I've been vegan now since April '12 and I can honestly say that it has been the best decision I've made for myself. I dont' know why I didn't do this sooner! Just getting off dairy made my allergies improve 100%!!! However, with going vegan, I've been trying to find a good vegan cheese alternative and so far I haven't been too successful. I've tried the following brands and was not impressed by the taste/texture: Follow Your Heart brand, Rice Cheeses, Tofutti brand of cheese,Teese (which the texture was gooey like cheese but the taste wasn't that great), and I've tried Daiya and wasn't too impressed with the cheddar shreds or their harvati slices, the texture was fine but the taste was just terrible. I've even tried the Veggie cheeses and they don't taste good and they don't melt very well either.
I'm still struggling to find a good vegan cheese alternative that doesn't have a chemical-like after taste to it. Does anyone recommend any good vegan or soy cheese brands that taste very similar to a dairy cheese? I am a soy lover so I'm willing to try anything at this point. I really love the Amy's brand Soy Cheese Pizza and wished I could find something that tasted as good as that soy cheese does. I live in the South Bend, IN area so I am limited to a few independent health stores (the nearest Whole Foods is in Chicago..sadly!) that would be able to carry a vegan type cheese for me. If anyone can recommend a good vegan cheese for me to try and where you got it that would be very helpful :)
Have you tried making your own? There are lots of recipes out there for vegan cheese sauces using cashews or nutritional yeast. I would suggest a recipe that isn't too heavy on nutritional yeast. I'm sure there are some on this site but if you just google vegan cheese recipes or look on this and other vegan sites you'll be able to find some. There are also easy reicpes for vegan parm. My favorite is 1/2 cup of toasted almonds. 1/4 c nutritional yeast, 1/4-1/2 t garlic powder and 1/4-1/2t salt. Put everything in a food processor and blend. I hate all the vegan cheeses so I feel your pain. Good luck!
Thank you DeAnn, I haven't tried making my own yet, although I have a ton of cheese recipes to try. I subscribe to VegNews Magazine and they had a cheese issue with recipes on how to make your own cheese but a lot of it seems to be time consuming. However, since I have had no luck with the vegan cheeses out there, I think my next step is to make it myself :) I have heard of using nutritional yeast before but I think now from your suggestion I am going to try to make my own and see how it goes. Thank you for the help :)
WOW Kristen, I'm surprised you don't like Daiya, it's my favorite, it taste just like regular cheese to me, and it melts!! I have tried the rice cheese and wasnt impressed with it, the only cheese i buy now is Daiya..and you have to be careful withthe "veggie" cheeses, because they are nine times out of ten not vegan, i think they have casein in them..good luck with making your own..i'm too lazy to do that..too much work:-) Oh, i often add nutritional yeast to things becasue it has a cheesy flavor, yum, just love it!!
Maybe I'll give Daiya another try. I've only tried two of their cheeses, the cheddar flavored shreds and then the jack style wedge (not the harvati.. I got that one mixed up) and first I tried them raw and was not impressed. However I've done some research on vegan cheeses online and found a couple sites where they've compared a bunch of the vegan cheeses and rated them on taste/texture, etc. One thing they did note is that the cheese tastes a lot better once you melt it/cook it b/c the flavor takes on with the cooking process. So maybe my first impression with eating it raw was the problem. The weird thing was, just last week a friend and I ate at The Chicago Diner (in Chicago) -it's a vegan/vegetarian restaurant and I had their vegan grilled cheese that they made with Daiya cheddar cheese and it was actually pretty good! So maybe the problem was me not cooking it and letting it melt. What Daiya cheeses do you prefer? I am interested in trying the mozzarella and pepperjack shreds, have you had those?
Kristen, I encourage you to try the mozzarella flavor. I am in love with it - it's the only vegan cheese I eat (and I go through 1-2 packs a week), however I don't care for any of the other flavors. It's definitely milder than the other varieties but very versatile. I like it both cold (salads) or cooked.
Hi! Like you, I've been just short of disgusted by all cheese replacements I've tried (the rice shreds I actually enjoyed had casein in them, which I noticed after I had a serving... live and learn!). This includes the Daiya wedge I bought last week. Same icky taste... it's just not the flavor I need from my cheese experience (as a self-proclaimed foodie and somewhat accomplished cook).
Therefore, untiI Santa hopefully brings me Artisan Vegan Cheese Making, have vowed to rely on my cheesy noochy cashew sauces to keep my cheese tooth satisfied (eye-rollingly delicious). Of course, if Punk Rawk Labs or Cheezly make an appearance at my local store, I would be willing to give them a try, based on their rave reviews.
I *do* enjoy a Tofurky pepperoni pizza from time to time, even with their fake cheese (evidently masked by the strong pepperoni replacement). That's a good pizza, in my opinion! Quells that nostalgic yearn for a Tostino's Party Pizza back in the 80s, ha ha.
I feel your pain, Kristen! In fact, being mostly vegan for the past 3 years, the lack of a suitable cheese alternative has proven rather frustrating and has become one of my greatest challenges as far as wanting to slip back into vegetarianism. I'm not a huge fan of Daiya either, but I use it when I get desperate. Fellow Kind Lifers, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's anything out there that can be an adequate replacement as far as taste, texture, and nutritional value. Like me, I think a lot of folks want a nice block of cheese that can replace the standard block, and I don't think it exists. I can attest to the fact that Punk Rawk Labs cheese is the closest thing to block cheese I've ever tasted, and it's also the most nutritious (has protein). However, I eat it in little bites, as it's not really suited for slicing off a piece and putting it on something like a sandwich. I found out about it from VegNews magazine (they had an entire cheese issue where you can learn to make your own cheese!), and I must say it is the crown jewel as far as my taste buds. It's expensive, but it's also rich (smoked cashew, herbed cashew, mmm), so a little does go a long way. You can order it from Vegan Essentials; an online all-vegan store. I ordered it using a coupon code from the Thanksgiving issue of VegNews, so I got free shipping.
Sorry, I see you are already familiar with the VegNews cheese issue! I'm wondering if anyone has tried to make anything from there yet? I'm skeptical because I wonder if the time and ingredients will make it such that I might as well just keep buying cheese instead of trying to make it. I''m going to be trying a cheddar spread from Wayfare foods soon; I'll let you know how it tastes. Another one of my favorites is Nacho Mom's Vegan Queso; it tastes like the real thing to me, and my very skeptical non-vegan boyfriend loves it.
Some of the vegan cheeses are not so, good (on taste). If you go to Whole Foods, you will probably get your best selection. I think the best way is to take one small sample and try it out.
If you do not have a WHOLE FOODS, try your local health food store. There are many more selections as you go along. Be creative and good luck with your recipes.