There are plenty of vegan cheese substitutes and alternatives on the market that are both versatile and delicious! Just because you’ve given up dairy doesn’t mean that you have to give up things like pizza and creamy pasta. We’ll explain how to make some plant-based cheese varieties yourself.
In addition to many milk and meat alternatives, vegan cheese substitutes now have a permanent place on the refrigerated shelves of health food stores, zero waste stores, and even some conventional grocery stores. Vegan cheese is made mostly of plant-based ingredients, but checking out the packaging is always a good idea, to make sure it doesn’t contain any suspicious synthetic additives. A good rule of thumb: the shorter the list of ingredients, the better!
Vegan Cheese Alternatives: What Are They Made Of?
Vegan cheese alternatives that are available for purchase are based on different base ingredients.
- “Firmer” vegan cheeses like ‘grated cheese’ or ‘cheese slices’ generally consist of water, vegetable oils (like coconut or palm oil), and (potato) starch. Some also contain tofu and/or processed nuts, but the cheesy flavor often comes from yeast.
- “Creamy” vegan cheese substitutes are usually made of a soy/soy protein and vegetable fat mixture. Starch, spices, salt, and acid are added to the mix, along with some unfortunate additives like stabilizers and flavors. Some of the creamier plant-based cheeses are also made of processed nuts or grains.
It is worth paying attention to the organic certification of vegan cheese substitutes – especially those containing coconut or palm oil. The organic seal limits the number of additives allowed, which protects your health and supports the environment.
If you want to be exactly sure what ingredients are in your vegan cheese, why not make it yourself? This way you can also avoid unnecessary packaging waste.
Widely Available Vegan Cheese Brands
- Treeline Cheese: Known for its French-style soft “cheeses”, this company is focused on creating plant-based cheese and donating to animal charities. Their products have a very short ingredient list and are widely available in grocery stores nationwide. If you can’t find them in a store nearby, you can also find their vegan cheese alternatives on Amazon**
- Violife: a big name in the vegan cheese industry, this company covers all your bases when it comes to finding vegan cheese substitutes. They have cheese blocks, slices, shredded cheese, feta, parmesan, and cream cheese. You can find them in most Publix and Whole Foods stores, but they’re also available on Amazon**. Note: the source of their coconut oil is not confirmed.
- Siete: For all you queso fans out there, this Mexican food company has made sure that vegans don’t need to go without. Their plant-based queso cheese comes in Nacho Cheese and Spicy Blanco flavors. You can find them in most Whole Foods, Krogers, and Targets across the country, or online**.
Making Your Own Plant-Based Cheeses
The internet is a wealth of knowledge – you can find thousands of recipes and tips online. Check out these two vegan cheese recipes to get started, but don’t limit yourself to this list!
- 8 oz. extra firm tofu
- 2 medium potatoes, cooked
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- ¼ cup plant-based milk
- 1 tbsp agar-agar
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Blitz the tofu and potatoes together in a blender, gradually adding the paprika, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Heat the milk and butter on the stove. Once the butter has melted, add the agar-agar and continue to stir for 5 minutes.
- In a blender, combine the liquid mixture with the potato-tofu mixture and blend until smooth.
- Divide the mixture into small containers that can serve as molds, like loaf pans or plastic containers. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least half an hour.
- 1 cup aquafaba
- ½ cup cashews (soaked overnight)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- 5 tbsp. organic coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. agar-agar
- Blend the cashews and aquafaba until smooth.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a pot on the stove, stirring over medium-high heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens.
- Pour into a mold and refrigerate overnight.
Check out more of Utopia’s delicious vegan cheese recipes:
This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can read the original here: Veganer Käse: die besten pflanzlichen Käse-Alternativenaffiliate links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org because we get a small portion of the proceeds.
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