Say Cheese. Probably the item that people struggle the most to leave behind, when transitioning to a plant-based diet. Why is that? What is it that is so tantalising about the coagulation of milk protein into a rectangle, a wheel or a triangle?
I have been asking myself the question for 4 years. While I’m still figuring it out, I am sampling every vegan cheese there is, to find a product I can roll with (too cheesy?). Don’t fret though, as it turns out that MANY amazing and affordable products do exist. You just have to know where to look. And that’s where FGGV comes to your rescue.
This is my TOP 5 SUPERMARKET-AVAILABLE CHEESE ALTERNATIVES. And no joke, I actually had to grate them down (daym, I’m good), because there were so many. Shocking, I know. But welcome to the future!
Caveat – none of these cheeses taste EXACTLY like their dairy counterpart. But I think that’s okay. I don’t need it to taste exactly the same as the fermented breast milk of a bovine mammal. 😉
Same system as usual:
- BEST FOR
- FOUND IN
LET’S DO THIS.
Applewood Vegan – Smoky Cheese Alternative
I had been waiting in anticipation, for Applewood to bring out a vegan version of one of my former go-to cheeses – the smoked cheddar. Then finally in September 2019, dreams came true. It hit the shelves and my mouth, almost simultaneously. I couldn’t actually wait to get home to try it, so ripped the packet open then and there, Fantastic Mr Fox style. I guzzled it down like it was in short supply. “You don’t understand how long I’ve been waiting”, I told horrified onlookers.
This exercise confirmed that it can be eaten straight from the fridge: morning, day, night. Indoors or outdoors. Public or private. Whoever said that eating cheese at night gives you cheesemares, clearly never tried vegan smoked cheese right before bed.
Having now gotten used to its existence in our world, my current preference with this fella is to eat it on toast, with a drizzle of soy sauce and black pepper. It’s so smoky and melts like an absolute champ under the grill. @applewood_cheese, you have outdone yourselves. Praised be.
BEST FOR: Grilled cheese on toast
FOUND IN: ASDA
Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
This can be found in most Sainsbury’s, if you know where to look. It’s never on the shelf I expect. This is a pre-grated NOTzarella offering from Daiya. I have tried it in a few ways – on top of a pasta bake, on toast, for white sauce, but I find it is best on pizza, because it can STRETCH! That’s a bold claim, but hey, don’t ask me, ask @daiyafoods how they do it. DaiYAAAMMM.
It is a coconutty-type flavour, but isn’t overpowering. Don’t be surprised if you shout ‘Mozza-HELLYEAH’ when you try it.
BEST FOR: Pizza
FOUND IN: Sainsbury’s (in that weird fridge at the end of the aisle, that has loads of random free-from products thrown in together).
Sheese Creamy Garlic & Herb
If you picked this up by accident, there is basically NO WAY you would know this was a vegan product (other than the large writing saying ‘100% DAIRY FREE’, of course). I would love to get a blind taste test set up, for my non-vegan mates. I would bet money they couldn’t tell the difference between this, and it’s dairy-filled asshole of a cousin: the garlic & herb Philadelphia cheese.
Perfect as a spread on a bagel with any toppings, but I could just as easily eat this plain with a spoon, on horribly dry crackers, or lick it off _________ (you decide, I won’t judge). It’s that good. YES, SHEESE!
BEST FOR: Cream Sheese Bagel
FOUND IN: Waitrose
VioLife Greek White Block
Okay, now this was a shock entry into the top 5. @VioLife_foods is a good starting point for vegan cheese novices. The standard slices can be quite plasticky in texture, but work for a quick cheese and pickle sandwich. However, this is a different guy altogether. It’s thick, creamy and tangy (yes, I did just say that). I did make the mistake of trying to grill it though, and it turned into a sauce rather than becoming crispy as I was expecting. But hey, now you know, so you won’t make this crucial and rather sad error.
I made vegan Greek kebabs, and this ‘cheese’ really took it to the next level. This is a full-on coconut base though, so if you don’t like coconut, here’s a tip: don’t buy this product. You won’t like it. No amount of fermenting and coagulating can disguise this level of coconut, to someone who sees it more as cocoNOT.
BEST FOR: Kebab or salad
FOUND IN: Tesco
Follow Your Heart – PepperJack Slices
Ooohhhhhbabythishasgotapunchtoit, that I very much enjoy. Follow your Heart is a darling of a brand, with so many products, it was hard to choose just one to highlight. Their big hitter is probably Vegenaise, and they are lesser known for their cheeses, but shouldn’t be.
It was a toss-up between @followyourheart Pepperjack & Smoked Gouda, both of which are stellar products. BUT, the Pepperjack tips it for me. You can find the Smoked Gouda on the PLANT burger at Honest – many people won’t believe you when you tell them it’s vegan. I believe you.
You can eat Pepperjack on its own, but I like it in sandwiches, atop a Beyond Burger or as a shoulder to cry on. It has that slightly unexpected and feisty kick, like a young but zealous ninja, that I just keep coming back for, time and time again.
BEST FOR: Sandwiches, on top of burgerz or for emotional support.
FOUND IN: Ocado or Planet Organic
And now for the pièce de résistance… The Master Table.
Here I have coagulated (good one), all 5 VEGAN SUPERMARKET CHEESES into a handy comparison chart. Here you quickly get to see which is FREE FROM what, has the LOWEST CARBS, HIGHEST FAT or is the most expensive. It’s all here baby!
That’s it from me, for cheese… for now.