Cheese is traditionally made with milk from cows, goats or sheep and is therefore unsuitable for anyone who wants to avoid animal products in their diet.
And yet cheese is often something that people say they miss, once they go vegan.
The Vegan Society estimated that there were around 600,000 vegans in the UK in 2018, which is three and half times the numbers in 2006, making it one of the fastest growing lifestyle movements.1
Food producers and manufacturers have responded well to this growing trend. And there are now more vegan options available in our shops and supermarkets than ever before, with more and more new alternatives popping up each week.
Fortunately for cheese lovers, this also include some wonderful alternatives to cheese.
What is vegan cheese?
Vegan cheeses are alternatives to dairy cheese, which are made without dairy and are 100% plant based.
Many different types of vegan cheese have become available in recent years, with the rise in popularity of the vegan diet. Now you can get everything from soft, spreadable cheeses to hard grating cheeses and even alternatives to popular options such as halloumi.
How is vegan cheese made?
Vegan cheeses are made using vegetable proteins such as soy, nuts like cashews and macadamias and vegetable oils like coconut oil.
They are created using some similar processes to that employed in the production of regular cheese.2
Which are the best vegan cheeses?
Here is our round up of the best vegan cheese products on the market to make sure you do not miss out on that oozy cheesy goodness!
Whether youare already vegan or you are looking to cut down your consumption of animal products, you will be crackers about these dairy free cheeses:
Made from primary inactive yeast, yeast flakes have a cheesy nutty flavour and can be used in place of parmesan on pasta dishes.
They can even be used to make a lactose-free cheese sauce for use in lasagne, mac and cheese, or as a dip for tortilla chips.
Coconut oil cheese
Koko Cheddar Cheese Alternative is deliciously mellow and contains added calcium and vitamins D2 and B12.
It goes great in a sandwich, as part of an antipasti platter and as an ingredient in savoury cooking.
If you like a bit of a stronger flavour, try Asda’s Free From Mature Cheddar Alternative. It has a crumbly texture which resembles the dairy mature cheddar and a balanced, salty taste.
Absolutely ideal for cheese on toast, this cheese was crowned the number one vegan cheese by Good Housekeeping magazine in 2019, thanks to how well it melted during their grilling test and its mild, slightly tangy flavour.3
Melting can often be an issue when it comes to vegan cheeses, as they often do not mimic dairy cheeses, so this is perfect for popping on pizzas or eating in a toastie.
Creamy Sheese Original
Creamy Sheese Original is a dairy free vegan cream cheese alternative which is made with coconut oil.
It is suitable for vegans as well as being Kosher. This versatile spread can be used in lots of ways to add flavour.
Use for making vegan cheesecakes, in pasta dishes or as a topping for baked potatoes.
Or just get it straight from the fridge and spread onto crackers, pitta bread or bagels.
Sheese also comes in a garlic and herb variety if you like your cream cheese with a little bit more flavour.
Red Leicester alternative
A favourite cheese amongst many, Sheese Red Leicester Style has a lovely deep orange colour and a medium strength.
Try it sliced on toast for breakfast or lunch, add to enchiladas or grate onto the top of a dairy free pizza.
Bonsan Organic Almond Crème Wild Garlic is made using almond flour and is a great alternative for a cheesy dip or cream cheese spread.
Dip chopped veggies and tortilla chips into it for the ultimate vegan party snack.
Violife Non-Dairy Cheese Alternative is made with coconut oil and vitamin B12 and is firm and rubbery in appearance, just like halloumi.
The flavour is similar to halloumi, with a nice salty kick.
Make your own vegan cheese spread
If none of these vegan cheese alternatives take your fancy then why not make your own?
You can easily whip up a DIY vegan cheese spread in just five minutes using cashew nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
Perfect for spreading on crackers for a snack or a light lunch.
Last Updated: 2nd February 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal, Regulatory Affairs
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.