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Dive into the Ever-Expanding
World of Vegan Cheese

Here's my review of the vegan cheese selections on the market. I was a full-fledged cheese lover pre-vegan days, so I do have to say I have a serious bias against these cheeses to start. You can read all about my struggle with giving up cheese and how I overcame it in Cut the Cheese.

That doesn't mean I don't want to like them. Believe me, I want to LOVE them. I want to find a great replacement for cheese, but so far, none has quite made the cut. None of the cubed cheeses that is... the grated Parma is outstanding.

And some of the melting cheeses are great, especially Daiya. For people who are more open-minded about trying something that doesn't taste quite like the cow or goat original, I would recommend trying them for yourself. Try to do it without thinking about the original, and just taste it unbiasedly.

The grated, sprinkling vegan cheeses:

Parma, by Eat in the Raw

Eat in the Raw's Parma is definitely my favorite sprinkling cheese substitute on the market. Part of this is probably because it doesn't actually attempt to be something other than it is--it's not a soy trying to be a dairy. And, with a simple combo of three healthy ingredients, it ends up with the cheese flavor I want.

I grew up in an Italian family, and the loss of parmesan cheese to my vegan lifestyle seriously hurt. Parma has filled that void for me. I love it.

I've also had the chipotle flavored one, and it's outstanding. Either flavor is excellent on pasta, on vegggies, to top off lasagna, or on anything else that needs a little spice. You've got to try it!

Ingredients: Raw organic walnuts, nutritional yeast, Celtic sea salt

Vegan Parmesan by Galaxy Nutritional Foods

I've always loved Parmesan cheese, and was expecting more out of the familiar canned and grated cheese. This brand doesn't deliver as far as taste goes. The texture is correct, but at no point does it taste like Parmesan cheese, and it's made from a soy base rather than natural nuts.

Galaxy's Parmesan Cheese is good if you are baking something or can hide the cheese in something else. But, then again, why eat something if you have to hide its flavor with something else?

Ingredients: Soy beverage (filtered water, organic tofu), textured soy protein, non-hydrogenated soybean oil, sea salt, citric acid, calcium phosphate, natural vegan flavors, riboflavin

Sprinkling cheeses I haven't tried

The cubed, slicing cheeses:

Dr. Cow's Tree Nut Cheese

Dr. Cow makes gourmet cheese out of nuts; offering flavors such as Aged Cashew & Dulse Cheese (a white cheese with purple dots, aged for 3 months), Aged Cashew & Crystal Manna Algae Cheese (a light blue color, aged for 3 months), Aged Cashew Cheese (gold colored, aged for 3 months), Aged Macadamia Cheese (rolled in mixed herbs), Aged Cashew and Brazil Nut Cheese (light brown, ged for 3 months), Aged Cashew and Hemp Seed Cheese (light yellow with green specks, aged for 3 months.) They are constantly developing more flavors, and every one I try tastes totally different.

All of their cheeses are made with organic raw nuts and are aged with a vegan acidophilus to create the cheese. They are outstanding and would be perfect for a wine and cheese party.

Vegan Rice Cheese Singles, by Galaxy Nutritional Foods

The vegan cheese singles imitate the look of american cheese singles perfectly. I have to say-- I was never a fan of those singles either, so Galaxy shouldn't take offense to my not liking the cheese singles. They just taste too processed for me.

Ingredients: Soy base (filtered water, isolated soy protein, soy solids), modified food starch, soybean oil, calcium sulfate, tapioca starch, maltodextrin, contains 2% or less of salt, carrageenan, natural vegan flavor, sodium phosphate, tara gum, sodium polyphosphate, food color (carotenal for American flavor, titanium dioxide for Mozzarella flavor). **Contains Soy**

Sheese, by Bute Island Foods

Bute Island makes this in a creamy, spreadable version as well as the standard sliceable vegan cheese. It has the correct texture, but the flavor seems to leave a little bit to be desired, in my opinion. Some people swear by Bute Island, so this is probably a personal thing. There are a few different flavors; cheddar, original, chives, garlic & herb, and mexican.

Original Ingredients: Water, vegetable oil, soya concentrate, salt, lactic acid (vegan), sugar, natural flavorings, carageenan

Cheddar Ingredients: Water, vegetable oil, soya concentrate, salt, spirit vinegar, sugar, natural flavorings, lactic acid (vegan), carrageenan, yeast extract, turmeric & paprika extract (colorings)

Chives Ingredients: Water, vegetable oil, soya concentrate, salt, spirit vinegar, lactic acid (vegan), sugar, natural flavorings, chives, carageenan

Garlic & Herb Ingredients: Water, vegetable oil, soya concentrate, salt, lactic acid (vegan), sugar, natural flavorings, spirit vinegar, carageenan, herbs, garlic

Mexican Ingredients: Water, vegetable oil, soya concentrate, salt, tomato puree, spirit vinegar, lactic acid (vegan), sugar, natural flavorings, carageenan, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, chili powder, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, coriander, cumin

Vegan Gourmet Brand, by Follow Your Heart

This cubed cheese comes in Cheddar, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and Nacho. I think the smell and initial flavor of these cheeses are similar to real cheese, but the biggest problems are in the texture and aftertaste. The cheese seems to almost crumble in your mouth, rather than smooth out like cheese. Also, the aftertaste is almost doughy-- not like the lasting flavor of a dairy cheese.

These cheeses are best for sandwiches where other ingredients can take over so that you aren't only tasting the cheese while chewing.

Ingredients: Filtered water, expeller pressed canola oil, tofu (soybeans, calcium sulfate), soy protein, inulin (a natural extract of chicory), natural flavor (vegan), agar, sea salt, Brewer's yeast, carrageenan, calcium lactate (vegan), lactic acid (vegan), annatto

Other Cube Nondairy Cheese I Haven't Tried

Crumbling Cheeses

Organic Soy Feta, by Sunergia Soyfoods

This soy-based cheese comes with the appropriate texture of feta cheese: crumbly. The extra herbs help to lend it the mediterranean flavor.

Sunergia also makes a blue vegan cheese. I never was a fan of real blue cheese, so I've stayed away from this one lest it actually does taste like it and I get grossed out.

Ingredients: Organic soymilk (water, whole organic soybeans), organic extra virgin olive oil, natural vegan flavors, sea salt, organic roasted garlic, organic guar gum, organic oregano (Mediterranean flavor only), agar and/or carrageenan, organic sundried tomato, organic thyme, nigari (magnesium chloride)

Crumbling Cheeses I Haven't Tried

Melty Vegan Cheeses

Daiya Cheese: The Primo

Daiya has been a sensation in the vegan cheese world since it first arrived, and it deserves the attention. It melts and stretches just like dairy cheese, but it has no dairy, casein, gluten, nuts, or soy in it, so it's great for people with allergies. You can find it at certain restaurants on pizzas and in grilled cheese sandwiches, and it's also available at online stores like Vegan Essentials.

Daiya vegan cheese comes in Italian, Cheddar, and a new Pepper Jack, which are all delicious and melt better than any other cheese product on the market. Daiya (pronounced day-a) is amazing for pizzas, grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, nachos, lasagna, and any other cheesy dish you miss from pre-vegan days. I highly recommend it!

Teese, by Chicago Soydairy

Teese comes wrapped in a red plastic wrap that reminds me of real cheese rinds. You can slice it into rounds and eat it with tomatoes, or grate it onto a pizza.

Before Daiya, this was the closest to mozzarella vegan cheese. At first I was so excited by it, but as with the rest, the aftertaste just isn't right. And believe me, I really, really wanted to love it. If you are looking for a cheese to snack on by itself, I wouldn't recommend Teese by itself.

It does melt better than any other nondairy cheese I've had. If you are looking for a pizza cheese that comes out pretty and looks like the real deal, this is your cheese.

Ingredients: Chicago Soydairy Soymilk (Filtered Water, Organic non-GMO soybeans), corn maltodextrin, non-hydrogenated vegetable oil blend, salt, vegetable gum, vegan natural flavors, corn-derived lactic acid (vegan), natural vegan color

Cheezly, by Redwood Foods

Cheezly is a good melter, good for pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. It's in cube form, so it can be eaten as a slicer vegan cheese, but again, the flavor is not quite like the real thing.

Mozzarella Ingredients: Water, non-hydrogenated vegetable oil, tofu, soy protein, rice starch, thickeners: carrageenan and locust bean gum, salt, dried yeast, tricalcium phosphate, spirit vinegar, trisodium citrate (acidity regulator), raw cane sugar, vegan flavoring, yeast extract

Mature White Cheddar Ingredients: Water, non-hydrogenated vegetable fats and oils, soy protein, yeast extract, carrageenan, salt, vegan flavoring, tricalcium phosphate, carotene (color)

The Sauce and Spread Vegan Cheeses:

Mac and Chreese, by Road's End Organics

Like any good college student, I lived on staples like ramen noodles, spaghetti-Os, and mac and cheese. Since graduating, I relegated these delights to the occasional hangover cure.

But, since being vegan, it's been hard to replace the mac and cheese.

Road's End does a good job with this product. What's good is that we're not trying to replace a fine artisan cheese here. Cheese sauce isn't exactly gourmet food, so the Mac and Chreese didn't have too far to go to reach it.

Don't expect it to taste exactly like the original, but it can pass. They also have a line of other shapes in macaronis, as well as a fettucini alfredo kit.

Ingredients: Whole Wheat Macaroni & ChReese - Organic whole wheat elbow macaroni (organic whole durum flour and water), organic unbleached white flour, nutritional yeast, organic tapioca starch, unrefined sea salt, organic garlic powder, organic ground yellow mustard seed, annatto

Cheese(Not) Sauce Mix by Dixie Diner

I haven't tried Dixie Diner's vegan cheese (not) sauce, but judging by the easy-to-read and pronounce ingredients, it looks good.

I've heard good reviews on it as well. It looks to have quite a few servings in one bag, so that's always good!

Ingredients: Nutritional yeast flakes, organic oats, tomato powder, tofu powder (dehulled soybeans, calcium sulfate),lecithin, onion, garlic, mustard, fructose, turmeric, sea salt.

Nacho Mama's Cheese Sauce

Nacho Mom's is my favorite nacho cheese sauce from a jar. It truly tastes like a spicy cheese sauce that you'd get at a baseball game, and you can dip tortilla chips or vegetables sticks and enjoy like the old days. It's made with all normal ingredients like tomatoes and peppers and based on nutritional yeast, so it's also healthy.

Galaxy Foods Vegan Cream Cheese

Tofutti makes a nice cream cheese, and as long as you get the non-hydrogenated version, it is decently healthy. I personally prefer the flavor of Galaxy's cream cheese. It's spreadable and has the same texture as the classic cream cheese. Perfect spread on a bagel and topped with a thin slice of tomato and capers for a mock lox!

› Vegan Cheese

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