Vegan cheese: the best UK non-dairy cheeses
Vegan cheese! There are more and more brands being sold in UK shops and supermarkets now than ever before and here we look at some of the best alternatives to dairy cheese on the market today.
Tesco Smoked Cheddar Style (round)
Tesco were hot to follow in the footsteps of Sainsbury’s with their own range of vegan cheese, made by the same company that make their rivals’ cheese: Bute Island Foods. The Tesco range includes: Blue Style Wedge (with mould effect), Cheddar Style with Jalapeno & Chilli, Mature Cheddar Wedge, Wensleydale Style with Cranberries, Sliced Red Leicester Style, Grated Mozzarella Style, Grated Hard Italian Style (Parmesan) and Soft Cheese.
I picked out the Smoked Cheddar as my personal favourite as most vegan cheeses are a mix of soy and coconut. I find the subtle smoked flavour nicely masks the inherent sweetness of the coconut. Whilst tasty, the round doesn’t hold together as well as conventional dairy cheese does, which is a negative if you want to slice it down. Still, it’s a classy tasting cheese that goes well with chutney and perhaps a glass of port!
Sainsbury’s Greek-style cheese
For that key ingredient to your Greek salad, or veg skewers, then look no further than Sainsbury’s Greek-style cheese (part of the “Gary” range, as it’s known to many!). This cheese alternative mimics the taste of goats cheese well and its crumbly nature – due to milk solids, which normally coagulate and produce curd, not being present – is in this case welcomed. What is so awesome about this particular cheese is that you can grate it, cut it into chunks or vegan cheese slices, and this is even a vegan cheese that melts – basically it’s an all-purpose cheese that does the job, in a cruelty-free way.
Violife Prosociano Vegan Cheese Style
From a cheese originally eaten in Greece to an Italian-sounding cheese that is actually produced in Greece: Violife Prosociano-style cheese is the perfect cheese to mimic the traditional, grated ‘hard cheese’ found sprinkled on top many a bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese. It is a very hard-textured cheese, typically like parmesan, with a robust flavour and unlike the aforementioned cheese alternatives on the list: it doesn’t break apart easily. Woo hoo!
Tyne Chease markets itself as “The Finest Vegan Chease In England” and unlike supermarket brands it is nut based: organic cashew nut to be exact. The range is extensive and includes everything from Soft Macadamia, Rosemary and Za’atar spice (a middle eastern spice); to flavours like Chile and Garlic and Dill creamed cheases. All Tyne Chease is made with vegan cultures, which give the product an authentic cheasy taste. These living cultures allow the cheases to continue maturing and ensures that they become firmer and cheasier over time.
Bute Island’s Sheese
Sheese cream cheese is just lovely! It’s very creamy and it comes in a range of flavours, including: Garlic & herb, Spring Onion & Cracked black pepper, Sweet Chilli, Cheddar style and original. The Garlic & Herb favour is actually award winning and it’s no surprise as the range is made by Bute Island Foods, who also produce for Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Sheese cream cheese is again made with coconut oil, however, this ingredient is less able to be tasted in creamed cheese, I find. In fact this cheese is now well established as a firm vegan favourite. Creamy Sheese is as versatile as it is tasty. It tastes great simply spread on top of crackers, toasted bagels and crumpets. But it can also be stirred into sauces or soups, to make them creamier and thicker. This cheese is also ideal when used in mashed potato or melted onto fresh new potatoes, used in pasta sauces, gratins, on top of baked potatoes or as a dip for freshly cut crudités.
Vegamigo Grated ‘Pizza Melty’
Where would a list on vegan cheeses be if grated cheese, for use on pizzas amongst other things, was not mentioned? Luckily, direct from vegancheese.co.uk you can buy Vegamigo’s grated pizza cheese. Whilst not as commercially known as other brands, Vegamigo’s ‘Pizza Melty’ cheese is (not surprisingly) specifically a melting vegan cheese for pizza. In fact whilst reviews on the website praise this cheese, they do mention that it is not one to be eaten uncooked. Vegamigo’s grated cheese is finely grated, thus versatile to work with, but still full of flavour. It makes the perfect topping for pizza, pasta, lasagne or toasted cheese sandwiches. This cheese is 100% vegan, 100% lactose free, 100% GMO-free, 100% gluten free and 100% cholesterol free. Other grated cheeses can easily be purchased offline from Sainsbury’s or Sheese’s ranges of vegan cheese.
Let us know which of the above vegan cheeses tip your tastebuds towards heaven! If you have any further recommendations for different brands of vegan cheeses, or specific cheeses from a brand that you favour, we would love to hear your thoughts below.
By Laura Elizabeth Tomlinson