Cheese seems to be the sticking point for many non-vegans as their reason for not making the change and believe me I get it……Cheese does taste great, there is no getting around it. It is delicious, versatile and let’s face it, addictive! The thought of a cheeseless life filled me with horror and genuine sadness because I was hooked!
Making The Change
I made the decision to ditch the dairy because of the cruelty involved with the industry, I wanted to play absolutely no part in that anymore. If you wanted to read a little more about the realities of life as a dairy cow and their babies born as byproducts of the industry click here, the article also offers good dairy alternative for milk, cream, yoghurt and chocolate rather than just focusing on cheese as I do here.
When I first went vegan the dairy-free cheese was my biggest disappointment. I found meals easy to create and delicious tasting, oat milk ensured my cereals were still as enjoyable and I found great alternatives for all of our favourites including pizzas, ice creams and chocolates but cheese eluded me. They all tasted quite foul and I always likened them to a sweaty coconut.
I decided to go cold turkey (can vegans say that?) and abstain from trying any more for three months to allow my taste buds to change. I then started to reintroduce it and over the last three years I have tried most of the ones out there on offer to us and a few firm favourites have emerged.
I thought I would share this article as any other dairy recommends I have done before are not focused just on cheese and over the years I have found other ones I now prefer over some I have recommended in the past. I use different vegan cheeses for different purposes and will share here our family favourites for cooking with (melts well), for making sandwiches and the ultimate for eating straight out of the packet and using on crackers. This last category was the holy grail for me and I only found one I liked in the last few months and I am so glad I did. I am sure my waistline won’t thank me but my tastebuds certainly do.
Best Vegan Cheeses
ASDA Free From Cheddar – Rating 9/10
- Melts Well
- Excellent in a toasty or for topping pizzas and pasta
- Makes a nice sandwich – my favourite being grated cheddar with vegan mayo and salad
- Comes in a block or a grated bag
- Long life
- Easily Available and affordable
ASDA – Free From Soft Cheese
Garlic and Herb – Rating 10/10 and Plain – 8/10
- The best tasting vegan cream cheeses I have found!
- Plain – amazing for cooking with, makes a cracking creamy sauce, cheesecake, cream cheese icing and pasta sauce. Nice on sandwiches but not as tasty as other vegan cheeses hence the slight drop in score.
- Garlic and Herb – amazing in every way – tastes identical to Boursin. My guilty pleasure is eating this by the tub dipping ready salted flavour pop-chips into it (shameful I know).
- Long Life
- Easily available and affordable.
Violife Original Flavour Slices – Rating 8/10
- Great for quick, easy butties! These are a lifesaver in the kids packed lunch boxes. Lovely with salad and mayo, chutney or one of our other favouirtes – sausage (Richmond vegan being the sausage of choice at the moment) and ketchup.
- A little resistant to melting – you can encourage it by spraying a little oil onto the slice but this just adds calories and I tend to only do it if I have run out of the ASDA cheddar.
- Long life
- Easily available and cost effective at just 25p per slice
Food By Sumear – Various flavours, priced by weight – rating 11/10
I can’t find words to describe just how much I love these cheeses, they are simply divine! They are made by Sumear who is an ex dairy cheesemaker, he specialises in vegan cheese and extra long-aged vegan cheeses.
I spent years trying to find a decent vegan cheese to enjoy on a cracker or for the ultimate cheese sandwich – no cooking involved, without having to add anything to help the taste and I have finally found it.
His range is fantastic, so much choice but for me, as an ex cheddar obsessive my absolute favourite is Sumear’s Original Sharp you buy it by weight and yes it is obviously more expensive than the supermarket blocks (I pay around the £5 mark for 150g) but I promise you, you get what you pay for, it goes a really long way and they are worth every penny. For a special cheeseboard, these are ideal and I am so pleased to have found them.
Click the link to view his Facebook page.
Let’s Talk Pizza
I’m not going to mess about here……2020 saw that rise of the best shop-bought, oven-baked pizza that just happens to be vegan! It’s even convinced Matt, my other half who hasn’t been massively overwhelmed with vegan pizzas until now.
Chicago Town Vegan Crust – BBQ Jackfruit Pizza
Honestly guys……it’s the best! The base is incredible, grab yourself one before me and Matt eat them all.
The Kids Favourite Vegan Pizza
The kids adore Zizzi and Pizza Express but if I am doing a pizza at home for them they really like the M&S Vegan 3 Cheese Plant Kitchen pizza. All of the plant kitchen range is wonderful but this pizza is particularly yummy.
Other Shop Bought Pizzas We Enjoy…….
The two mentioned above are our favourites but we also like:
- Kirsty’s Gluten Free Cheese & Tomato – £3.50 each at Tesco
- ASDA and Morrisons – Create your own pizza counter offer a vegan cheese alternative
- Iceland stock a range by Gino Dacampo and the Italian Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic Flatbread is divine!!! They are £1.50 each and we often pop a bit of the ASDA grated cheddar ontop with some veggies. Delicious.
I really hope you have found that useful! As always if you have any questions about making the switch to veganism, raising vegan children or just have a question you think I could help with please do message me, my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for reading! Happy Eating.
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Love from Em x