First, cauliflower became pizza crust, and now nuts have become cheese. I don’t know how they did it but I am forever thankful for these dairy-free cheese innovations. Cheese is one of those foods that is in everything, and hard to avoid when you are busy and grabbing whatever is available. It also enhances so many foods from tacos and salads to enjoying a little on a cracker with a glass of wine. Life without cheese is HARD and can leave you feeling as you are missing out. Thankfully, there are cheese alternatives out there for people like me that struggle to digest the real thing.
It’s certainly not the same as indulging in a wheel of brie, but many of these products have managed to recreate the flavors and textures of cheese without any strange ingredients or common allergens (aside from nuts). I’ve always avoided the “dairy-free” cheese section because I was under the impression the products were all soy-based, another potentially inflammatory food for some. However, it seems we have come a long way in the past few years using quality, wholesome ingredients to recreate some of our favorite indulgences. Now I never leave the food store without picking up at least one of these plant-based alternatives.
Here are some of the dairy-free staples that I return to over and over again:
Dairy-Free Cheese Products
I use this product as queso but also to enhance tacos and to make mac and cheese. It’s super versatile.
Kitehill Cream Cheese
All I can say is this product is life-changing. It tastes like the real thing. I add to a gluten-free, vegan bagel for a weekend treat.
Treeline Cashew Cheese
This is one of my favorites. I add to Simple Mills or Hu Kitchen gluten-free crackers.
Miyoko’s Creamery Cashew Cheese
Might be an acquired taste for some but another creamy cashew cheese worth trying.
Good Plant Mozzarella
I added this to chicken parm to give it a cheese texture. It didn’t completely melt but did help to satisfy the craving. There are other brands that I haven’t tried yet like So Delicious.
Don’t be scared off by the name, this is a nutrient-dense yeast that can give a cheese flavor to almost anything. It can be found in the spice aisle in most food stores. I mix into my dairy-free mac and cheese, top my pasta with it, and pretty much add it to anything that might need a little flavor boost.
This is only a small sample of what’s out there. Some of these brands also make other cheese products like ricotta (which I am dying to try) and slices of cheddar. Double-check the ingredients if you are avoiding other allergens like gluten or soy, but many are allergen-friendly.
Moral of the story: you don’t need to suffer the consequences if dairy doesn’t agree with you — and you don’t have to miss out on enjoying your food by swapping in these alternatives.