Tag Archives: vegan cheese

Vegan Cheese Alternatives

Disclaimer:

This article contains sensitive/graphic (ish) images depicting what happens to cows in the dairy industry for a process called articifical insemination. Please continue with caution and skip over the pictures if needed.


Ah, cheese.

What can I say about cheese?

There are so many different flavours, aromas and ways of making cheese out there… so why would you choose to eat the cruel cheese?

In case you don’t know, to make cheese, you need milk. And milk comes from cows. But, cows only produce milk only when pregnant, much like humans. They don’t ‘need’ to be milked.

This means that in order to get the milk from a cow, the cow first needs to be pregnant. And let me tell you, if you think farmers just wait for the cows to go get it on, you are sorely mistaken. To keep up with demand (which, I don’t really understand because from my memory milk didn’t even taste good), farmers’ need to artificially inseminate the cow, which is a fancy way of saying they shove their arm up it’s ass and shoot semen into the cows cervix with a giant needle looking thing.

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Seriously, who in their right mind would a) think this is a good idea and b) want to continue to fund this? I mean look at that! You see why this is messed up, right?

Anyway, after they do that, they then steal the baby, and either do the same thing to the baby if it’s a female, or they cart off the male to get butchered and if you’ve ever wondered what veal is, well now you know.

To turn milk into the actual cheese that you eat, they add rennet, which is an enzyme that curdles the milk. Yes, you read that correctly, the milk is curdled to make cheese, because cheese is a mold. Check out more on the whole factory process of milk being turned into cheese here.

This also isn’t even mentioning the fact that cheese is addictive. One of the most common things people who want to go vegan struggle with giving up is cheese, and that’s for good reason! Not only is cheese more crave-able because it’s high in fat, but it’s also addictive because of the high concentration of casein. (A milk protein) When casein is digested, it becomes casomorphin, which is a type of opioid. And I think we all know how that affects the brain.

With that said, you don’t have to fear! You can make cheese out of a lot of different things, not just out of cows’ milk! You can not only use other animal milks (like goat or buffalo), but you can also use tofu or different kinds of nuts. Which brings us to the vegan alternatives for cheese:

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In case you don’t know, here are the brands/kinds of cheese in the collage, listed starting in the top left-hand corner, and moving clockwise:

  • Daiya Medium Cheddar Style Block
  • Daiya Jalapeno Havarti Style Block
  • Daiya Smoked Gouda Style Block
  • Daiya Provolone Style Slices
  • Daiya Swiss Style Slices
  • Earth Island* Mozzarella Style Slices
  • Earth Island Garden Herb Style Slices
  • Earth Island Pepper Jack Style Slices
  • Nuts for Cheese Un-Brie-lievable Wedge
  • Nuts for Cheese Super Blue Wedge
  • Nuts for Cheese Smoky Artichoke and Herb Wedge
  • Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge
  • Violife Prosociano Wedge
  • Chao Tomato Cayenne Slices
  • Chao Creamy Original Slices
  • Miyoko’s Double Classic Chive Cheese Wheel
  • Miyoko’s Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Cheese Wheel

As you can see, there are lots of different types of cheeses out there. These aren’t even all the cheeses these brands make. I tried to showcase some of the different options available, which are tofu, cashew and potato. (Yes, potato!)

I recommend checking out these brands, if you’d like to dip your toes in and see what’s out there, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try making your own cheese at home!

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(This is a picture of my attempt at homemade cashew cheese. While it didn’t turn out quite as hard as I expected, it still tasted good, and was fun to do!)

Quitting dairy cheese may be hard if you find yourself addicted, but begin by replacing it with some of these alternatives, and in the blink of an eye, you won’t even remember not being able to not eat it.

*Earth Island is called Follow Your Heart in the US.


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(Artificial Insemination photo from here)

Vegan Rob’s Cheddar Puffs Review

These things are amazing!

I’m not entirely sure if they’re supposed to be a straight up replacement for Cheeto’s or something, but I know these are definitely worth trying/buying all the time!

The bag they come in is somewhat small, which I don’t like, but that’s pretty much the only thing I don’t like about these!

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The puffs themselves are pretty big in size, and have a great amount of cheese-y dust on them, that gives them a great flavour. It doesn’t taste like nooch to me, which is good news for all you nooch haters.

They do get pretty dusty, so make sure you have some napkins handy, because that dust gets pretty much everywhere. Also, be sure to have water, because they will dry out your mouth. But, they’re delicious, so it’s definitely an okay trade off!

They have a good crunch to them, too. Again, I’m not sure how the crunch of other puffs compare, but these have a great one-bite crunch to them. It actually kind of reminds me of the consistency/crunchiness of Corn Pops. They have an initial hard crunch, and then almost basically dissolve in your mouth.

There’s really not too much more I can say about these, other than I hope you run out and buy them, because they’re awesome!

This Vegan Rob’s company makes a few different kinds of puffs, not just these Cheddar ones, but I’ve only tried these and the beet ones, and those were…. Well, they tasted like beets, and as someone who doesn’t like beets I did not like them. (They were given to me as a gift, btw) So, I can’t personally recommend checking out their other flavours, because I haven’t yet, but I definitely recommend trying out these Cheddar Puffs, and supporting this company!


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Chao Creamy Original Cheese Slices Review

*This post was written 20.04.15, when the corona virus lock-down was in full swing. Please excuse any references/jokes that are no longer applicable.*

We’re officially into summer now, but who says quarantine means you can’t have a barbeque? You can have your very own self-isolated BBQ party, and one of the best things? You wont’ have to worry about your vegan patty sharing the grill! (Also, anytime you randomly smell BBQ on the breeze is a good time. Sooo, if not for yourself, do it for your neighbours!)

One of the best things about a BBQ-ed burger? The cheese. But just because you’re vegan (or veg-curious), doesn’t mean you need to eat a naked burger! There are tons of vegan cheese options available, and today I’m gonna be reviewing one of the best candidates for a burger topper: Chao Creamy Original.

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Now, to be fair, I haven’t actually tested this cheese on a burger, but I did try their Tomato Cayenne cheese on one, and that was pretty good, so I imagine this one would lend itself well, too.

I personally tried this cheese on a homemade naan pizza (posted on my Instagram), and cold out of the fridge. Because if it doesn’t pass the Alone Test, is it really worth it?

I’m happy to report this cheese definitely passed! My brother even tried it, and said ‘if I didn’t know this was vegan cheese, I wouldn’t be able to tell’. (He mixed it into a scrambled egg sandwich, though)

It has a very soft consistency, even to the touch. I felt I had to be gentle with it. This cheese is made out of tofu, but doesn’t have that typical ‘tofu’ taste. Straight out of the fridge, it actually doesn’t really have much of any taste, kind of like tap water. You know it has a taste, but it’s not very distinctive. Which is great, because that means it’ll blend in to whatever you make with it, instead of it overpowering the dish. Especially on a burger, the cheese should be in the supportive role to the patty, not the other way around.

This cheese also melts pretty well.

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It doesn’t stretch like cow cheese does, but it doesn’t puddle melt either, like some other vegan cheeses. The flavour also gets more intense when it’s cooked, so if you want to really taste it, I’d definitely recommend cooking/melting it.

When it’s been melted, and then cooled off, it has a slight rubbery consistency, and the whole piece of cooled-melted cheese will slide right off whatever it’s on, so it’s definitely best to eat it when it’s still warm, but not burn-your-mouth hot.

A down side to this cheese is the price. It comes in a pack of 10 slices, which is good, but it being $9+ (both at Vegan Supply and Good Rebel), it makes it one of the more expensive cheeses. Comparatively, a 10 pack of Earth Island ( that’s Follow Your Heart, to you Americans) slices is $7.95 (at Good Rebel), or even $6.99 at Loblaws! (I checked their online store, and didn’t see a result for Chao)

I know I basically complain about this every time, but it still pisses me off! We’re supposed to be wanting more people to go vegan, right? So why are the vegan substitutes so much more expensive? I understand that perhaps they’re not as big as others, and vegans shouldn’t rely on the pre-made packaged stuff as much, but damn! How can we expect people to even begin to give it a chance with such steep prices?

A pack of 22 Kraft cheese slices is $4.49 (at Loblaws), and that’s for double the amount! And yes, I realize they probably (definitely) aren’t on the same quality line, but just… you see what I mean, right?

This cheese is pretty awesome, but many people won’t know or give it a chance because of the price, and I think that sucks! Give it the due it deserves!

I’d recommend going out and trying this cheese, if you can find it. It’s pretty good, and especially if you don’t like the overwhelming taste of Daiya, or the potato-y taste of Earth Island, you’ll definitely like this one.

And, being in self isolation is probably the best time to try new foods, just in case they don’t agree with you.


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Daiya Monterey Jack Style Block Review

Since I did a chocolate review last year, I thought cheese would be a perfect pairing for this years’ Valentine’s Day.

Because let’s face it: everyone wants to try fondue at least once in their life, because it just seems pretty darn romantic! And what better day than to show off your romantic side than Valentine’s? (Daiya even has a dairy-free fondue recipe on their website!)

I want to start by saying this is my absolute favourite cheese, vegan or otherwise.

I honestly don’t know why Daiya gets such a bad wrap in the vegan community, yes it can be a little…. stronger than other cheeses, but that doesn’t make it bad!

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This was the first vegan cheese I ever tried, and – after years of eating nothing but goat cheese – this was a very welcome break from that game-y taste. (If you’ve ever had goat cheese, you know what I’m talking about)

I also like the texture of the block – they’re perfect for cutting up into slices and eating cold! You could of course still shred them up and use them on pasta, hot sandwiches, or whatever else you put melted cheese on. My favourite way to eat any of the blocks though is by itself in cold sliced form. (Sometimes with crackers)

Speaking of the texture, I have noticed it’s changed. It’s almost the same, but I’ve noticed the last few times I’ve bought them, when I went to cut slices off the block, they’ve been sticking more to the knife, and seem more almost-melty. Like they used to get if you carried them home from the store in the summer and they got a bit melted but were still firm. I’m not sure if they changed the recipe, or if there was just a less stable batch or something that went out, but I have to say, I don’t like the new texture as much. I don’t want to have to peel off pieces of broken slices from my knife.

Now, I don’t know what ‘real’ Monterey Jack cheese tastes like, but this one has a pretty mild taste. I used to think Mozzarella was the ‘plainest’ cheese taste, but this beats it by a landslide. Mozzarella has a bit of a like, twang-y taste to it (yes I know ‘twang isn’t a flavour), that I don’t like too much. This one is the plainest of cheeses I’ve tasted – it’s a pretty neutral taste, which is why I think it’s the perfect flavour.

I don’t know all those typical cheese descriptions – nutty, earthy, etc. I don’t know what any of those mean, so the best description I can give it would be it’s like the water of cheese flavours: you can pair it with anything and it won’t be weird. (Unless you pair it with like, mints or something)

One thing I can say I definitely don’t like about this, and all the other blocks: They’re $5.99 each! With how small the blocks are, (I can usually finish a whole block in one day and a half [or less]) you’d think they wouldn’t be so expensive.

At one point, I was buying them in 4’s just so I’d have enough for 1 week – that’s $20 on cheese alone! Who has that kind of money?

I complain about this in a lot of my reviews of vegan products, but I’m gonna continue to complain until something changes. Either lower the price (even 4.99 would be better), or make the products bigger. How can we expect more people to go vegan when the ‘transition’ products are so anti-family sized and expensive? (Like the Beyond Burgers – 2 in a giant plastic container that could easily fit 4-6 for $20 – and that’s the raw ones!)

And I know, I know, I don’t know how much it takes to produce the blocks, and that may be as low of a price as they can make them for the company to make a profit, but guess what? If you drop the price, more people will buy them, because they’ll be actually affordable and it will (most likely) even out. I know I’d definitely buy way more of them if the price was lower (or they were bigger). Especially because you can put them in the freezer! You could go on a stock up trip and throw them in the freezer to keep on hand.

If you do put the blocks in the freezer though, I recommend you only use them to be melted or in a hot dish. Once they go in the freezer, the texture gets ‘snowy’ and they don’t work as well as cold slices for a snack. Once heated, they retain the flavour and melt-y/stretchy texture.

That’s pretty much all I think I can say about this block. It’s my favourite, even though it’s a bit on the expensive side and small. (But all the blocks are the same size/price)

If you haven’t tried it yet, I definitely recommend it, and I recommend trying it cold first before you throw it into a dish. Just so you get an untainted flavour of the cheese. If you don’t know what it tastes like by itself, how will you know what to put it in?


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