Best vegan cheeses to try now

February 11, 2018 | By | More

best vegan cheeseYears ago, I would have raised a skeptical eyebrow at the thought of eating vegan cheese.

I’ve always been a purist when it comes to food. Even as a kid, I would request the real butter in restaurants when they tried to give me margarine for my dinner rolls. I snubbed anything but the full fat, real deal versions of dairy milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream back in the 90s when everyone was on a low fat craze.

How did I get to a place where I would not only be trying non-dairy cheeses, but actually recommending the ones I like best? Like most people who are increasing their plant-based meals, the reasons are complex. My own are a combination of ethical and health reasons. I can no longer justify the animal cruelty of the dairy industry as being worth it to me on a routine basis. I also know excessive dairy isn’t healthy for a host of reasons.

Going dairy-free healthfully means looking closely at ingredients labels. There are lots of crappy vegan products that are as full of mystery chemicals as the worst processed foods containing meat and dairy. That’s why I shun any vegan cheeses containing things I can’t pronounce or those that contain canola oil, palm oil or preservatives.

These products I’ve recently discovered not only satisfy my cheese cravings, they leave me feeling good about my food choices and my health.

Treeline artisan vegan cheese

One word for this line of products: THANKS! Thanks to Treeline, my cheese cravings are kept at bay either with one of their full-flavored soft spreadable cheeses or their tasty, crumbly hard cheeses.

Treeline’s products are truly artisan crafted and are made from fermented cashews. Each variety has only a small handful of clean ingredients. The cashews are combined with live cultures, sea salt and, in some cases, herbs and spices to create a unique, probiotic-rich food.

best vegan cheesesMy favorites in their lineup of soft spreadable vegan cheeses include the herb-garlic and the green peppercorn flavors. These cheeses are a stand-in for dairy cream cheese and are perfect for spreading on bagels and crackers.

As for Treeline’s two hard cheeses, original flavor or cracked pepper flavor, I love them both. These are tangy with a hint of smoky flavor. Either are the perfect high-end addition to a gourmet non-cheese tray including crunchy seed crackers, raw honey and fruit preserves. I also like to crumble them over salads and soups. I will also experiment with marinating them in olive oil and toasted caraway seeds to top one of my favorite one-pot dishes that calls for sheep’s milk feta.

Myoko’s creamery vegan cheese

Based on my initial impressions of Myoko’s Kitchen products (YUM!), I wish they were more readily available. Even our enormous Whole Foods Market inconsistently carries only a variety or two of the many flavors available on the company’s website.

I first tried the Aged English Sharp Farmhouse and fell in love. This is a very soft, spreadable cheese with all the sharp smokiness you’d expect from a well-aged smoky cheddar. That first day, I discovered that our puppy, Roscoe, also likes cultured nut cheese, and I underestimated its richness and binged to the point of self-loathing. It was so good spread on my favorite vegan crackers. During my next trip to the local co-op where I shop, I looked for it. It was gone! But wait…there was this Double Cream Sundried Tomato and Garlic. I’m glad the universe nudged me into trying this one, too. It’s full-flavored with garlic and balanced with the sweetness of dried tomatoes.

Like Treeline, Myoko’s Kitchen uses no offensive ingredients, just good clean food. Each vegan cheese starts with cashews and cultures. Select seasonings, sea salt and time do the rest.

A vote for good

I try to shop with my values in mind most of the time. Buying these amazing vegan cheeses means voting for a more compassionate world and against the inherent animal cruelty associated with the dairy industry. It means voting for your continued good health. And, it means opting out of the big food industry which is working hard to keep us all addicted to toxic foods that pollute the earth. Treeline and Myoko’s Kitchen are small businesses which I’m proud to support.

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Category: Enviable Ideas, General, Home and Garden

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