even though this is on our ‘how to go vegan’ page, i thought i’d address it here as well, because it can be a big issue for people considering the switch to veganism. here are some substitutes for cheese, going from most processed to least:
- you can buy commercial cheeses like daiya, teese, and many more. you can find them in big grocery stores, natural foods stores, and online. (we have not bought any commercial non-dairy cheese since going vegan, we’ve gone with all the other options, so don’t think you should default to this.)
- you can make your own cheese - hard, soft, or sauce. these are nut or tofu based. so far we’ve just made soft cashew cheese (a good replacement for ricotta) and nutritional yeast cheese sauce (for mac n cheese), but we are going to make other nut cheeses in the future.
- you can replace cheese with similar-tasting food. cheese is essentially a salty, nutty, fatty food that can be eaten by itself or as a spread/filler. pureed squash makes a great melted cheese replacement, on pizza, sandwiches, and more. season some tofu and eat that with tomato & basil on some crusty bread. fill your wrap with an olive tapenade or hummus instead of a hunk of cheese - my guess is that it will taste just as good.
- you can go without. it might sound crazy, but the cheeseless pizzas we eat taste just as delicious as they did before, they’re just a different kind of food now. instead of a pie covered in greasy, fatty, artery-clogging cheese, they’re loaded with roasted artichokes, sundried tomatoes, grilled onions, and drizzled with olive & red pepper coulis.
are these foods fulfilling? totally. do we miss cheese? not as much as we thought we would. once you get through the first month or two of “damn, we really can’t get just one slice?” you stop craving it so much. and when you DO crave it, we still have the other options listed above.
if you’re interested in this, read more about why and how to go vegan, and check out our resources & faq page while you’re at it.