What’s stopping you from being vegetarian or vegan?
But cheese! How can I live without cheese?!
As I am writing this post, I am still consuming cheese a few meals a week. I am limiting my cheese intake and working on eliminating it from my diet completely. This is usually the one factor that keeps vegetarians from converting to veganism. It is the one factor stopping me as well. Even limiting my cheese has been a drastic change. I was the person that could have only cheese and a few crackers for dinner and be completely satisfied. I love a cheese plate. I stopped eating meat relatively painlessly but cheese has been tricky. There aren’t many products that you can create or purchase that truly replicate cheese 100%. However, after some extensive research, regrettable purchases and some ah-ha! moments, I have found some not only suitable replacements for cheese, but some amazing cheese! Below I will talk about the different cheese products available on the market to save you the heartache.
Daiya – Daiya is a Canadian based company that provides vegan cheese products in the form of shreds, blocks, slices, cream cheese, pizza, mac and cheese and even cheesecake! The shreds are available in Classic, Mozzarella, Cheddar and Pepper Jack – add on top of tacos or pizza. Slices are sold in flavors like Cheddar, Provolone, and Swiss – great for any sandwich. The cream cheese comes in Plain, Strawberry and Onion and Chive – delicious on toasted bagel. Cheese blocks are available in Jalapeno Havarti, Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Smoked Gouda – perfect for any cheese plate. The cream cheese and blocks are my favorite items by Daiya that I have tried. I am able to find these products in the Natural section of most grocery stores. Daiya also has several options for frozen pizza, cheesecake, yogurt and mac and cheese.
Tofutti – Tofutti offers a limited selection of products, but don’t let that fool you! They do offer Ricotta, cream cheese, sour cream and sliced cheese. Sour cream was also a frequent condiment that I used so Tofutti saved me with their product. It is very affordable and I can even find it in my small town. Cream cheese is available in Plain, Herbs & Chive, French Onion and Garlic & Herb. Traditional plastic wrapped cheese is available in American and Mozzarella to satisfy that classic grilled cheese fix.
Kite Hill – This is an almond milk based cheese that is cultured in a similar way as traditional cheese. Kite Hill is a Whole Foods exclusive product as of right now. I am telling you from experience that it is worth the drive or trip just for their products. They offer artisinal cheeses, yogurts, cream cheese and ravioli. Their cheese spreads are flavorful and can rival any traditional cheese spread. The spreads are available in Original, Truffle Dill & Chive, Soft Ripened (like Brie) and Ricotta. They also offer cream cheese in Plain and Chive. There are two flavor options for ravioli as well – Mushroom Ricotta and Spinach Ricotta.
Chao by Field Roast – Field Roast is a gold standard in their meat as well as their cheese slices. In my opinion, they are by far the best cheese slice product that I have tried thus far. They are currently available in three flavors – Creamy Original, Coconut Herb and Tomato Cayenne. All three flavors are perfect raw on top of crackers or melted in a grilled cheese and a bowl tomato soup.
Follow Your Heart – Follow Your Heart was formed in 1970 in California as a grocery store and restaurant with an extensive product line including salad dressing, mayonnaise and cheese. Their slices and blocks are available in Pepper Jack, Smoked Gouda, Garden Herb, Mozzarella, Provolone, and American. Shredded cheese is available on Pizzeria, Cheddar, Mozzarella and Fiesta Blend. The coolest product that they have is Parmesan – available grated and shredded. This is the perfect accompaniment to pizza, pasta or our house favorite – Mushroom Fries (Sliced mushrooms sprinkled with Parmesan and baked until crispy).
There are plenty more brands of vegan cheese products on the market including Go Veggie and even store brands like Trader Joe’s. While vegan cheese products can be quite expensive especially for the really good ones, there are alternatives that are affordable. While I have been able to find some of these products in stores, you can also order them and have them shipped directly to your door! I recommend Vegan Essentials since it provides so many vegan products all in one place and affordable pricing.