Morrisons has just launched a range of vegan cheeses, including smoked, mature and jalapeno. These cheeses are fantastic, but can cause so many issues with new vegans and I just wanted to explain why and offer some advice.
Firstly, if you are reading this and you are new to veganism, or just curious, then it’s important not to get your hopes up to find a vegan cheese that will imitate a dairy cheese.
The new cheeses at Morrisons and other major supermarkets are based on coconut oil, which helps the cheese melt, but doesn’t mimic the taste of dairy.
It’s hard to con the brain
Even as a lover of vegan cheese, in my opinion there is still no block that matches dairy. Dairy cheese contains casein, which is actually addictive and our brains know the difference.
Vegan cheese can match the saltiness, the fattiness and even now the meltiness, but so far we don’t have anything that replaces the casein.
My thoughts are that the wizards behind the Beyond Meat burgers and Just Egg will come up with something in a lab that replicates it almost perfectly, but so far in the UK there isn’t anything.
They’ve nailed plant-based meats, they are amazing and almost exactly like the real thing, but we are still searching for the holy grail when it comes to vegan cheese.
The secret is cold turkey
Everyday I see members of the Vegan Food UK community ask this exact question: "Is there ANY vegan cheese that doesn’t taste vile?”
The answer to this is yes, but in comparison to dairy, you will be quite disappointed.
My advice and model for success is to go vegan and give up all cheese for a few weeks or even months. Let the body adjust to not consuming casein and then start your dairy-free cheese journey.
First thing to do after your ‘cold turkey’ (horrible expression) has been well and truly served, is to move onto a mild vegan cheese that melts.
Melty vegan cheese
By now you will probably miss having melted cheese on food? The good news is that there are a few to choose from, but the key is to go for something neutral like Violife Original. It melts well and won’t offend your taste buds too much.
Once you get used to melted Violife, you can up the ante and move onto something with a bit more flavor and depth, like the Vegan Applewood Smoky Block, which melts even better than Violife.
What about pizza? In my opinion pizza cheese needs to be light without too much flavour. A perfect cheese for this is MozzaRisella: a brown rice milk based mozzarella cheese that melts perfectly on pizza. It’s so good that Zizzi’s, Pizza Express and even Co-op have used it for their pizzas.
Vegan cheese options
Something also worth considering from the get-go are nut-based cheeses, which I regard as some of the best cheeses in the world. Use social media to seek them out, but also your local health store should stock a few. These are cheeses to be proud of and are usually made with cashews.
If you have followed my advice and aren’t satisfied with any cheese that you have tasted so far, then have a go at making your own. You will be amazed with what a bag of cashews and some nutritional yeast can do.