What Is The Best Vegan Cheese?
Alice from Earthly Delights Shares Her Ultimate Vegan Cheese Round-Up
Cheese is such a popular food, and we’re blessed to now have a plethora of dairy-free and vegan cheeses to choose from so we can still enjoy it, guilt-free. But which ones are worth your while?
It’s easy to understand why going meat-free is kind to the animals, but why is dairy cruel? Cows produce milk anyway… Right? Unfortunately, the meat industry and the dairy industry are one and the same, which means dairy also perpetuates harm to animals and to the planet.
Cows are forcibly impregnated so that their babies can be used for veal, and their milk used to fill up the dairy shelves in supermarkets. It’s important to remember that cows only produce milk to feed their young, and so it’s really not meant for humans.
But – ‘If dairy isn’t meant for us, why does it taste so good?’ – I hear you ask! Well, dairy is actually addictive. In fact, cheese contains casein, a protein that releases casomorphins which trigger the production of dopamine in your brain. It may taste good, but it doesn’t seem right for food to be so difficult to give up.
Although dairy tastes good, once we learn about the moral implications, the negative effects on our health and the fact that it’s mildly addictive, it suddenly seems much easier to ditch for good.
There are so many delicious dairy-free cheeses on the market now, and so we’re spoilt for choice! There are two main types of vegan cheese that you can get – cashew-based and coconut-oil based cheese.
Cashew cheese is the healthier option, but coconut-oil seems to be the best for simulating that thick, creamy cheese taste and texture.
It’s important to bear in mind that coconut oil is in no way healthy, so even vegan cheese should be enjoyed as a treat and not considered a ‘health-food’, despite being the healthier and kinder option to dairy.
Without further ado, here is my round-up of some of the best vegan cheeses in the UK, all of which can easily be found in supermarkets nationwide.
Applewood Vegan Smoked Cheese
This is a firm favourite amongst the vegan community. It tastes so much like the original, making this my personal favourite.
It’s ideal for those of you who love to just nibble on cheese as a naughty snack. This smoky cheese also melts a little when you heat it up, making it versatile enough to use in cooking.
You can buy it in packs of slices too – the perfect addition to a sandwich when you’re in a rush. You can buy it in Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
Tesco Free-From Alternative To Soft Cheese
This one is a great budget alternative to the Creamy Violife cheese. You can pick up a tub for £1.80, while the Violife tub is £2.50.
They’re both delicious, but I find the Tesco free-from soft cheese to do the job, and I’m all about saving money where possible. Plus, the Tesco’s version is enriched with calcium. It works nicely as part of a creamy pasta sauce.
Mexicana Vegan Cheese
Mexicana is a classic flavour, and now we can enjoy it without dairy, too. This cheese is also gluten and soya free, so it really can be enjoyed by all.
It’s available at Christmas in the Ilchester Festive cheese bundle, but you can buy it all year-round at Asda. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that other supermarkets begin stocking it year-round, too.
Green Vie Mozzarella Flavour Cheese
This mozzarella-style cheese is perfect for cooking. I used it in a risotto and it really did melt just like mozzarella! The taste was fantastic, too.
Another big bonus with the Green Vie cheese, is that it’s enriched with B12 – something everyone should be incorporating more of into their diet.
It’s also palm oil-free, so you’re helping the planet in more ways than one. You can find Green Vie Mozzarella Flavour cheese in Tesco.
Sheese Grated Mozzarella Style Cheese
Points for the best lazy option, go to Sheese’s grated mozzarella style cheese. Just open the resealable bag and sprinkle this stuff on your food, stick it under the grill and it’s like having real melty mozzarella.
Perfect for homemade pizza, cheese on toast, pasta bakes and generally anything that requires a cheesy top.
Plus, it’s soya-free so it’s suitable for those with an allergy. You can find this product in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
Follow Your Heart Dairy Free Smoked Gouda Slices
This cheese was voted 6th in the best vegan cheeses round up, as voted by followers of @vegan_food_uk.
I’ve not tried it myself, but I’ve heard wonderful things. Many reviews from people who don’t like vegan cheese have said it’s the first one they like, which I think is a strong testimonial. You can find it in Tesco and Ocado.
Violife Original Block Cheese
You can’t beat a classic ‘block’ of cheese for versatility. Ideal for grating, slicing, melting and nibbling – this vegan original flavour cheese block is the perfect replacement for your usual block of cheddar.
Violife are leading the way for delicious vegan cheese that imitates dairy, and this product is no exception. Find it in Asda, Tesco and Morrisons.
I hope you find this guide helpful! These make up just a fraction of the mouth-wateringly delicious vegan cheeses that you can buy.
This guide has aimed to whittle it down to the best cheese across the board in terms of popularity, taste, price and accessibility.
Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite supermarket-available vegan cheese, not listed here.
Words by Alice, Earthly Delights, @earthlydelightsvegan