If you tried vegan cheese several years ago, it was likely rubbery and didn’t taste great, but wow, have vegan cheese come a long way. The vegan cheeses available now are such a close hit to normal cheese, and they taste, smell, and even melt the same!

Source: DW Food/Youtube

Vegan products are flying off the shelves, and the global vegan food market is expected to reach $22 billion by 2025. While meat alternatives are becoming more and more realistic, so is cheese. But many still have no idea how it’s made.

Cheese is a complicated structure to replicate, as it is solid at room temperature and can melt and stretch at higher temperatures. Many vegetable fats can make the product melt, like coconut oil and palm oil but getting the cheese to stretch is where the real problem of replication lies. Dairy cheese stretches because of a protein found in cow’s milk called casein, which has been liked to many health issues. No one has been able to find a vegan alternative. However, when almost all hope for vegan cheese was lost, an ingredient came into the game to change everything: cashew nuts.

Cashews are creamy and are used for many cheese alternatives and vegan creams. For vegan cheese, it can be blended into a paste, fermented, and since the flavor is relatively dull, it’s easy to add a variety of different flavors.

Tyne Chease is an artisan cheese shop in the UK that uses cashews to make their delectable variety of plant-based cheeses. The cheesemakers use fermented cashews and leave them to age for up to two weeks, though the time depends on the product.

According to the BBC, Tyne Chease’s cashew nut base has a straightforward ingredient list with only water, salt, cultures, and cashew nuts. There is around 12 to 13g of protein per 100g of vegan cheese.

Source: Vegan Cheese/Youtube

Many other plant-based cheese companies use oils like coconut, however, it is very high in saturated fat, even higher than butter and lard. But vegan cheese connoisseurs argue that people who eat vegan cheese aren’t doing it because they think it has amazing health benefits.

“I don’t think anyone consuming vegan cheese thinks it’s healthy,” Chantelle Adkins at the Vegan Society told the BBC. “That’s not the intention of vegan cheese – the intention is to give a component to a dish. It’s a misconception that vegans are healthy all the time.”

Adkins says that fortifying cheeses with vitamins like B12 should be something vegan cheesemakers are focusing on to improve the nutritional value of their products.

Vegan haters argue that sourcing ingredients for vegan cheese like cashews and coconut oil carry a load of ethical issues. It’s almost funny that the people consuming meat and dairy are calling these practices “unethical.” Studies have shown that people who take a course in meat ethics and see the actual reality of what happens to animals on farms are more likely to consume less meat.

Vegan cheese companies should always look for Fairtrade products and make sure they are sourcing sustainable materials, but so should every other company, including ones making animal products. Vegan cheese does not harm animals and doesn’t carry the same health risks that dairy does. It’s never been a better time to try the realistic vegan cheeses on the market!

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer, and has many side effects.

For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App, which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

Recipies with vegan cheese to make at home:

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