Cheese is an enjoyable food. It is considered by some to be a part of any healthy diet, as it is a source of proteins, fats as well as many other vitamins such as vitamin A and B-12 alongside salts such as zinc and phosphorus which are essential for the body.
It is one of the most common dairy products all across the globe.
However, if you want to ditch the dairy, vegan cheese is the way to go.
The increased inclination of people towards a plant-based diet is also partly due to smart consumerism. Better late than never, people all across the world are realising and understanding their responsibilities as buyers. It’s no wonder that the vegan diet has become an increasingly popular trend!
A vegan diet, like any other, provides you with the nutrition that a human body needs but is based on plants, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. In other words, there are no animal-based products such as meat, dairy, and eggs.
Initially, vegan products were only limited to certain items but as the market has expanded many new vegan food items have appeared. Among these is Vegan cheese.
Fast-forward to the present day and there are numerous high-quality substitutes for dairy cheese which are perfect for anyone who is on a vegan diet or simply wants to enjoy a delicious plant-based staple.
What is the best vegan cheese?
Although it is a subjective decision and is all about personal preference, the following are a snapshot of some of the most popular cheese brands that are preferred by consumers.
Daiya is a well-known and leading vegan cheese brand. It produces many popular types of cheese which include, cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, and blended cheese. They have a wide variety of complementary flavours to choose from.
Violife is an international brand that sells vegan products all across the globe. Their cheese line-up also includes cheddar, parmesan, hot peppers, mozzarella, Mediterranean style, blueberry, and more.
What is vegan cheese made from?
There are numerous ingredients that are used for making vegan cheese. Some of them might seem obvious while others may be a complete surprise for you but today’s vegan cheese tastes a lot better than the bad old days of wall filler! Here’s a few;
It is no surprise that Soya beans are used for the production of vegan cheese however, it is perhaps not the best kind of cheese out there. In fact, soybean allergies are quite common, however, there are other variants as well.
A combination of nuts can be used to produce vegan cheese, some of these include, cashews, almonds, and macadamias. Nuts allow the cheese to have its traditional and natural flavour.
However, in common with soybeans, nut allergies are also common. Therefore, only a small number of producers make cheese out of nuts. This is also because the process is labour-intensive and requires high-cost raw materials.
After soybeans and nuts, oil is the most used raw material for the production of vegan cheese. Coconut oil is a major part of the mix and is the main ingredient for several popular vegan kinds of cheese. Apart from this, sunflower and sustainable palm oil are also used to produce vegan cheese.
Nutritional yeast or more commonly known as Nooch has been an alternative to dairy cheese since the early days of veganism. It has a flaky consistency and is often combined with other ingredients to act as a substitute for dairy parmesan.
It is usually used to add flavour to dishes and has been the main ingredient for vegan soups, salads, and pasta.
Brown Rice quickly became popular when an Italian company was able to produce award-winning cheese from sprouted brown rice. This ingredient was quickly adopted by several vegan cheese producers as it produced a cheese that was creamier, softer, and similar in texture to that of dairy cheese.
Brown rice is also considered to be a great source of fibre, minerals, and vitamins. Arguably, the cheese made out of brown rice is even healthier than its other vegan counterparts.
What does Vegan Cheese taste like?
As mentioned before, the increased demand and newer production techniques have allowed producers to create a cheese that is very similar to dairy cheese. While previously, vegans had to suffer from poor tasting, low-level imitations of cheese, now vegan cheese has evolved to such an extent that in some cases the taste is almost indiscernible.
There are many brands producing varied types and qualities of cheese, with their own unique taste but it is all about personal preference.
What are some popular styles of vegan cheese?
A vegan-based version of most all dairy cheeses is available however, there are six main styles that are most sought after by consumers.
Most if not all the brands offer grated cheese in both cheddar and mozzarella. These can be a perfect addition to your pizza, in sandwiches or toppings.
Sliced and block
Vegan cheese of many variations are available in slices as well as blocks. You can buy sliced cheese in smaller portions, otherwise having a block of your favourite cheese is the way to go. You can grate and slice from the same block, plus it’s more economical.
You can’t go wrong with cream cheese on a bagel or toast. Vegan alternatives for dairy cream cheese are available in a wide choice of flavours and can be the perfect snack at any time of the day.
Vegan variants of some of the most popular soft cheeses such as ricotta, camembert, and brie are available
This is a must, there is plenty of grated parmesan-style vegan cheeses which can add an extra flavour to your food.
Nacho cheese dips
Vegan cheese production has developed in a manner that nothing is left behind. You can easily find a vegan cheese dip and other cheese sauces on the shelves.
What is the best Vegan Cheese in UK?
Violife is a vegan cheese brand that is one of the most popular in the UK. Not only does it taste great but is available across all the major retailers. Due to the fact that it is easily available, it has been the first choice in the United Kingdom.
What is the best artisan vegan cheese in the UK?
The best artisan vegan cheese in the UK comes from a brand that has been a leading player for a long time, since its inception in 2014,
Tyne Chease is one of the best cheese artisans in the country. They have a wide variety of vegan cheese to choose from so that there is something for everyone.
What is the best Vegan Cheddar Cheese in UK?
Asda ‘free from’ is considered as the best vegan alternative for cheddar according to a blind taste test conducted by BBC Foods, Asda free from mature cheddar alternative was one of the most popular entries.
What is the best Vegan Mozzarella Cheese in UK?
The same test conducted by BBC foods also concluded that Green Vie with mozzarella flavour was the most liked mozzarella vegan cheese alternative. If you are looking for something almost as similar as dairy mozzarella, Green Vie with mozzarella is a must try.
Which grated cheese is the best?
Almost all the vegan cheese companies make grated cheese, however Violife grated, Moocho Foods Dairy Free grated and Daiya Plant Based Cheese grated are the most popular and sought after.
Is it healthy to eat vegan cheese?
Eating anything excessively can be dangerous, be it vegan cheese or dairy. Generally, cheese has a high-fat content. Therefore, one should only consume it in moderate amounts.
Vegan cheese contains contain fibre and vitamins that can be a great aid for your digestive system. So, including cheese in your diet may contribute to healthy living if consumed in moderation.
Which vegan cheese is healthy?
While all vegan cheeses provide you with some of the nutritional benefits that the body needs, Treeline and Miyokos are two cheese brands that are considered the healthiest. Their cultures include probiotics that help to keep your gut in a good health.
Which supermarket is best for buying vegan cheese?
Even though there is a long list of supermarkets that sell vegan products, Vegan Supermarket UK is the best online supermarket that has the most products and best range to choose from.
Can you freeze vegan cheese?
There is no exception for vegan or dairy when it comes to water content. All vegan cheeses which have low water content and have a hard texture can be easily frozen such as vegan parmesan or vegan cheddar.
Freezing semi-soft cheeses can result is poor taste issues but the harder cheeses have a tendency to retain their texture once thawed. However, it is better if you use fresh soft cheese, so enjoy the perfect combination of flavour and texture.
Can you freeze Daiya cheese?
In accordance with the instructions provided by Daiya foods, their products should not be frozen except for grated cheese. In addition to this, they also recommend consuming the product within seven days of opening it.
Can you freeze Violife cheese?
Violife foods advise consumers not to freeze their products as they might lose their texture during the defrost and impair the taste experience.
Also, make sure that you thoroughly read the label before purchasing any product. Lastly, make sure that you consume moderate amounts to have a balanced diet.