So, you’re new to eating dairy-free maybe you’ve been eating plant-based for a while, and you’re seriously missing cheesy, melty, and stretchy cheese. Eating plant-based doesn’t mean you’re going to be skimping on any cheesy goodness. It simply means you’re just cutting out the dairy derived cheeses – the ones that come from animals.
Dairy might taste good to some, but it’s not good for us. Making the choice to opt for a dairy-free cheese can be a great way to avoid these negative health impacts – and even try a new taste treat in the process! So, what cheeses and cheese substitutes work best depending on what you’re making? There are a variety of delicious plant-based cheeses out there to buy and even more recipes to make your very own plant-based cheeses. Don’t worry, you can still have grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and even cheesy pizza thanks to a variety of plant-based cheeses!
1. Grilled Cheese
You’ve ditched the dairy cheese, and you’re heading straight into the world of plant-based cheeses. What first? For me, I love a good grilled cheese. I find the best store-bought cheese to use for grilled cheese to be Field Roast’s Chao Slices. You could easily fool someone into thinking these are dairy-based with the stretchy, melty texture when it sits between two perfectly grilled slices of bread. Daiya is another big dairy-free brand that can be found in most conventional grocery stores. The flavors of Daiya’s deliciously dairy-free slices are a bit stronger than Chao, so you can mix and match to find the perfect blend for your ultimate dairy-free grilled cheese. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, check out these 10 Homemade Vegan Cheeses to Add in Your Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwich, or get creative and make up your very own grilled cheese using a combinations of homemade cheeses and store-bought.
2. Mac and Cheese
Personally, mac and cheese was what I thought I would miss most after going vegan, but you would be surprised at just how mind-blowing vegan mac and cheese can be. Creamy? Check. Cheesy? Check. Delicious? Check! You can, again, get creative and make your own using whole foods like potatoes, carrots, and nutritional yeast (or “nooch”).
Nutritional yeast is a funny little guy that has a flaky texture and a cheesy taste. You can sprinkle it on most anything to add a cheesy kick or use it in a recipe to make vegan cheese to make mac and cheese. Not only is nooch good, but it’s good for you. It’s high in protein, is chock full of vitamin B-12, and is versatile. Check out 5 Reasons Why Nutritional Yeast Rocks. Besides that, Daiya shreds are also another versatile and awesome way to quickly make your own mac and cheese! They also offer an easy-to-fix boxed version that requires very few steps.
Finally, where would we be without pizza? Yes, you can have a cheese-less pizza, but that’s not nearly as much fun as being creative with plant-based cheeses. You’ll be singing pizza praises once you try a slice of a vegan pizza with deliciousness from Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella. Or go mostly cheeseless, load up on sauce and veggies, and sprinkle with nooch for a subtle but cheesy taste!
Next time a friend or family members asks you, but what do you do about cheese, invite them over for dinner and blow their socks off and show them you can have cheese without the dairy!
Let us know below what your favorite plant-based cheese is and how you use it!
Lead image source: Southwestern Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich