Cheese lovers, rejoice! It’s now commonplace to find delicious dairy free cheese alternatives in almost every grocery store. Thanks to the growing global vegan cheese market, which, according to data curated by the San Francisco Chronicle, is worth a whopping $1.9 billion as of last year, there is now a multitude of vegan cheese options available for your enjoyment.
Miyoko Schinner, founder of Miyoko's Creamery recently introduced a game-changing cheddar and pepper jack cheese, as well as a nut-free oat milk butter that beat cow dairy in customer taste tests. Miyoko tells Vegconomist that the shift to plant-based options is not so much a trend as it is "a fundamental shift in consumer behavior" that's motivated by issues ranging from personal health and food sensitivities to concerns for the environment and animal welfare."
Future Market Insights also posited that the increasing affinity for vegan cheese is due to its versatility in use across different recipes. Manufacturers have introduced different kinds of plant-based cheeses to substitute popular cheeses, including cheddar, parmesan, ricotta, and cream cheese, opening the market to new consumers.
Here at Mother Raw, we’re proud to be able to offer a dairy free cheese alternative that’s accessible to a wide range of lifestyles and diets. If you're keen on trying it out, we’ve broken down some of the most common dairy-free ingredients in vegan cheeses below in order to help you decide which is right for you. We hope it may even inspire you to create your own dairy free cheese creation at home!
Soy is unsurprisingly one of the most common bases for vegan cheeses—and is popular in many plant-based animal-product substitute. Many brands that manufacture cheese alternatives have tofu or other forms of soy protein in them. Ingredients like oils and gums are mixed with soy to replicate the texture and taste of real cheese. If you follow a strict vegan diet, when buying soy-based cheese, you should be careful about its casein content. There are a lot of soy cheeses that have casein, a protein derived from animal milk. Be sure to read the labels and avoid this additive. Pro tip: it's usually listed as casein, calcium caseinate, or sodium caseinate.
As vegan blog Wag Free Food notes, coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut cream are popular ingredients to make vegan cheese. The high-fat content of coconut makes it easier to create a creamy, decadent, cheese-like product. To mask the potent and unique flavor of coconut, other ingredients, such as salt, garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice are also mixed in. This is ideal for people who want cheese that melts, stretches, slices, and grates.
Believe it or not, starchy flours like potato, tapioca, arrowroot, and all-purpose flour can also be used to make vegan cheese. But as flour cannot stand on its own, ingredients like almond milk, cashews, and white beans have to be added. More often than not, vegan cheeses that necessitate the use of large quantities of flour result in a sauce-like consistency. If you enjoy runny or fondue-like cheeses than the traditional slices, this one's for you.
Tree Seeds and Nuts
Raw tree and nuts are common options for making cheese. As NPR pointed out, the process requires culturing the milk or puree from the nuts with the same bacteria used by dairy cheesemakers and letting it mature. This is then blended with other ingredients like salt, nutritional yeast, and herbs to produce vegan cheese that's rather tasty. However, since this cheese has nuts as the base, it's not ideal for people who have allergies or intolerances to nuts.
A Safer Alternative
If you want a cheese that is free of cashews, dairy, gluten, and absolutely anything artificial, Mother Raw's Vegan Queso is the way to go. Unlike most vegan cheeses, this one is free of the top 8 common allergens and has a base of hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, resulting in decadent vegan cheese sauce. And while it has no preservatives or artificial flavors, it still delivers on a cheesy, zesty flavor. PRO TIP; It melts like magic. Stir it into your freshly cooked favouite pasta and witness the magic.
Author: Jackielyn Bluer