Author Archives: Dani

8 Plant-Based Cheeses That Are Amazing

Who cares about plant-based cheeses? Real cheese is so ubiquitous in American culture that it’s hard to imagine life without it. When you go to the grocery store, you see dozens of cheese varieties on the shelf: cheddar, gouda, munster, mozzarella, brie, pepperjack, swiss, and more. It’s layered on pizza, stuffed into sandwiches, poured over nachos, and sprinkled on pasta. If you don’t think it’s that common, go to a restaurant and see how many dishes don’t contain cheese. No matter where you are in the world, from Europe to India to South America, cheese is a vital part of most countries’ cuisine.

When you started living the vegan lifestyle, you knew you’d have to give up cheese–it’s made from milk, after all. But now you’re wondering how long you can go without grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese fondue, cheese pizza, and hot nacho cheese sauce. Luckily, you’re not alone. Vegan cheese lovers just like you have developed recipes and commercial products that allow you to enjoy the delicious creaminess of cheese without compromising your vegan lifestyle. You can buy pre-made products at the store or make plant-based cheeses at home using a few simple ingredients. Firm, spreadable, soft, crumbly: it’s all possible in the world of vegan cheese.

Does this sound too good to be true? Here’s a list of some of the most popular types of vegan cheese (link to the wikipedia definition for good measure :)).

1. Tofu Cheese

Tofu is the classic vegan ingredient. The bland flavor and malleable texture make it a popular replacement for meat, cheese, and other products. Tofu is frequently used to make plant-based cream cheese, as well as mild “cheeses” like ricotta and feta. Most commercial brands use fermented tofu, as it gives the product a sharp, flavorful tang. You can make this product at home using a block of tofu that’s been pressed and soaked in marinade. The flavorings you use depend on what kind of cheese you’re aiming for, but nutritional yeast is typically added for that classic savory cheese flavor.

2. Cashew Cheese

Cashew cheese is another popular candidate for plant-based cream cheese, as well as spreads and sauces. Many vegans praise cashew cheese for being the closest to dairy cheese in terms of flavor and texture. A simple cheese to make at home! Throw some cashews in a food processor with a few flavorings, blend it up, and enjoy! You’ll have a delicious plant-based cheese dip that’s much healthier and less fattening than traditional dairy-based products. For more complex recipes, cashew cheese can be used like vegan cheddar and vegan Parmesan. If you’re feeling creative, you can even make vegan brie or Camembert.

3. Almond Cheese

Almond cheese has a distinct nutty flavor that makes it perfect for sharp, flavorful cheeses. Like cashew-based products, almond cheese is frequently used for dips and spreads that are flavored with spices and herbs. This product can be blended into a smooth, creamy spread, or shaped into a block that crumbles just like real feta cheese. You can use this healthy plant-based cheese in just about any recipe that calls for cheese: pasta, pizza, salads, sandwiches, etc. Some people even prefer it over dairy cheese because of its distinct flavor and texture.

4. Soy Cheese

Soy is another classic vegan ingredient. When you think of soy, you probably think of the cartons of soy milk that have graced grocery stores for decades. And just like regular milk, soy milk can be used to create a delicious plant-based cheese. To make soy cheese, you can boil soy milk and add lemon juice to make the milk “curdle.” Stir in the flavorings, strain the product with a cheesecloth, refrigerate the cheese overnight, and enjoy! Soy cheese is typically soft and spreadable, and can be flavored with your favorite combination of herbs and spices. This is a great alternative for cheese lovers with a nut allergy.

5. Rice Flour Cheese

While most vegan cheeses are soft, sometimes you want a healthy plant-based cheese that’s hard and firm. Rice flour cheese is a firm, sturdy product that slices and melts just like real cheese. You can even it grate it into shreds that resemble shredded provolone. Making rice flour cheese at home takes some time and a little experimentation, but when it’s done, you’ll have a flavorful hard cheese that won’t look out of place on a charcuterie board. You can enjoy this product as-is or add some nutritional yeast to give it a more cheesy, savory flavor.

6. Pine Nut Cheese

Tired of all the mild vegan cheeses? Pine nut cheese offers a bold kick of flavor that makes it the perfect alternative to goat cheese or Parmesan. Spread it on a cracker or stuff it in your fresh ravioli. This product is often used in pasta dishes because it’s soft and spreadable like ricotta, but sharp and tangy enough to catch your attention. And as a bonus, it’s full of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, protein, and iron. Skip the fattening cheeses and enjoy a lighter, healthier spread.

7. Sunflower Seed Cheese

Sunflower seeds might sound like an unlikely ingredient for cheese, but this product is smooth, creamy, and packed with nutritional benefits. This cheese is formed into a mold so it looks just like a wheel of real cheese. You can spread it on bread or slice it into wedges. Sunflower seed cheeses are also one of the cheapest products you can make, as bags of sunflower seeds can be bought at the local grocery store for a dollar or less. Add some nutritional yeast or miso paste for flavor, and you’ve got a savory cheese that doesn’t taste nutty or grainy.

8. Coconut Milk Cheese

If you don’t mind a product that’s a little more fattening, coconut milk has a similar fat content to dairy milk, making coconut milk cheese a rich, creamy, delicious cheese alternative. You can use coconut milk to make just about every cheese variety, including cheddar, Gouda, and provolone. You can also use coconut milk to create a rich sauce that’s perfect for nachos and macaroni and cheese. Experiment with different spices and flavorings to make a healthy cheese substitute that’s all your own!

So many vegan cheeses to choose from. Hopefully we gave you some more to think about and to try. If you liked this post make sure to check out our post about vegan milk options or even our Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac Review

9 Plant-Based Milk Options for Vegans

It seems like milk is in just about everything these days. It’s the main ingredient of cream, cheese, and yogurt, it’s poured over your morning cereal, it’s stirred into teas and lattes, it’s the base for various desserts, and it’s used to thicken sauces. Countless recipes recommend adding milk to your smoothies for an extra boost of calcium and nutrients. Question is how can you get those same vitamins and minerals in some plant-based options?

When you go to the grocery store, it seems like all you see is rows of cow’s milk. But with a little searching, you’ll find that there’s a whole world of healthy plant-based milk that’s just as creamy, nutritious, and versatile as the real thing. In fact, once you’ve had a sip of plant-based milk, you might find that you enjoy it more than the original! Here’s a quick rundown of the various types of vegan milk products on the market.

1. Soy Milk

Soy milk is the classic dairy-based alternative. Originally marketed as a product for people with lactose allergies, soy milk is made from boiled and filtered soybeans. This product looks and tastes like dairy milk, and has much fewer fat and calories. Most brands are fortified with nutrients so you can still get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. And unlike dairy milk, this product doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s open, making it a self-stable product that can last for months. However, it does require refrigeration once it’s been opened.

If you have the time, you can even make it at home using two ingredients: water and soybeans. But, if you’re like me, it’s much easier to pick it up from the grocery. I’ve put some options you can order directly from whole foods! Feel free to support the site by using the links 🙂

       

2. Almond Milk

Almond milk is another popular plant-based milk that’s graced grocery store shelves in the past few years. Almond milk is thinner than dairy milk and has a slightly nutty flavor. Some people actually prefer it over dairy milk because it tastes like a milkshake. You can drink it straight from the glass or use it as a dairy milk substitute in various recipes. Many people add it to smoothies because the nuts add an extra boost of protein. Like other plant-based products, this milk doesn’t have to be refrigerated before it’s opened.

If you have the patience you can make it at home with almonds and water. I would suggest trying to add different flavors to make it tastier. The other option is just by it from any major grocery store. I’ve made it easy for you and put some links that you can directly order via Whole Foods. 🙂

       

3. Oat Milk

Oat milk is one of the newcomers to the healthy plant-based milk industry. This product is made with a base of oats and water, although commercial brands add vitamins and minerals to give it extra nutrients. If you have a nut allergy, this is a great way to get a milk replacement in your diet. Oat milk is also infused with the natural power of oats, which are loaded with fiber, iron, and protein. Pour it in your afternoon tea and enjoy!

You might be able to find this product at your local grocery store, but it’s more likely that you’ll find it at specialty stores. You can also order it online and use the links below. 🙂

       

4. Coconut Milk

While coconut milk is typically used as an ingredient in tropical dishes and desserts, it also makes an excellent cow’s milk substitute. Coconut milk does have more fat and carbohydrates than other plant-based options, but it’s still healthier than traditional dairy products. This product is sweet and fruity and has the tropical flavor of real coconut. You can drink it by itself, add it to fruity cereal, or use it in a base in Eastern-inspired soups, sauces and curries.

You can find this product at some grocery stores, though it’s typically marketed as an ingredient more than a milk substitute. You can also make it at home by blending and straining a mixture of shredded coconut and water. Essentially, you’re drinking coconut purée.

5. Cashew Milk

fresh roasted cashew nuts texture close up view

Cashew milk is another newcomer to the world of healthy plant-based milk. If you don’t like almond-based milk, cashew milk is known to be faintly sweet and milder. The basic flavor profile make it perfect for adding to smoothies or lattes, or adding your own flavoring when you make cashew milk at home. Cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, maple syrup, and turmeric are just a few of the flavorings you can add to make your plain cashew milk a decadent treat. Commercial brands are typically fortified with vitamins and minerals, making this product a healthy way to start your day.

This product can be difficult to find in chain stores, but you might be able to find it in a vegan or health food store. You can also order it online or make it at home with cashews and water.

6. Rice Milk

It seems like you can do just about anything with rice–and now we can add rice milk to its long list of uses. A single glass of rice milk is full of nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. This product is made from a mixture of rice and rice syrup that’s sweetened with sugar of vanilla. It tends to be less creamy than other plant-based substitutes, but it has a unique flavor that can’t be beat. If you’ve tried everything else on this list and weren’t satisfied, maybe it’s time to give rice milk a shot.

You might be able to find rice milk at the store, but you’ll probably have better luck searching for it online. If you’ve got brown rice sitting around at home, you can also whip up a batch yourself.

7. Flaxseed Milk

Flaxseed milk hasn’t quite caught on with the mass market, but it’s a simple milk alternative that’s crammed with nutrition. A glass of flaxseed milk is full of nutrients like omega-3s, fiber, and protein. Unlike most plant-based products, which tend to be sweet, flaxseed milk has an earthy, nutty taste. It tends to be a hard sell because it doesn’t have the same appearance as dairy milk, but if you like the taste, you’ll find that it doesn’t matter. Drink a glass in the morning and enjoy the natural boost of nutrients.

You might be able to find the brand Flaxmilk at your local specialty food store. And like most plant-based products, flaxseed milk can be easily made at home with only a few basic ingredients.

8. Pea Milk

Yes, you read that right–you can get “milk” from peas! It might sound like you’re about to drink a pea soup smoothie, but pea milk is actually made from flour made from yellow peas. It has a smooth, creamy flavor and offers an additional choice for people with nut, soy, or gluten allergies. When you take a sip, you won’t even realized that this product was made from vegetables. You can add it to recipes just like dairy milk, although it might slightly alter the taste.

You can order commercial brands like Ripple online, or–if you’re lucky–find it at a nearby health food store. You can also make pea milk at home, using the same method for making nut milks.

9. Hemp Milk

When all else fails, there’s always hemp. For centuries, hemp has been praised for its myriad of uses as food, clothing, medicine, and even a building material. And now you can enjoy a tasty glass of hemp milk in the morning. You can flavor it with sweeteners like dates, chocolate, or vanilla, or simply enjoy it by itself. Like most plant-based products, it has a slightly nutty flavor.

You can find hemp milk products online or even make your own version at home with hemp, water, and your choice of flavoring or sweetener.

There is so much to try out there when it comes to plant-based milk options. For me and my family it becomes an adventure everytime we go to the grocery. in case you’re looking for some recipes to use for your plant-based milks be sure to check out some of recipes.