Veganism is a daily adventure – navigating a food landscape defined by the meat industry can yield creative, fulfilling results. Being a vegan means working with restraints, three times a day, every day. There are plenty of vegan food options available – this was, after all, what all humans subsisted off of for hundreds of thousands of years.
That said, we can all get in our dietary ruts. We can only eat so many meals of rice and beans, or whatever your staple may be. There are plenty of fun, innovative foods out there that help take the day-to-day drudgery out of a diet that has become boring over the years. This is as true of omnivores as it is vegans. You’ve probably already discovered vegan cheeses – they’re a great way to spruce up most any meal. As you may also know, some kinds of vegan cheeses leave something to the imagination – they simply don’t satiate that cheesy urge you may have within.
Here are some of the best – and worst – vegan cheeses available. You’ll want to try a few of them before finding the right brand that is just right for your palette.
If you are willing to invest that extra dollar or two, Cheezly is definitely the cheese of choice. First off, it actually tastes like cheese. Try it raw on a salad, or just cut off a slab, and enjoy it as is. It melts down incredibly well, which makes it a prime candidate for almost any pizza, grilled cheese, or burrito you can think of. A gooey mess of deliciousness is consistent across any type of medium- – microwave, oven, pan, whatever. The catch is that it will run you a steep $9 for 7 oz. – that’s the same price as some of the fancier real cheeses at the deli counter. The best way to approach this cheese is as a special extravagance – buy it once a month or so, and truly indulge in its greatness. It’s available at some health food stores or cooperatives, but is most readily found online.
Teese typically comes in log form, and is a great, economical alternative to Cheezy, costing $7.50 for a solid pound worth of soy-cheesiness. The best part about this cheese is that is melts like crazy – nor problem getting it to melt in the oven or in the microwave. Simply toss it in, and watch it pool. It might even excel too much in this regard, as it can get a little too runny if cooked for too long. You can let it sit after it cooks for a while, though, and it will thicken back up again but still be gooey. It’s recommended that Teese be cooked, as it doesn’t taste perfect in its raw form. Still good, though.
Vegan Gourmet Cheese by Follow Your Heart
Vegan Gourmet is comparably priced to Teese – $4.50 for 10 oz. If the choice is between the two of these, the choice in clearly Teese. What Vegan Gourmet has going for it, though, is its availability. This stuff can be found at pretty much any health food store, so you don’t have to go through the always-strange process of ordering it online and waiting for your specialty food item in the mail. It melts alright – nothing special – and doesn’t taste great, but it does the trick in a bind. Some people swear by Vegan Gourmet, though, so don’t take my word for it. Best to give it a test run.
This is one of the newer vegan cheeses on the market. It’s definitely a contender. It has fantastic flavor – both melted and raw – and melts down properly. It can be used in the exact same way as you’d use cheese – soy-cheese bliss. There’s one catch, though, in that it only comes pre-shredded, so you can’t cut off slices for sandwiches and such. Other than that, near perfection.