It’s hard to imagine life without cheese because so many foods are enhanced by the addition of cheese. That’s why it’s so difficult for vegans– we don’t have cheese. Or, at least, we don’t have the cheese made from milk like most people are used to. Thankfully, we have something similar that does the job when we get cheese cravings.
Vegan cheese is often made of soy, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast (a type of seasoning that tastes similar to cheese) and other seasonings. Also, many vegan cheeses are made from almonds, cashews and other nuts. Nut cheeses, as they’re called, are typically intended to mimic artisan cheeses.
Vegan cheese is the perfect way for vegans to get their cheese fix without the dairy. Believe it or not, vegans can still enjoy mac and cheese, pizza and queso dip all with the help of a little vegan cheese.
There are many brands of vegan cheese, and I’ve found that they all taste different. The most popular brand is Daiya, which makes shredded vegan cheese and products of the like. While Daiya cheese melts and stretches like real cheese does, I find that Daiya tastes extremely different from my favorite vegan cheese brand: Earth Balance.
While Earth Balance doesn’t strictly make vegan cheese, they make great vegan cheese products like mac and cheese (my favorite), white cheddar popcorn and Cheez-it style crackers. You can find Earth Balance and Daiya brands in Whole Foods and Trader Joes, as well as in grocery stores like Publix and Kroger.
While there are tons of types of vegan cheeses, they still have a long way to go. Although most of them act like real cheese, the flavor is slightly off. Most vegans, myself included, simply want the similarity and familiarity of cheese products, and although vegan cheese is not perfect, it does the job nicely.
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