Written by Dalton Sweet
If you love cheese, but are looking for a way to eat healthier, help the environment, and save animals, then you’re in luck! Countless plant-based alternatives can be found at grocery stores and online. Here are some of the most popular and delicious options to help you get started:
For many, the phrase ‘vegan cheese’ is synonymous with Daiya; it’s everywhere. Their extensive product line includes Mozzarella and Cheddar shreds, Swiss and Provolone slices, and blocks of Cheddar and smoked Gouda. Additionally, they have recently expanded into dairy-free cream cheese, frozen pizzas, cheesecakes, and macaroni and cheese. Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Giant Eagle, Target, Walmart, and numerous other stores carry these products. Check out Daiya’s store locator to find the option closest to you.
Daiya cheeses are famous for “tasting, shredding, melting, and stretching like dairy-based cheese.” For this reason, other brands and restaurants have incorporated Daiya cheese into their products. Amy’s Kitchen, an organic health food company, uses Daiya in products such as their Dairy Free Rice Mac & Cheeze and Rice Crust Spinach Pizza. Popular Ohio restaurant Melt Bar and Grilled also uses Daiya products to craft delicious plant-based grilled cheese sandwiches. If you’re wanting to incorporate vegan cheese into your diet, trying some Daiya cheese is a great place to start!
Another option that has begun to gain popularity is nutritional yeast, aka “nooch.” Similar to the active yeast found in bread, it comes in a flaky form comparable to that of Parmesan cheese. It works well with foods such as lasagna, potatoes, and popcorn. When melted with a few other basic ingredients, it becomes a delicious cheese sauce suitable for pasta dishes or to have with veggies. It’s also packed with lots of the vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber that your body needs. Nutritional yeast is often sold in the bulk or supplement section of most health food stores.
For those who crave a more sophisticated taste, high quality nut-based cheeses offer a more complex flavor. Popular brands include Treeline, Miyoko’s Kitchen, and Kite Hill. Available products range from simple dairy-free yogurt to an assortment of gourmet aged cheeses. These products are available at health food stores, such as Whole Foods Market, and online.
Benefits of Alternative Cheeses
There are countless reasons to try vegan cheese. One major health benefit is the effect that these products have on the body's digestion track. Plant-based cheeses can help to avoid gas, bloating, and other digestion issues. Secondly, vegan cheese may taste slightly different than regular cheese, but it offers a unique taste and texture that is quite unlike anything else. Lastly, these alternative cheeses go hand in hand with the goals of the reducetarian movement. These plant-based options are good for your health, demand less of the environment, and provide an alternative to using animals for food.
Try some plant-based cheese with your next meal, and you just might be surprised at how great it tastes! Send us your photos and thoughts about cheese using #reducetarian on social media!