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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

He’s Green She’s Green: Vegan Cheese

By John and Jennifer Burkhart

Another year has begun. What will you be doing differently? Hopefully your resolutions involve some form of living more gently upon the earth. Our planet sure needs a rest from the high demand of resources we require. Why not “green” your resolution and try a taste of the vegan lifestyle? We can hear the protests already: “But I love cheese!” We understand. We love it, too. The question “are there any good cheese substitutes out there?” arises. The good news? We just may have found some.

Follow Your Heart Vegan CheddarFollow Your Heart | Cheddar

He said:  This cheese is the neglected love child of tofu and Velveeta. I decided to try it cold first, on a cracker. It was spongy like bean curd and had a terrible fake cheddar flavor. But, masochistically, I gave it another shot in a quesadilla. This time it had transformed into a scalding oily liquid with a terrible fake cheddar flavor.

He gave it: 

She said:  Well, if the taste of this “cheese” doesn’t turn you off, the smell will! That’s some stinky not-so cheese! The texture was unpleasant -— crumbly, a tad dry and just a notch above Jell-O. It tasted pretty bland, with the only discernible flavor being nutritional yeast. It’s edible (but not enjoyable) in a quesadilla, and I definitely wouldn’t attempt this as a cube on a toothpick or on a cracker.

She gave it: 

Go Veggie Vegan ParmesanGo Veggie! | Grated Parmesan-Style Topping

He said:  I really don’t think many people would notice if you switched their dairy Parmesan for this one. It tastes almost exactly the same as the real deal and it’s gluten-, lactose-, cholesterol- and GMO-free. Winner, winner chicken… err, lasagna, dinner!

He gave it: ★★★★★

She said:  Finally, something I can eat! It smelled and looked exactly like the real stuff. The taste difference was so subtle and made my steamed veggies and garlic-parmesan toast very tasty! I could definitely make the switch to vegan cheese with this one.

She gave it: ★★★★★

Daiya Vegan MozzarellaDaiya | Mozzarella Style Shreds

He said:  This would have been a scathing review if I had judged this book by its cover. I opened the bag to find shredded “cheese” that was light tan in color and quite funky in aroma. But some sort of magic occurred when I melted it down. It turned into a nice stringy mozzarella with only a teeny bit of an “off” flavor.

He gave it: ★★

She said:  I can’t say I was too excited to eat the stuff after the opened package produced a smell of old crayons and feet Don’t even try it straight from the bag! However, when sprinkled atop some sourdough, along with a dusting of garlic powder and salt and then broiled, it surprisingly transformed into a very yummy and very “cheese-like” garlic bread topping.

She gave it: ★★★★

Lisantti Vegan Garlic HerbLisanatti | Almond Garlic Herb Style

He said:  This is the closest you’re going to get to a block of milk cheese out of this bunch. The consistency was perfect. The initial flavor was spot on but it finished out with a slight almond taste, which wasn’t a surprise. It didn’t melt down very well – it just held its shape and puffed up. If you’re going to have a cold sandwich, this is the cheese you want.

He gave it: ★★★★

She said:  By the looks, texture and aroma, I’d never know this wasn’t a dairy-based cheese. Almond by day, awesome cheese impersonator by night! It was decent on a cracker, but much better melted on toasty bread. The dominant basil flavor was a bit much for me, but I’d be very interested in trying other flavors by this brand.

She gave it: ★★★★

Daiya Vegan Cream CheeseDaiya | Plain Cream Cheese Style Spread

He said:  This cream cheese was nice and smooth and easy to spread. The flavor was a touch tart, though, like herb-flavored cream cheese or regular cream cheese that was left out a bit too long. If someone tried to pull a fast one and swap my dairy cream cheese for this, I would notice… but I would still eat it.

He gave it: ★★★

She said:  I thought the texture was spot on – creamy and spreadable. I wouldn’t say it tastes “neutral” like plain cream cheese, though. It had a salty, savory flavor that begged for herbs or veggies and would be a great base for a specialty spread.

She gave it: ★★★

See more product reviews at greenlivingaz.com/hgsg

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