Vegan Cheese: Love it or Leave it?

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I’ve given up dairy milk completely.  I could go without eggs (although Jim’s frittatas make it hard to do so).  And butter replacements are not hard to find.

But cheese?  I’ve mentioned numerous times that cheese is just something I’m not ready to part with it.

But knowing how addictive it can be and how detrimental cheese can be for your health, I’ve made a conscious effort to try and kick the habit.  Cashews and nutritional yeast are great substitutes, but the texture is never quite the same as the ooey gooey mess that originates from the real deal.  Recently though, Arikka wholeheartedly committed to veganism (SO happy that someone has enough will power to do it!) and began testing out the fake cheeses- most of them soy based.

So I figured I’d give it a try.  I’d tried out the Daiya version, which SUCKED because it virtually just turns into liquid unless your baking it on super high heat, which means it’s a no go for pizza, quesadillas and more of my favorite foods that don’t take long to cook.

I had high hopes for the Follow Your Heart brand, as it had a short list of ingredients that I could actually pronounce.  Their blocks of various types of “cheese” range in all sorts of flavors, so I was instantly drawn to the mozzarella version, because the consistency looked and felt somewhat similar to actual cheese.  It also resembles your standard block of tofu, so I had mixed thoughts as I attempted to cook a vegan margherita pizza.  It took MUCH longer to get the cheese to melt, but overall it looked exactly like mozzarella and had a very mild, subtle taste that you almost didn’t notice.  But at least the texture was realistic and it didn’t taste like tofu (or something worse).  Another friend of mine also used the mozzarella in a pasta dish and pulsed it in the food processor, which also, didn’t stand out much in the dish it all.

Great on pizza, OK in pasta but not much else, unfortunately.  I tested out the cheddar in quesadillas, tried some straight up and Arikka attempted to use it in tacos, all of which were an epic fail.  I would suggest putting in extra spices or trying to liven up the flavor a bit, but its dense texture and obviously high temperature gauge makes it difficult to work with.

My advice?  Go vegan and avoid recipes that call for cheese all together.  And if you’re continuing to use the real thing, just use it sparingly.

(margherita pizza- legit cheese or vegan?……OK, it’s vegan)

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Butternut Squash & Radicchio Flatbread with Arugula Pesto « The Vegetarian Pact's Blog

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