It is hard to be a vegan for very long in today’s world before all types of people start questioning your actions, motives, food choices, and, well, sanity. For many people, even thinking about passing on meat evokes feelings and words of impossibility, frustration, and confusion. One food that scores of people believe is even more essential in certain dishes than meat, however, is cheese.
Most vegans have heard the emotion-laden, “Well, don’t you miss eating cheese?” Today, many vegans can truthfully answer, “No.” Though vegan cheeses have really only been on the market for the past two decades or so, companies that produce dairy-free foods and cheese substitutes have since been growing by leaps and bounds. Various health concerns, particularly among those battling cancer, have given rise to the vegan diet, and businesspeople are paying attention.
Many vegan cheeses have a base of soy, but increasing numbers of products are using tapioca powder, palm fruit oil, arrowroot powder, and – perhaps most surprisingly – nuts like cashews and almonds. One of the latest trends in the vegan world seems to be the amount of gourmet vegan cheese companies popping up, which is ultimately a win on every side. Lots of people enjoy purchasing gourmet foods; vegan products use ingredients other than dairy; cows do not have to suffer the harsh production of milk; and the business makes money selling their product.
Almonds and cashews are far more versatile than they’re usually given credit. One recipe for butternut squash mac ‘n cheeze by award-winning blog, Oh She Glows, utilizes cashews for the cheese sauce. The cashews are combined with non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, pepper and a few other components to ultimately make a creamy, delicious cheese sauce that her devoted blog followers love.
Another highly impressive (and equally tantalizing) recipe is one for mozzarella sticks, featured on Hell Yeah It’s Vegan! This recipe is crafted with the help of mozzarella soy cheese, but is no less flavorful. The cheese for this dish came from Teese Vegan Cheese, which is produced by Chicago Vegan Foods.
Among other remarkably realistic vegan analogs are the cream cheese by Follow Your Heart and the pepperjack shredded cheese by Daiya. Follow Your Heart’s cream cheese tastes so parallel to dairy cream cheese that it is no wonder their company is flourishing and adding new products regularly. Daiya’s pepperjack shreds, and all of their shredded cheese flavors for that matter, melt and stretch unusually well, to the point that they are regularly used in third party restaurants around the U.S.
Indeed, there are so many vegan cheese products currently on the market that it is only a matter of time before they continue to reach those beyond the present circles of veganism. Restaurants, businesses and individuals in positions of authority are continually learning that their actions have more global impact than they may currently realize. Subsequently, large numbers of people are moving towards the vegan path for a host of reasons, and still maintaining the luxury of eating “cheese.”