Whenever a group of vegans are together, either in real life or online, it’s almost a certainty that before too long the conversation will turn to non dairy cheese. There’ll be a range of views where people discuss and even argue about their favourite (this is usually inversely proportional to the one sold or manufactured near to them), and almost inevitably there’ll be moans about meltability, chemical flavours or levels of creaminess.
My plea to all vegans is to stop this now. We are very lucky nowadays to have a wide range of non dairy cheese to buy, and if we include homemade recipes and cheese sauces we are without limits.
Did you ever hear a non vegan say they don’t like halloumi cheese because it doesn’t melt? Or wonder why feta doesn’t taste all that nice when you have it on toast? Or that cream cheese is lovely but it’s not much good for putting on the top of pasta? No, you didn’t. Why not? Because in the dairy cheese world people use different cheeses for the right purpose and it’s time we embraced this philosophy and started to do the same.
Of course the hard Sheese isn’t great on a pizza, because it doesn’t melt. But try it in this blue cheese dip, or the panzanella sandwich from Hearty Vegan and it comes into its own. I wouldn’t put Daiya or Cheezly on a sandwich, but I like them both on pizza. Vegusto piquant is fabulous on a cracker or grated as parmesan – but for lentil based pasta sauces I’d always prefer a home made walnut based substitution, like the recipe in Yellow Rose Recipes. Don’t put home made tofu ricotta on toast (or maybe?), but do use it to layer in lasagne or to stuff pasta shells. Add spice to nut based cheesy sauces for drizzling over nachos or use them plain for topping hearty casseroles. I could go on indefinitely.
The world of non dairy cheese is changing, and for the better. So let’s take ourselves away from the endless, fruitless comparisons and arguments and concentrate on using the right tools for the job. We open up a new world of flavours for ourselves if we do.
If you have any tips for using your favourite type of bought or home made cheese, especially with recipe links, please leave them in the comments, as I’d like to come back to this topic later with more suggestions.