More than ever, people are saying bye-bye to dairy and looking for non-dairy alternatives to some of their favorite foods. Dairy-free milks have become a popular staple in coffee shops and grocery stores alike, but increasingly, dairy-free cheeses are also gaining momentum. Of course, dairy-free cheeses are nothing new, but let’s be honest, dairy-free cheese from 10 years ago were akin to eating shredded plastic and they wouldn’t melt even if a blowtorch were put to them.
Years later, dairy-free cheeses have come a long way. More and more people are making their own dairy-free cheeses at home but if you want to buy it instead, there are more brands available than ever. There are cheeses, hard and soft, that spread, slice, grate and most importantly, melt. Yes, vegan cheese is better than ever. Here are 11 brands (in no particular order) that will make you forget all about dairy cheese. Be sure to visit their web sites for more information including where to purchase them.
1. Field Roast
You may know Field Roast for their amazing sausages, deli slices, roasts and burgers but they also make Chao Slices – a vegan coconut cheese alternative. The cheese is a collaboration of a Greek cheese maker, a family in Taiwan who makes Chao, a traditionally fermented soybean curd, and Field Roast who brings it all together in Seattle to create Chao Slices. The vegan, non-GMO cheese comes in three innovative flavors: Creamy Original with Chao Tofu, Coconut Herb with Black Pepper and Tomato Cayenne with Spicy Pepper. Chao slices can be used in both hot and cold dishes, melted in amazing grilled cheese sandwiches or on burgers. Chao slices are so good, they can be eaten straight out of the package.
Tofutti was one of the first vegan cheeses I ever tried. If you’re vegan, chances are good that you’ve enjoyed one of Tofutti’s many dairy-free cheeses. Tofutti makes non-GMO slices in American and Mozzarella flavors. Taco Tuesdays are made better with my favorite Tofutti’s Better Than Sour Cream and Guacamole. Got a bagel? Then you want Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese which also comes in specialty flavors Garlic & Herb, Herbs & Chives and French Onion. Tofutti Better Than Cheese Ricotta lets you make decadent Italian dishes with creamy deliciousness.
I remember when Daiya cheese first came out. No one was sure how to pronounce it but everyone wanted it. Daiya changed the game of vegan cheeses. Not only did their cheese stretch and melt but it was soy-free, made from tapioca. Daiya began with their dairy-free shreds but now they offer a wide range of rich, creamy and delicious vegan products. Daiya Shreds are now available in Mozzarella, Cheddar, Pepperjack, and Classic Blend Style. The next time you make a grilled cheese, reach for one of Daiya’s Slices which come in Cheddar, Swiss and Provolone. If you want to grate your own cheese or make cubes for hors d’ouvres, choose one of Daiya’s Blocks: Cheddar, Gouda, Jack or Jalapeno Havarti. Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spreads come in Plain, Strawberry and Chive & Onion. If all that wasn’t enough, Daiya also makes six flavors of vegan Pizza, four types of Cheezecake and three flavors of Cheezy Mac. By the way, it’s pronounced “day-ah.”
4. Go Veggie!
Go Veggie! makes all kinds of vegan cheesy bliss. For grilled cheese, cheeseburgers and panini melts, Go Veggie! has vegan slices that stretch and melt in Cheddar, American, Pepper Jack and Mozzarella. Go Veggie! Shreds come in Mexican and Mozzarella flavors. They spread the cheesy love with Cream Cheese in Classic Plain, Chive and Garlic and Strawberry. Saving the best for last, Go Veggie! makes Vegan Grated Parmesan Style Topping which is a product I cannot live without. It tastes the closest to dairy parmesan than any other product I ever tasted. That’s my cheesy bliss!
5. Follow Your Heart
Follow Your Heart, the company that makes Veganaise, also makes non-dairy cheeses for every occasion. Their original Vegan Gourmet® soy-based vegan cheeses that actually melt include blocks of Mozzarella, Cheddar, Nacho and Monterey Jack. Vegan Gourmet® Shreds are bold and creamy and come in Mozzarella, Cheddar and Fiesta Blend. Follow Your Heart’s newest products are their soy-free slices and blocks that are so good, they will make you think about vegan cheese in a whole new light. They come in Garden Herb, Mozzarella, American and the one everyone is talking about, Provolone. Eat it on pizza, eat it on a sandwich, eat it straight out of the package – just eat it.
6. Treeline Cheese
Treeline Cheese is totally dairy-free and can rival any artisanal cheese. It is made of pure, wholesome cashew nuts, acidophilus culture, salt and pepper. Treeline makes Soft French-Style Nut Cheeses which are tangy, creamy and spreadable. Transform your crackers or bagels with flavors in Scallion, Chipotle-Serrano Pepper, Green Peppercorn and Herb-Garlic. Treeline’s Aged Nut Cheeses are firm, tangy and creamy – perfect for your next cheese plate or salad. They come in Classic and Cracked Pepper flavors.
7. Kite Hill
Kite Hill uses time-honored techniques to make vegan cheeses and other products from fresh nut milk. They use the simplest ingredients to make artisanal foods that everyone will love.
Kite Hill offers their Soft Fresh Original which is creamy and fresh with a supple, silky texture. They add herbs and truffle oil to the original to make Soft Fresh Truffle Dill & Chive. The Soft Ripened is aged for over two weeks and has a delicate white rind, pungent aroma, and velvety texture. Kite Hill also makes buttery fresh ricotta that is moist, fluffy, and versatile. Cultured cream cheese style spreads are smooth and spreadable, with a signature tang in plain flavor and herbaceous chives. Kite Hill also makes ravioli entrees with whipped ricotta and fresh garlic with the sautéed flavors of mushrooms or spinach in handmade dough.
8. Punk Rawk Labs
Punk Rawk Labs is an all-women owned company that makes gourmet dairy-free artisanal nut cheeses that taste like dairy cheese. Using a process similar to traditional dairy fermentation and simple, natural organic ingredients, these cheeses have a smooth texture and authentic taste. Punk Rawk Labs currently makes four flavors of vegan cheese. Cashew Original has an authentic umami flavor can be eaten on its own or used in recipes. Cashew Herb has fresh herbs while Cashew Smoked has smoked sea salt and cracked black pepper for bold flavor. The nacho cheese is made with carrot juice and spicy peppers for a healthier way to enjoy tacos or mac and cheese!
9. Miyoko’s Kitchen
Miyoko Schinner wrote the book on artisan vegan cheese. Literally. She is the author of “Artisan Vegan Cheese.” She also runs Miyoko’s Kitchen where you can purchase her artisanal cheeses. From delicate and creamy to pungent and hard, Miyoko offers a wide range of flavors and textures and made from organic ingredients. Offerings in the cheese shop include Fresh Buffalo Style Mozzarella, Classic Double Cream Chive, Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic, High Sierra Rustic Alpine, Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash, Aged English Sharp Farmhouse, French Style Winter Truffle and Double Cream Garlic Herb.
10. Heidi Ho
Heidi Ho is a plant based food company headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Their mission is to make delicious vegan cheese using extraordinary ingredients. They currently produce a variety of cheeses that are vegan and free of additives and fillers. Heidi Ho makes Creamy Chia Cheeze which is perfect for mac and cheese or pouring over veggies. Spicy Chia Cheeze packs a punch with a four pepper blend you’ll want on your nachos or enchiladas. The Smoky Chia Cheeze is great for pizza, spinach artichoke dip or fettucine Alfredo. Heidi Ho also makes Ne Chevre Pure which is a live culture cashew cheeze that tastes like goat cheese – without the goat – and Ne Chevre Lava which has a layer of crushed hazelnut and black lava salt for a salty, nutty kick.
11. Vtopian Artisan Cheeses
Vtopian makes dairy-free, vegan and handmade cheeses in Eugene, Oregon. They make innovative special cheese that will please all palates with organic ingredients and probiotic cultures. Vtopian makes 15 types of hand-crafted, artisan cheeses including Aged White Cheddar, Spicy White Cheddar, Macadamia and Cashew Camembert, Chive and Dill, Reserve Sharp Cheddar, Cranberry Brie, Dark Chocolate Strawberry Brie, Mapled Seitan Cheese Ball, Mediterranean Feta and Creamy Basil Borealis. Vtopian Artisan Cheeses are perfect for cheese platters, crackers, sandwiches, bagels and on top of fresh bread.
Yes, vegan cheese is better than ever. These vegan cheeses are kinder, healthier and utterly delicious. Looking and tasting these cheeses makes you understand Why the Future of Artisanal Cheese is Vegan and why the future itself is vegan.