Vegan cheese is a kind of cheese that does not have any animal products in it. Vegan cheese is non-dairy, so it is ideal for lactose-intolerant people. It is a plant-based cheese, made using plant milk, sesame, sunflower, cashew nuts, pine nuts, peanuts, almonds, and soybeans. Additional ingredients needed to make vegan cheese include coconut oil, nutritional yeast, tapioca, rice, potatoes, and spices.
Vegan Cheese Trivia
- The value of the global vegan cheese market is at $2.1 billion in 2016 and it is expected to be at $3.9 billion by the end of 2024.
- Sales of vegan cheese in the US will hit the $4 billion mark by 2024. This is the projection made by the Plant Based Food Association.
Vegan Cheese Buying Guide
Where can you buy vegan cheese? You can buy this in the supermarket, grocery store, specialty stores, artisanal stores, even in restaurants, bakeries, and online stores.
Vegan cheeses come in different types. You can buy blocks and wedges which are great for making shredded cheese, sliced cheese, and cubed cheese; vegan cheese slices which make making a sandwich convenient; cream cheese for your bagels and dips; soft cheese; Parmesan; Ricotta; Feta; blue cheese; and cheese sauce.
Some practical tips:
- If this is the first time you are eating vegan cheese, do some research. See what brands are available in your area and check online reviews that describe how they taste, how they are best used, etc. Part of your research is asking the people around you – family, friends, even co-workers who might have mentioned he or she is vegan and has tried vegan cheese. Consider the information you’ll be able to gather and from there rank which vegan cheese you prefer and which one is your least likely choice.
- If this is your first time, buy small quantities first. If you didn’t like it, at least you don’t have a lot of vegan cheese you won’t be eating.
- Check the packaging. Make sure the packaging is intact with no damage that could jeopardize the quality and safety of the food.
Vegan Cheese Production & Farming in Texas
Vegan cheese is a growing business in Texas, and both consumers and entrepreneurs alike have embraced vegan cheese. Vegan cheese businesses in Texas are being praised; the New York Times made mention of Rebel Cheese in Austin, Texas, while an online magazine article describes Dallas as the bedrock of the vegan cheese renaissance in Texas.
There are Texas vegan cheese companies that make vegan cheese more interesting; take for example Mindful Mortal Cheese in Denton which makes and sells vegan cheese skulls!
Numerous Texas restaurants have vegan cheese, like Casa del Vegano in Dallas that makes and sells fresh vegan queso blanco; Local Foods in Houston which makes and sells cashew queso; Spiral Diner in Dallas-Fort Worth; and Vegan Avenue on Main in San Antonio, to name a few.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Many vegan cheese brands stand by their promise of producing vegan cheese using all-natural ingredients. However, there are still some vegan cheese brands that contain artificial or highly processed ingredients.
- Calcium Sulfate
- Lactic Acid
- Tricalcium Phosphate
- Citric Acid
- Titanium Dioxide
You’d think vegan cheese is a result of the demand for cheese by vegans in modern times, but the truth is there was already non-dairy cheese as far back as the 16th century in China. They used fermented tofu or whole soy to make cheese.
Vegan cheese started becoming a commercially-produced item around the 1970s and 1980s. Soymage became synonymous with vegan cheese in the US during the 1990s. Because of the growing demand for vegan cheese, more companies started producing and selling vegan cheese.
Today, many vegan cheese brands are operating all over the world. Demand for vegan cheese grew in Europe, as well as in North America, Asia-Pacific, South America, Middle East, and Africa.
One important thing about the packaging of vegan cheese is labeling. There is the issue of avoiding using dairy terms to avoid confusing the consumers. In the US and Australia, it is allowed as long as there is clear language in the package label describing vegan cheese as non-dairy. It is different among European Union member countries. It remains to be decided what official action to take but there is a history of contest between dairy businesses and vegan businesses making and selling vegan cheese.
Enjoying Vegan Cheeses
What kind of vegan cheeses are out there that you can buy and eat? There is a vegan cheese counterpart for different kinds of cheeses, like mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, gouda, and cream cheese. It is common to find zero-cholesterol vegan cheese with low saturated fat. Vegan cheese contains riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, calories, fat, and protein, among others.
How long a vegan cheese will keep varies, but it is safe to say that unopened store-bought vegan cheese will keep for 4 months, and once opened, it will keep for a week. Homemade vegan cheeses have a shorter shelf life, usually good for 6 days to as long as 4 weeks if stored in the refrigerator in an airtight food container. If you want your vegan cheese to remain in good eating condition for a longer time, keep these in the freezer. If you are freezing hard cheese, consider shredding the cheese first so that it is easier to use the cheese for cooking later. Hard vegan cheese that was frozen tends to turn crumbly, making it difficult to grate. The most important thing to remember is to make sure the cheese wrapping is airtight. This will help keep the taste of the vegan cheese. Those who froze vegan cheese before know that one of the side effects of freezing vegan cheese is that the taste is slightly different. But as long as it does not taste bad, it is good to eat. Just remember that vegan cheese can only be frozen once. After it is removed from the freezer, do not attempt to freeze it again because after thawing it the second time, you will notice it tastes different and the texture makes it unpleasant to eat.
Make the classic mac and cheese at home using vegan cheese
Mac and cheese is the perfect first step in learning to cook with vegan cheese because mac and cheese is an American favorite and everyone – kids and adults alike – loves mac and cheese any time of the year.
Yield: This recipe makes 4 servings
- 4 cups of shredded vegan cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz macaroni
- 2 1/2 cups of unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons of vegan butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Step 1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Step 2. Cook macaroni according to instructions. Set aside.
Step 3. Melt the vegan butter before adding salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and milk.
Step 4. Add vegan cheddar cheese and cook for 2 minutes.
Step 5. Add the macaroni.
Step 6. Transfer it to a casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes
Step 7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with vegan Parmesan cheese