Table Of Contents
- 1 What is vegan cheese? What is vegan cheese made from?
- 2 Difference in preparation of vegan cheese and dairy cheese
- 3 Does vegan cheese taste like real cheese?
- 4 Making vegan cheese at home
- 5 Vegan cheese brands
- 6 Drawbacks of the vegan cheese
- 7 Conclusion
Here we are going to give you a through and detailed idea about all that you need to know about vegan cheese and also provide some vegan recipes which you can prepare with such cheese as well, and also the best vegan cheeses brands that in the market.
Dairy products are always very popular among people irrespective of age. Foodies who love dairy products also love cheese. There are so many different types of cheese and the process of making them too varies a lot from each other.
One of the most popular cheese types is the vegan cheese, which is delicious and at the same times a very healthy alternative to the other categories of cheese which are available to you.
Unlike the usual method of preparing cheese, vegan cheese is a non-dairy based cheese and is prepared keeping in mind the vegans and people who strictly wish to avoid animal products .
For millions of people who are vegan and avoid all kinds of animal products, cheese being a dairy product is very unfortunate news.
The variety of cheese is really tempting and this is why the concept of vegan cheese came into being. People who are not able to have the conventional cheese can always substitute it with the equally delicious vegan cheese, which is available for all.
What is vegan cheese? What is vegan cheese made from?
A kind of cheese, which is a non-dairy, based and plant cheese, vegan cheese is prepared focusing on the requirements of the vegans and those people who wish to avoid animal products at all costs. People who are lactose8 intolerant or are allergic to dairy products and milk in particular can also have vegan cheese as a substitute.
Usually the vegan cheese is made from plant extracts and substitutes like plant milk, sesame seeds, cashews, soybeans, coconut oil, rice, nutritional yeast and various types of nuts.
The vegan cheese is free of cholesterol unlike the usual cheese types, which are available to you, but the taste is not at all compromised in it.
While the ingredients used may seem to be too different and one may wonder how would it taste and react when heated, it is observed that various types of vegan cheese actually melt like the different conventional cheese, which are available to you.
There are different brands of vegan cheese, which you can look for, and some of the most reputed brands include Biocheese, Daiya, teese and many more.
However a number of people who love the conventional dairy cheese complain that the dairy free cheese is not really cheese and hence must be renamed.
In 2016, a Facebook user had such a complain and suggested that vegan cheese should be renamed “Gary” and the new name was enthusiastically endorsed.
Difference in preparation of vegan cheese and dairy cheese
The traditional real cheese is made from casein, which is a type of milk protein that comes from the milk of sheep’s, goats, cows, and buffalo.
During the preparation of the dairy cheese, a group of enzymes that are produced in the stomach of the particular animals whose milk is being used are added to the milk.
This is followed by rennet , which causes coagulation, or curdling to take place and the end product that you get from the entire procedure is the cheese.
There are other ways of preparing dairy cheeses but the use of rennet is the most popular and the easiest method there is.
You can easily produce cheese of different textures, flavors, and even forms. The several kinds of cheese include cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, blends of different cheese, which are processed, and many more.
On the other hand, the vegan cheese is entirely plant based and it involves the consolidation of the protein mass from variety of plant sources, which also have lactic bacteria in them and can be added for the acidity factor.
There are oils, emulsifiers, and thickeners that produce firmer types of the vegan cheese. Unlike the dairy cheese, the vegan cheese relies entirely on such emulsifiers and thickeners to hold the shape.
The types of ingredients- how are vegan cheese prepared?
The vegan cheese is available from variety of different brands and the recipe for preparation too varies from one brand to another.
The vegan cheese is made from soy protein in different brands, which aim at producing a shiny, sleek and rubbery variety of this type of cheeses. Then there are solidified vegetable oils like coconut oil, palm oil and safflower oils, which are also very popular choice for preparation of the vegan cheese.
Various kinds of nutritional yeast, thickening agar flakes and the nuts like cashews, macadamias and almonds are also used in the preparation of the vegan cheese.
Base items like the tapioca flour, natural enzymes, and different types of vegetable glycerin, arrowroot, assorted bacterial cultures and even pea protein is being used for preparing the vegan cheese.
There are different kinds of vegan cheese as well like the very highly processed vegan cheese for ensuring that the texture and flavor is as close as possible to the conventional dairy produced cheese. There is gluten free vegan cheese as well.
While a number of people believe that vegan cheese is a very healthy alternative to the dairy based cheese, this may not be the case for all brands.
It is always dependent on the primary ingredients, which go into the preparation of the cheese, and hence it is very important that you check the ingredient list before you shop for the vegan cheese.
The gluten free or cholesterol free high processed vegan cheese may not be a very healthy choice particularly if you have a tendency to binge eats when it comes to cheese.
Cheese, which is prepared from traditional process of cheese aging and bacterial culture, is the healthiest option compared to the factory extruded processed cheese.
Since vegan cheese have few ingredients like nut milk, enzymes and salt, it is a healthy option as long as it is prepared conventionally and without any excessive of processing.
Does vegan cheese taste like real cheese?
There is a big difference in real cheese and vegan cheese and that is the consolidated protein used in the vegan cheese which is known as the curd.
The real cheese goes through several stages of processing where the proteins in them would physically bond with each other and this is going to impart the unique texture and flavors to the cheese as it ages.
The older the cheese, the better is the texture and the flavor.
The vegan cheese does not undergo such prolonged procedure and it does not deliver the same kind of complex and coagulated flavor like the conventional cheese as a result. Since the coagulated taste of conventional cheese comes from acidified, pasteurized and aged milk, the vegan cheese tastes different since these are absent from them.
However reputed vegan cheese brands are employing bacterial and aging processes to vegan cheese as well and that helps to make a vegan cheese that can compete with the flavor of dairy cheese.
Making vegan cheese at home
You may love vegan cheese but buying the entire vegan cheese that you need every month in your household can prove to be expensive particularly if you are dedicated to a particular brand. However preparing vegan cheese at home is not very difficult either if you have enough culinary skills.
There are different recipes for preparing your own vegan cheese and here we are going to provide some of the best and easiest recipes, which yield really good results but are very easy to follow.
1- The cashew ricotta recipe:
One such recipe you can try at home is the cashew ricotta recipe. The ricotta is the soft, melt in your mouth type of cheese and is a cut favorite among all the cheese lovers. You can recreate the ricotta in vegan style with the help of cashews at home itself. You would need the following ingredients and follow the instructions precisely to prepare the ricotta at home.
• ½ cup of raw cashews,
• ¼ cup of lemon juice
• 2 table spoons of olive oil
• 2 cloves of the garlic
• 1 pound of firm and high quality tofu that has been drained and crumbled
• 1 ½ teaspoon of the salt or as per your taste
• ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
You can easily prepare this type of cheese at home:
– First put all the cashews in a bowl and cover them with water and let them soak overnight.
– Drain the cashews and put into the bowl of the food processor and let is pulse for several times until the nuts are ground to the consistency of bread crumbs.
– Then add the remaining ingredients and process the entire mixture until it resembles a thick paste.
This can be used like a regular ricotta filling for all the recipes which demand ricotta cheese like while making lasagna, manicotti and many more.
2-Vegan Mac and cheese recipe :
This is a very easy to prepare simple vegan cheese idea and the Mac and cheese is a very basic and easy recipe which you can try out if you are new to incorporating vegan cheese into your diet.
• 1 pound of the whole wheat macaroni noodles
• ¾ cup of nutritional yeast
• 2 table spoons of olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
Direction for preparation:
Boil a large pot of water and cook the noodles according to the directions provided on the package.
In the separate bowl, mix the yeast, olive oil and then slowly pour some of the boiling noodle water in titration method, taking one tablespoon at a time.
For getting a thicker sauce, take lesser amount of water and if you want it to be thicker then increase the water that you use.
You can also put some kinds of unsweetened nondairy milk and butter to ensure that the mixture is creamy enough.
Once the noodle is cooked thoroughly drain it and toss it with the sauce that you have prepared. Add seasoning of your choice and then serve.
3- Vegan cheddar olive balls:
This is another vegan cheese recipe to try out at home which is a perfect option for snaking in the evening. You can easily purchase the cheese from a reputed brand instead of making the cheese at home from a scratch and this would save a lot of time as well for you.
• 1 cup of Daiya cheddar style shreds
• 4 table spoons of your choice of any kind of vegan butter
• ½ cup of flour
• 2 table spoon of water
• ½ table spoon of salt- this is optional
• Paprika- ½ table spoon
• 12- 24 pimento stuffed green olives
– First of all mix the Daiya cheese with the vegan butter of your choice and the stir in flour, water and salt and paprika in to the mixture and combine it thoroughly.
– Then with the help of a teaspoon per olive, flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface and put each olive in the circular dough and wrap it up and seal it completely.
– Set a baking sheet that is lined with the parchment paper and continue with the other olives.
– The olive balls must be kept refrigerated until just before you opt to serve them.
– About thirty minutes before you want to serve, heat the oven at 200 Celsius and bake the olives until they are golden and the pastry is cooked for about 20 to 25 minutes and serve them hot.
These are some of the recipes, which you can try out with the vegan cheese at home. There is different variation of the recipes and if you are using a cheese from a reputed brand of best vegan cheese then you can use it as substitute of real cheese in every recipe, which require lump sum amount of cheese in them.
Vegan cheese brands
The vegan cheese is the usual processed cheese, which is produced by variety of brands. You can get a number of different textures, flavors in the vegan cheese from different brands, which use different recipe and technique for making them.
Since there are so many brands, it can often get very confusing when you are trying to choose a perfect vegan cheese brand which would be your own signature brand to go to.
Here we are going to name some brands and why they are among the best. You can easily look for these brands when you go for shopping for groceries the next time and want to shop vegan cheese.
Field roest is noted for their sausages, deli slices and burgers but their new offering is a vegan coconut cheese alternative, which has become really popular in the limited time. It has been developed in collaboration with the Greek cheese maker who is from a family in Taiwan noted for their excellent Chao.
Chao is a traditionally fermented soybean curd and field roast have created the chaos slices inspired by them.
The vegan cheese they offer comes in three flavors, namely creamy original with chao tofu, coconut herb with black pepper and tomato cayenne with spicy pepper.
Tofutti is one of the oldest vegan cheese brands there is and they make non-GMO slices in the American and mozzarella flavor.
They also have other variants like the better than cream cheese and come in special flavors like Garlic and herb, Herbs and chives, French onion. There is also the tofutti better than cheese ricotta as well for you.
Daiya is one of the best brands to go to when you are looking for vegan cheese. They have a wide range of rich, creamy and delicious vegan cheese products today.
Some of their best items include mozzarella, cheddar, pepperjack, and the classic blend style. You can use this shreds and slices for preparing any conventional recipes, which require dairy cheese.
They also have cheese blocks in the flavors of cheddar, gauda, jack or jalapeno havarti, cream cheese style spreads that are available in plain, strawberry and chive and onion flavors too.
Go veggie is noted for all kinds of vegan cheese items they come up with. You can find fine quality shreds which come in Mexican and mozzarella flavors.
They also have cheesy spreads in cream cheese in classic plain, chive and garlic and strawberry as well.
Go veggie also makes vegan grated Parmesan style topping which is a really delicious product and is not available with many brands, which produce vegan cheese products.
All these brands are some of the top brands, which you can opt for and these are also widely available, and within an affordable range for the regular shopper.
They are available at all the stores and you can easily find them whenever you need cheese for any recipe that you are preparing.
Follow your heart have a soy based vegan cheese which is the vegan Gourmet. They also include blocks of mozzarella, cheddar, and Monterey jack as well in the huge range of products that they have.
They have soy free slices and you can use their products in sandwiches, pizza and much more. The brand is also very easily available and this is one of the top brands, which you can choose and is also a budget brand for these products in particular.
There variety of products makes them a very popular choice among the shoppers who are looking for vegan cheese.
Treeline cheese is a dairy free cheese range, which can rival any conventional cheese in terms of their texture and taste.
These cheeses are made from pure wholesome cashew nuts and acidophilus culture, salt and pepper. They are tangy, creamy and easy to spread which make them suitable for crackers, bagels, and anything where you like cheese on.
The cheese is available in different flavors like the scallion, chipotle Serrano pepper, green peppercorn and herb-garlic. They also come in classic and cracked pepper flavors.
Drawbacks of the vegan cheese
Well it is true that there is a few drawbacks of this vegan cheese that you cant afford to miss out and here some of them have been discussed below.
While the vegan cheese is made from very healthy ingredients and have become a cult favorite among the vegans who otherwise never got the taste of cheese, there are certain drawbacks, which you must keep in mind when you are having cheese.
Here we are going to come up with some points which you should keep in mind and regulate your vegan cheese intake accordingly.
The main aim of vegan diet is eating healthy and minimally processed food and also opting for food items, which avoid using animal products at all.
However commercially produced vegan cheese from reputed brands is not always the safest choice since they undergo a lot of processing to impart the texture and flavor they have.
These over processing is not a very healthy thing and they often contain ingredients like non-gmo expeller pressed safflower oil, titanium dioxide and annatto which can be very harmful for the body when taken in large amount.
While the minerals naturally occur in the cheese, it is safe if you do not have such cheese too much. Excess of the ingredients, which are found in the vegan cheese, are often associated with increasing the chances of breast cancer, endometriosis and infertility.
With millions of people opting for vegan diet and the number of such people increasing, vegan alternative for everything is becoming mandatory.
The vegan cheese is a similar innovation and is considered to be a very healthy and high quality food ingredient for all.
It can be concluded that when you are going to try vegan cheese for the first time, doing some background reading about the same is helpful and you can easily manage finding vegan cheese of your choice and taste when you have a good knowledge about how it is made and its variety. The article serves the purpose of enlightening you about the same.