If you’re like most people, flipping to that first page in a new calendar triggers a fresh start, inspiring determination to do something differently. While it may be our wish that everyone’s aspirations for healthier living include eating vegan cheese, we recognize plant-based lifestyles spur lots of questions. Even those already following a flexitarian or vegetarian diet may have reservations about vegan cheese and how it measures up against dairy cheese. Because going dairy-free may feel like going into the unknown, let’s shed some light on the subject of vegan cheese by answering commonly asked questions!
What is Vegan Cheese Made of?
As you’re casually browsing the cheese section of your favorite grocery store on a Saturday afternoon (everyone does this, amiright?), you see a package marked “vegan cheese” and you’re wondering what that even is! If it’s not made of animal products, i.e. milk, what actually is it?
To truly answer “what is vegan cheese?,” it’s best to start with commonly used ingredients. Here are the three main elements of vegan cheese:
- Yeast – either as a protein to help with processing or as an extract to help with flavor, texture, or creamy goodness, yeast is a staple in vegan cheese, also adding nutritional value
- Vegetable oils – also helping with texture, vegetable oils like coconut and palm oil provide a nutty richness to vegan cheese
- Starches – contributing to the cheese’s ability to melt to perfection, starches derived from potatoes, arrowroot, chickpeas and tapioca are used
Often vegan cheese is made from nuts or soy or nut milks; however Vevan products are allergen-free and thus forgo these ingredients.
How is Vegan Cheese Made?
“Many people don’t realize it, but cheesemaking is actually very scientific,” says Christophe Megevand, one of the cheese whizzes behind Vevan. “There’s a lot of biology and microbiology that goes into developing the cultures and eliciting the right textures and flavors. Those same principles go into making a plant-based cheese. You’re still fine-tuning ingredients to achieve the right consistency and make it taste the way you want it to.”
Is it art? Is it science? We like to think vegan cheesemaking is both! While the method is somewhat similar to dairy cheese, Vevan combines the best plant-based ingredients with the talent of world-class cheesemakers like Christophe to create sensational flavors so authentic you’ll do a double-take (or maybe a double-taste!).
What Is Vegan Cheese?
Now that you know how vegan cheese is made and what it’s made of, let’s celebrate what Vevan vegan cheese is: insanely delicious, outrageously awesome plant-based cheese that makes cheese-lovin’ dreams come true!
Just as you’ve come to expect from its dairy counterparts, vegan cheese is available in many forms like:
- Melts – slices that are perfect for sandwiches, Vegan Charcuterie Boards, and surprisingly pizza
- Shred – sprinkle-able toppings on tacos and a staple ingredient in many recipes like this beloved Savory Vegan Mac-n-Cheese, a Vevanite favorite
- Spreads – our non-dairy UnCreamCheese mimics its dairy alternative so closely, you may have a hard time believing it’s actually plant-based
For those new to vegan cheese, you can fall back in love with all your favorite dishes by swapping dairy with:
- Ched – sharp, rich, bold and just right for a hit-the-spot grilled cheese or dipping sauce at your next party
- Mozza – soft, mild, stringy goodness ready for your lasagna Sunday dinner or savory apps like this Herbed Mozza Monkey Bread
- P’Jack – when peppery heat and creamy perfect collide, P’Jack spices up breakfast and makes Taco Tuesdays 100% awesome, 0% dairy
And please indulge in these awesome recipes – check back often for new ideas!
Does Vegan Cheese Melt?
Does the sun rise every morning? OF COURSE vegan cheese does melt, but here are two tips to help you achieve optimal goodness (and gooeyness!):
- Hotter – in general, plant-based cheese must be heated at higher temperatures for the creamiest and best results; if using an oven, expect to bake dishes at 425ºF or higher to experience that gooey perfection, like what’s found in this Incredible Vegan Pizza where you crank the oven to 475ºF!
- Longer – good things take time, so please be patient and expect a little extra prep time when using the stovetop or microwave; a good rule of thumb is to stop and stir often (for those decadent cheese sauces) and let the heat do the work.
Is Vegan Cheese Healthy?
Whether you’re avoiding dairy as a personal preference or health reasons like lactose intolerance, plant-based diets offer a myriad of health benefits. And while not all vegan cheeses are created equally, Vevan dairy-free cheeses use the highest quality, least processed ingredients and are:
- Certified Plant-based
Plus, we include probiotics in our cheesemaking process, helping to promote a healthy gut bacteria balance and support immune function! It is important to remember that when compared to dairy cheese, vegan cheese does have less protein. So be sure to find other plant-based protein sources to ensure a well-rounded, healthy diet. That’s why our recipes often incorporate other yummy ingredients like filling veggies and meat alternatives.
Ready to Try Vegan Cheese?
Now that you’ve been schooled on all things vegan cheese, we hope you’ll keep coming back for more! Be sure to follow Vevan on social media for the latest in product updates and recipe ideas and rediscover the flavors you’ve been missing.