Vegan food does not always mean healthy food. Don't get me wrong, I definitely eat my fair share of leafy greens, but that doesn't mean cha' girl can't indulge in a nice crunchy, buttery, extra "cheesy" vegan grilled cheese just like the rest of you omnivores. Every time I tell someone I'm vegan, the first question I'm asked is usually along the lines of, "but... what do you eat?"

EVERYTHING. Literally everything you could ever imagine. Pancakes, burgers, tacos, ice cream—you name it. Anything you come up with, the veganized version has most likely been in my stomach. To prove to everyone that veganism isn’t as torturous as it’s made out to be, I took it upon myself to develop the most incredible vegan grilled cheese recipe the world has ever seen.

The Discovery 

sweet, candy, dairy product, milk, cream, plain flour
Mollie Simon

I'm not going to lie, I have struggled over the years to find a vegan cheese that is even close to edible looking/tasting. Daiya kind of tastes like chalk. Trader Joe's Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds faintly mimic the smell of sweaty gym socks (sorry, Trader Joe's, I still love you).

Don't get me wrong, I greatly appreciate the fact that more and more food manufacturers are attempting to produce dairy-free alternatives—but I would much rather go cheese-less altogether than douse my precious pizzas in weird tasting off-white shreds. 

Last week, as I was perusing the isles of Whole Foods subconsciously wishing I had endless amounts of money to blow on $10.00 non-GMO granola bars, I came across something that caught my eye.

beer, cheese
Samantha Doyle

Hey there, little guys! At last, a vegan cheese that looks strikingly similar to the real thing. I'm always down for a little spice, so I grabbed the Tomato Cayenne Chao Slices, picked up a loaf of freshly baked multigrain bread from the bakery and skipped all the way to the express checkout line.  

The Cooking Process

Leilani Gaugin-Rosenthal

The minute I got home, I hurriedly unpacked my new ingredients and went to work in the kitchen. First, I whipped out a skillet and plopped a giant spoonful of Earth Balance Buttery Spread on it. I let two slices of bread simmer in the butter for a little before placing a generous amount of faux cheese on each side.

barbecue, meat, pork, beef, steak, broil
Ryl Johann Dorado

After letting the vegan grilled cheese face open in the oven for about three minutes, I eagerly pulled it out and nearly shed tears of joy. Melty cheese dripped over the sides of the flakey golden crust. 

sandwich, tomato, lettuce, bread, bacon, avocado, cheese, meat, beef
Ryl Johann Dorado

I was in utter shock and disbelief that a vegan cheese was capable of such gooey greatness. Goodbye beige sweaty-gym sock-smelling shreds, hello vegan cheese slices sent from dairy-free heaven.  

avocado, guacamole
Ryl Johann Dorado

But, why vegan cheese? 

A photo posted by Nina Zagaja (@ninazagaja_) on

Because no cows with faces like this were harmed in the making of this sandwich. 

In all seriousness, this vegan grilled cheese sandwich means a lot more than any other ordinary sandwich I've made in the past. It represents a society that is awakening compassion and consciously choosing to develop and manufacture high-quality products that don't contain animal products. It proves that our voices are being heard, that our generation has a say in what is seen in the market place for years to come. It's tangible evidence that disproves the common misconception that veganism is too hard, too expensive, or too difficult.

This vegan grilled cheese is more than just a sandwich. It is a minuscule contribution to a vitally important social movement that is slowly unfolding before our eyes everyday.