We’ve got a lot of experience with vegan cheeses here at Turning Veganese. This is because I compulsively buy vegan cheese. What can I say; I’m vegan and I’m a hedonist.
As far as vegan cheeses go, some are good. Some are awesome. Some are not. Here’s a quick list of all our previous posts on cheeses we’ve tried.
The Cheese Post 1.1 covers some commonly available vegan cheeses.
The Cheese Post 2.0 includes the cream cheese challenge.
The Cheese Post 3.0 reviews some cheeses that are worth seeking out and some that aren’t.
The Cheese Post 4.0 looks at some sour cream and queso alternatives as well as ricotta and mozzarella substitutes.
So why all this emphasis on vegan cheese? It’s one of the hardest things to kick when you go vegan and probably the best source of saturated fat, cholesterol and bovine (goat or sheep) sex hormones that comes to my mind. I can’t have vegetables sauteed in butter without breaking out in acne. It makes me crazy… except that options are out there. We’re talking about some more options today so get your cheese loving muscles ready.
Nutty Cow cheeses come in 3 flavors; garlic herb, maple walnut and ricotta. Before I was vegan I was not a big fan of ricotta and even now “maple walnut” and “cheese” together kind of weirded me out conceptually but the ingredients were unobjectionable (unless you’ve got a nut or soy allergy) and the price was right (free with our regular order from Vegan Essentials) Normally they cost $5.62 for 10 ounces. That’s a big container, for the record and a great price for a vegan cheese. Unfortunately it has a very short shelf life but it does freeze and thaw relatively well (I don’t think this is recommended). The maple pecan was very sweet. It wasn’t what I expected but it’s maple so when I moved on to the garlic herb and ricotta I was surprised to find it was also very sweet. The sweetener in this case is maple sugar which is a personal favorite, just that there was a little too much. It did make a great addition to sauces which was what happened to most of it. It was also somewhat grainy in texture which isn’t a problem for a spread but is a problem for sauces. I’m hoping they reformulate because they’re doing everything else right.
Parmela is a nut based parmesan that I have to revisit. The first time I reviewed this product, I loved everything about this product except the price EXCEPT that they changed their packaging and reduced the price to about $1.75 per ounce. If you come across it in your search for good vegan cheeses, give this a try. It’s great on pizza, pasta or whatever you’d normally dust with parmesan cheese. There are definitely better values out there but Eat in the Raw parmesan might not convince ardent carnists.
Pure Market Express has a line of nut cheeses that I got off Vegan Cuts and they were worth E-V-E-R-Y penny. Cheddar, tomato basil, gouda, creamy herb and jalapeño cilantro were all exactly what you’d expect: creamy, cheesy and lightly flavored to mimic (but not ersatz) their intended subject. The texture is prefect for spreading on crackers or toast though the tomato basil was full of welcome pieces of tomato. The ingredients are great (raw, whole foods) and it comes in a recyclable package. Another bonus is that this product is meant to be stored frozen. I like frozen foods because I don’t feel pressured to eat them before they spoil. On their website you can buy these cheeses at $8 for 8 ounces which is a great value as far as I’m concerned. Ours arrived melted, we refroze it and it thawed creamy and delicious. I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t have a cashew allergy, vegan or not. It was awesome on a teff wrap with spinach, smoky maple tempeh, a touch of mustard and royal gala apple slices.
I’m sad to report that this is all we’ve got for you today. We’re still big on Punk Rawk Labs cheeses for cheese and crackers-type applications, Daiya of all shapes, sizes and flavors for casual cheesiness, Nacho Mom’s Voodoo queso for late night snacking, and a few others including Parmela for our pasta and pizza needs (I got some for cheap on Vegan Cuts; when it runs out I might go back to Eat in the Raw). Pure Market Express might very well replace Punk Rawk Labs (which replaced Dr. Cow’s) given the price and variety of flavors. That about wraps it up.
This is Brent and Christie, signing off!