When it comes to snacking, at least in America, cheese is a major component. Think about it. A mountain of tortilla chips simply isn’t a snack without a drizzle of zesty nacho cheese. Buffalo wings seem incomplete without some creamy Blue cheese dip on the side. And, of course, cheesy snacks like chips, puffs, nuts, and crackers, are always a welcome addition to any spread. If you’re looking to avoid dairy, it might seem like all of these snack options are off the table, but we’re happy to report that nowadays there are plenty of alternatives that fit the cheesy bill!
That’s right, Green Monsters. Using nuts and seeds like cashews, seasonings like nutritional yeast, or vegetables like red bell peppers and carrots, companies today are able to supply all of the cheesy flavor consumers love without the use of any actual dairy! Talk about a life hack. Here are 15 cheesy snacks and dips that will wow your guests!
Living Nutz I Love Vegan Cheezy Almonds
Almonds make a pretty wholesome and nourishing snack on their own, but if you’re tired of just eating them plain, try out Living Nutz I Love Vegan Cheezy Almonds. These almonds are raw, sprouted, and dried, not roasted like many other nuts on the market today. The cheesy powder sprinkled on these almonds is made with pumpkin seeds, red pepper, olive oil, gluten-free tamari, lemon, and sea salt. This snack is also gluten-free and organic. Reviewers are saying that these nuts are tasty (and very cheesy), addicting, and fresh. They are a bit on the expensive side, though. One three-ounce bag is about $11.
Earth Balance Aged White Cheddar Puffs
Earth Balance Aged White Cheddar Puffs are essentially a dairy-free version of Pirate’s Booty. According to reviewers, these puffs have all the light, airy, and most importantly, cheesy flavor of the traditional snack, no dairy required. Specifically, these gluten-free puffs are made with cornmeal, white bean powder, expeller pressed sunflower oil, maltodextrin, salt, onion powder, sugar, garlic powder, lactic acid (vegan), citric acid, yeast extract, and natural flavor. Reviewers are saying that you can find these offered at a more economical price elsewhere but if you don’t happen to live near a store that offers them, you can get three four-ounce bags for about $7 each.
Nacho Mom's Vegan Queso
Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso is a healthier alternative to processed nacho dip. Made primarily of tomatoes, green chilies, and nutritional yeast, this cheese is free of fat, soy, and nuts, and the whole jar is only 120 calories. Reviewers are raving about this dip, saying that this product is great on nachos and Latin fare, has amazing texture, and “tastes like the real deal.” Don’t expect this dip to taste like a healthy vegan dip, though, as reviewers have pointed out, Nacho Mom’s is trying to emulate cheesy dips like Tostito’s, which aren’t the most natural-tasting products either. If this is the kind of cheese you’re looking for you can get this four pack – two “Ultimate Queso,” one “Fire-Roasted,” and one “Hatch Chile” – for $30.
Brad’s Raw Chips: Cheddar
Think you need dairy to get authentic cheddar-y flavor? Think again. Brad’s Raw Chips: Cheddar get their cheesy flavor with the following ingredients: carrots, red bell peppers, nutritional yeast, flax seeds, raw buckwheat groats, scallions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, cayenne pepper, and Himalayan sea salt. These chips are dehydrated, not baked or fried. Reviewers are saying that these are tasty, “fabulously healthy,” and considering the quality ingredients, worth the price. You can get 12 three-ounce bags for little more than $65.
Living Intentions Cheesy Salad Booster
It’s amazing what ingredients you can combine to create an authentically cheesy flavor. Living Intentions Cheesy Salad Booster, for instance, uses seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, chia, sesame – spirulina, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and an assortment of spices. The result? A product that is similar to nori in texture with a distinct cheesy taste. Reviewers report using this product in salads, soups, homemade dressings, pizza, and stir fries. The consensus among reviewers seems to be that this product isn’t trying to emulate cheese, but rather introduce cheesy undertones to your dishes. You can get one three-ounce bag for $11.
Beyond Better Cashew Cheese Sauce
While cashews are great for making dense cheeses similar to brie or manchego, they also are great for making pourable sauces, like Beyond Better Cashew Sauce. This cheese alternative is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and organic. Since it’s made from cashews, this sauce not only has a nutty flavor, but it is high in nutrients in protein, with one serving (1/4 cup) having six grams. Each package contains enough powder to make three cups worth of sauce, you simply have to add hot water and mix. Reviewers are saying that this cheese is surprisingly healthy, “unbelievably delicious,” and is perfect for mac and cheese. You can get one packet for $9.
Wonderfully Raw Cheezy Herb Truffle Snip Chips
Are you always looking for creative ways to incorporate lesser-known vegetables, like parsnips, into your routine? If so, consider bringing Wonderfully Raw Cheezy Herb Truffle Snip Chips into your snack rotation. This raw, gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan snack is made with parsnips, dried unsweetened coconut, red bell pepper, nutritional yeast, raw cashews, coconut nectar, lemon, garlic, basil, rosemary, truffle oil, and Himalayan crystal salt. Reviewers are saying that while this treat is tasty, cheesy, and made from wholesome ingredients, the pieces are very small making for quite a messy snack. If you’d still like to try it, you can get one two-ounce bag for $7.50.
Alive and Radiant Foods Kale Krunch: Quite Cheezy
If plain kale chips aren’t necessarily your jam, don’t give up on this healthy treat yet! With the right seasoning, kale goes from bland to exciting, super quickly. Alive and Radiant Foods Kale Krunch: Quite Cheezy, for example, is a raw, gluten-free, and soy-free snack made with organic kale, red bell peppers, organic cashews, organic lemon juice, organic nutritional yeast, Himalayan crystal salt, and organic chia seeds. The reviewers are mixed on this one. Some reviewers feel that the chips are yummy, addicting, and worth ordering over and over again. Others feel that the fragility of this snack make it too messy to eat and that they are simply too expensive to re-order multiple times. To see how you feel about it, you can get one 2.2-ounce bag for about $6.
Daiya Blue Cheese
Do you love the creamy, robust, and tangy flavor of blue cheese sauce, but are trying to avoid dairy? If so, consider checking out Daiya Blue Cheeze Dressing. This dairy-free and egg-free sauce is made from non-GMO expeller pressed canola oil, water, white vinegar, cane sugar, sea salt, vegan natural flavors, potato starch, potato protein, whole algal flour, vegan cultured dextrose, xanthan gum, lemon juice concentrate, onion, and spices. Reviewers are saying that this dressing is very creamy (not chunky like some blue cheese dressings), tastes “absolutely amazing” and “just like blue cheese,” and is a much easier alternative to making blue cheese dressing from scratch. You can get one 8.36-ounce bottle for a little over $5.
Sunbiotics: Cheesy Almonds
Sunbiotics: Cheesy Almonds is one of those snacks that tastes like an indulgence but is actually quite good for you! This gluten-free, raw, and organic snack is made with soaked and sprouted almonds that are generously coated with nutritional yeast, sea salt, and a potent probiotic blend. Reviewers are saying that these almonds are “surprisingly cheesy,” undeniably good for you, and definitely a “different” type of snack. To try it out yourself, you can get one 1.5-ounce package for $8 .
Earth Balance Cheddar Squares
When it comes to cheesy snacks, Cheez-It Crackers are one of the most popular. And guess what? Even if you’ve decided to ditch dairy, your days of snacking in cheesy delight may not necessarily be over. According to reviewers, Earth Balance Cheddar Squares offer (pretty much) all of the taste, crunch, and addicting cheddar flavor of the original snack without any dairy. Instead, this snack is made with unbleached pastry flour, enriched unbleached wheat flour, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, water, canola oil, cornstarch, paprika, annatto, dehydrated toasted onion, and a few other ingredients. You can get six, six-ounce boxes for $18.
Zest Basil Pesto
While most pestos on the market include Parmesan cheese, Zest Basil Pesto is dairy-free. It is made with vegetable oil, Brazil nuts, basil, white wine vinegar, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, garlic, salt, apple juice concentrate, black pepper, toasted sesame oil, and chili. Reviewers are reporting that this pesto is “delicious and complex,” nutty, salty, and spicy, and worth the price. If you feel yourself craving the slight cheesiness regular pesto provides, you can always add non-dairy cheese, as some reviewers did. You can get one 165-gram jar for $9.
Rhythm Superfoods Zesty Nacho Kale Chips
If you love kale, you will love Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips. Even if you’re not the biggest kale fan, reviewers are saying that these “zesty nacho cheese” kale chips are worth a try. To make this snack, kale leaves are air-crisped under low heat and then seasoned generously with a spicy blend of organic sunflower seeds, vegetable powders, herbs, and spices. While many reviewers have pointed out that these chips are on the expensive side, almost all of them have raved about the cheesy flavor, the wholesome ingredients, and the addicting texture of these chips. You can get four two-ounce bags for about $22.
Green Mustache: Mustache Munchies Cheddarish Crackers
Green Mustache: Mustache Munchies Cheddarish Crackers are exactly what they sound like: organic, gluten-free, and vegan baked “cheddar” crackers. They are made with chickpea flour, certified sustainable palm oil, potato starch, rice flour, kale purée, pea protein, yeast extract, onion powder, rice vinegar, salt, ground chia seed, garlic powder, and annatto powder. Reviewers are saying that these crackers are healthy, crunchy, flavorful, and “a crowd pleaser.” To see if you feel the same, you can get three four-ounce bags for about $16.
Beyond Better Sunflower Sauce
When looking at sunflower seeds, the last thing you probably think about is cheese. But as Beyond Better Savory Sunflower Sauce proves, with a little nutritional yeast, tapioca, sea salt, and plenty of herbs and spices, sunflower seeds can be transformed into a thick, velvety, and cheesy sauce. This sauce is free from soy, gluten, and grains, and each serving (1/4 cup) has six grams of protein. One packet makes three cups worth of sauce simply by adding hot water and mixing. Since it’s a dry mix that requires no refrigeration, Beyond Better suggests packing this powder for road trips or camping expeditions. Reviewers have been adding this sauce to baked potatoes, broccoli, and chili. You can get one package for a little over $8.50.
Lead image source: Chickpea Fondue