Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out on cheese. That ooey-gooey grilled cheese or a snack of sharp cheese on a cracker are still in reach with the plant-based alternatives offered at the Co-Op. Vegan cheeses are available in so many flavors and textures, perfect for anyone from a cheddar lover to a mozzarella maniac! They even come in all shapes and sizes like blocks, sauces, slices, shreds and spreads. There are plant-based versions of soft cheeses like ricotta and cream cheese, perfect for weeknight lasagnas or your morning bagel. You’ll find them in the dairy section, where there are lots of different brands available for you to try and enjoy.
Some non-dairy brands are vegan, but others incorporate some other ingredients that are potential allergens. For our customers with certain allergies or dietary needs, picking the right type of plant-based cheese is important.
Many of the cheese alternatives are oil-based cheeses. Brands like Daiya®, Follow Your Heart®, Chao® and Toffutti® use different oils as the main ingredient to recreate that classic, cheesy goodness. Many of them use coconut oil or soy as their main ingredient to flavor the cheese and give it the right texture. These cheeses are creamy and melt well in any recipe, but give them a little extra time and use lower heat to get the best result. For customers with soy allergies or coconut allergies, we recommend checking the ingredients in your cheese before purchasing.
Some plant-based cheeses use nuts as their main ingredient. Brands like Miyoko’s® use cashews to achieve their creamy texture. Kite Hill® and Lisanatti® use almonds as the base of their cheesy creations. Lisanatti is plant based cheese, but is not vegan. It is almond based, but contains the milk protein casein, making it unsuitable for vegans and those with certain dairy allergies. For our lactose-intolerant customers, it is a great cheese alternative. Some of these come in softer varieties that are similar to cream cheese or brie, and they spread easily on crackers or toast. Others have a solid texture that’s similar to the oil-based cheese alternatives. These cheeses are delicious, but not recommended for customers with nut allergies.
So don’t feel blue if you find yourself missing cheese on a plant-based diet or due to dairy allergies. You can find the perfect plant-based cheese for all your cheesy cravings.