use the slices in your grilled
cheese sandwiches. Their fully dairy-free product line includes
yogurt, dressings, soft “cream cheese,” boxed mac and cheese,
frozen pizzas, and frozen cheesecakes.

Buy Daiya
Products On Amazon

Treeline

Treeline is
another soft cheese brand that is wonderfully delicious.
Treeline is also cashew-based, and offers an array of flavors.
Like Miyoko’s, Treeline can be served as a dip for veggies or
crackers, or scooped out onto noodles for a creamy pasta dish.
The texture of this one is pleasant and creamy, but for the
cost I prefer Miyoko’s, both for overall flavor and variety of
options.

Buy
Treeline at your local natural food stores or
Jet.com

Chao by Field Roast

Chao, made
by Field
Roast
, is another favorite of mine. Like their incredible
vegan sausages, the Chao cheese is an excellent
omnivore-friendly offering that just might fool omnivores.
Currently Chao is just offered in slices, and it comes in three
flavors: Creamy Original (my recommendation), Tomato Cayenne
(super spicy), and Coconut Herb (which I’ve not tried). This
cheese is super creamy and melty, perfect for sandwiches,
grilled cheese, layered atop burritos, or even melted onto
noodles. Chao is good cold or warm, so it has a distinct
advantage over Daiya slices. They also make a Mac & Chao now,
which I am so anxious to try!


Buy Chao on Vegan Essentials

Follow your Heart Vegan Cheeses

Follow your
Heart
, makers of Veganaise and other delicious vegan
goodies, also makes a few varieties of vegan cheese under two
different brands. One is the Vegan Gourmet blend, and another
is the Follow your Heart
vegan cheeses
; the main difference seems to be that the
Vegan Gourmet brand uses soy while the other does not. Alisa
over at Go
Dairy Free
says the Follow your Heart cheeses are
“flavorful, melty, and a delicious upgrade to so many meals,
snacks and recipes.” Sounds like a win!


Buy Follow your Heart At Vegan Essentials

Heidi Ho Organics

Heidi Ho Organics is a
Portland-based vegan cheesemaker with an array of soft cheese
offerings made from mostly whole-food ingredients like veggies
and chia seeds. They make a line of creamy cheeses in tubs that
can be used as a spread or melted over pasta, sandwiches and
more.
Eva Kitchen
says the Heidi Ho cheeses are “simply
delicious.”


Buy Heidi Ho on Vegan Essentials
or at
your local natural foods store.

Parmela Creamery Nut Cheese

This is a new brand on the market. They make shredded vegan cheese and
it is super delicious. The flavor is similar to Daiya, but the
texture is lighter (when cold and when melted), and is slightly
less gooey. I used the shreds melted onto a tortilla for a
quick burrito for dinner tonight, and the sharp cheddar paired
perfectly with my veggie mix. Their cheeses are made from
almonds or cashews, and come in a variety of flavors. They also
make soft cheeses, Alfredo sauces, and Nacho cheese sauces! You
can order online – or better yet– put in a request at your
local store.

Order online
at Parmela Creamery

Kite Hill

Kite Hill is
winning in the plant-based world: their soft, cream
cheese style spread has been on the market for years. Its mild
flavor is delicious on bagels, in wraps, sandwiches, and as a
veggie dip. They recently started selling a vegan ricotta, and
a line of homemade vegan ricotta-stuffed ravioli. Their yogurt
is my favorite plant-based
yogurt
(the unsweetened plain is just incredible), and
they’ve recently launched a Greek-style yogurt, too. Find their
products at Whole Foods and other natural food stores.

Buy
Kite Hill at Whole Foods Market

Tofutti

Tofutti has been around for decades, and the fact that they are
still innovating says something good about the company.
However, this cheese seems to receive a meh from around the
web. It got a 3/5 from
FckDairy
in their grilled cheese challenge, and Avocadbro
summarizes Tofutti by saying: “I’d recommend it to other
vegans, but I’m not sure I’d have a non-vegan try it.” I
recently tried their sour
cream
, though, and it was on point.

Buy
Tofutti On Their Website

GoVeggie Slices

GoVeggie has been around for many years, and for awhile, was
one of the only vegan cheeses on the market. But many of their
options are not actually vegan because they use casein (a milk
protein) in their ingredients. Why would a mostly vegan company
use that protein? I’ve never understood their reasoning.

The Healthy Sooner
has a great review of the products and
was impressed with their meltability and flavor.

Buy GoVeggie at local natural food stores

The Butcher’s Son

This fully
vegan cafe
and deli in Berkeley is a vegan
delicatessen, serving up some of the most omnivore friendly
foods on the planet. I have yet to dine at this fine
establishment, but my best friend says all their offerings are
excellent. You can order from their menu, or get charcuterie
and cheese from their deli case to take home.

Vtopian Cheese Shop

If you’re in Portland, Vtopian should be high on
your list. This store has dozens of varieties of homemade vegan
cheeses made from cashews, macadamia nuts, and more.
VeganNomNoms
hosted a group tasting for the Vtopian cheeses
and wrote an excellent review of all the different varieties,
uses, and ingredients.


Order Their Products Online At Vegan
Essentials

Vromage 

If you are lucky enough to live in West Hollywood, Vromage is
your answer to vegan cheese cravings. There is little
information available about them on their website, but the
reviews seem excellent (including a review from one of my
favorite vegan celebs, Alicia Silverstone).


Order Vromage In-Store And Online

Dr. Cow

Dr. Cow is
a gourmet line of cashew-based vegan soft cheeses that claims
to be the first aged vegan cheese on the market. These soft
cheeses are made for cheese plates and spreading.
Quarry Girl
says she was “absolutely stunned” with the
excellent flavor. Their product line is made in Brooklyn, and
can be found in select locations around the country.

Order Dr. Cow
Online
 Or At Vegan
Essentials

VioLife

A long-standing European brand, VioLife has recently landed on
the shores of the US, and so many vegan cheese lovers are
stoked. Avocadbro postulates these cheeses are the basis for
Chao, so I am excited to try them. I’ve not found them in local
stores yet, but I’m hoping that their extensive product line
will be more widely available in the coming months. BattyLife has a great
review (giving the cheeses 10/10, 9/10, and 8/10), and has a
detailed description of the ingredients, flavors, and textures
of each.


But VioLife On Vegan Essentials

Why Choose Vegan Cheese?

Let’s dive into why you might want to consider vegan cheese
over dairy cheese options. First and foremost, most people
(65%
according to some estimates
) are actually
lactose-intolerant, which means that they can’t properly digest
proteins found in milk (and thus, cheese) due to a lack of
necessary enzymes in their digestive tract.

The
Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine
(PCRM)
explains that lactose intolerance can lead to all sorts of
digestive distress. If you feel bloated, have diarrhea, or
experience other digestive issues after certain meals, perhaps
dairy is to blame?  If you want to dig really deep into
this subject about why we developed the gene to digest lactase
in the first place, and some people are lactose intolerant and
others are not, read this
NPR article.

Other reasons you might choose vegan cheese over dairy cheese
is for your health. Many studies show that dairy products are
aren’t
necessary
in our diet. Forget that calcium
argument– leafy
greens are actually the best source of calcium
. Meanwhile,
overconsumption of dairy may actually be causing us harm. Dairy
puts us at risk for
cancer
, is linked to
inflammation
,
sinus and ear infection issues,
among a bunch of other
health issues
.

But perhaps most importantly, dairy production is most often a
heart-breaking and
cruel practice
that is bad for the animals and
bad for the planet
. There has been extensive work done on
this subject, and if you’re curious about where your dairy
comes from, I’d encourage you to watch some videos of baby cows
being taken from their mothers, of cows suffering with mastitis
(infection of the milk ducts), and read statistics about all
the
hormones
,
antibiotics
, and
pus
found in dairy.


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