It’s fair to say that good cheese is one of the finest treats on the planet. An artisan sharp cheddar with smoky ham on some multi-grain bread spread with tangy mustard is as close to heaven as you can get on earth. Never mind the joys of a scratch made macaroni and cheese. But some people aren’t given the option of enjoying cheese — either because they’re lactose intolerant or they’ve opted to consume fewer (or no) animal products.
For decades, nay millennia, a life without cheese inspired pity. Nutritional yeast is great and all, but can it hang with aged parmesan? Never.
In recent years, the tables have… not turned, but at least shifted a little. In 2019 there are enough vegan and dairy-free cheese alternatives on the market that gooey casseroles and melty, pull-worthy sandwiches are still a possibility for vegans. In fact, when dairy-free cheese is done right, it can be fantastic (when it’s wrong it’s still very, very wrong).
We gathered some of the most popular non-cheese cheeses on the market today and ranked them against one another. For the most part, they all have something to recommend them — giving you options for nachos, pizza, cheese boards, lasagna, sandos, and mac and cheese. Still, we have to concede that the number one way to enhance the taste of any fake cheese is to go without real cheese for a lengthy period. If you regularly eat real cheese, these aren’t going to taste as good to you as they would to a level four vegan.
Sorry. Them’s the facts.
10. Go Veggie! Shreds
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If you're craving Mac & Cheese we've got just the #Vegan fix for you! This recipe by @bitsbitesblog has all the cheesy goodness of the classic but with Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower to kick it into high gear! . . . #recipes #vegan #govegan #goveggiefoods #healthiercheese #vegancheese #vegetarian #macandcheese
These shreds aren’t good. There. That’s the bottom line. For some reason, they’re carried in a ton of grocery stores and you can find them in the produce section atop the displays of faux sausages and tofu pups. The ubiquity likely fools people into thinking that this cheese analog is a good one, and the reasonable price tag doesn’t hurt either.
Never eat this one cold. Only consume it after it is melted. Otherwise, it has kind of a strange smell and a dry, crumbly texture. On the other hand, it takes longer than traditional cheese to melt and doesn’t have the stretchy, fatty melt that the real thing would give you. It’s not inedible, but it isn’t something you would seek out intentionally, whether you were looking for a fake cheese or not.
The shreds come in three formulations — vegan, lactose-free, and soy- and lactose-free. The vegan shreds are available in Mexican, cheddar, and mozzarella, and the same is the case with the lactose-free option. The soy- and lactose-free shreds only come in mozzarella and cheddar. Admittedly, it’s super nice to have all these kinds of shreds, especially since there are a variety of dietary reasons people might not be able to enjoy dairy-based cheeses. However, there are better options on the market, and most people would benefit from kicking it to a health food store or co-op to explore more unusual and tasty options rather than settling for these bags o’ shredded sadness.