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I came to this article to find a cheese that was better than Daiya, but was disappointed to find that it had the highest rating of all the cheese substitutes. To me, Daiya tastes like plastic, it hardly melts and does not stretch. I'm personally looking for a cheese where I can't see the outline of the shreds when melted, tastes delicious AND stretches when pulled!
Daiya Is Nasty
I can not begin to understand the popularity of Daiya. It has the most horrid, sickly-sweet smell, and the texture is almost sticky. It has no place on the grocery store shelves.
On the other hand, Trader Joe's Mozerella Style Shreds are a great substitute for parmesean, texture, taste and smell-wise.
This post should be mandatory reading for all stores purchasig for resale. I drove hours to get to Whole Foods and ended up buying Follow Your Heart! Ugh. It's very rubbery and soft, the texture reminds me of an overripe banana. I finally made my own cheese and although it seems like everything I've made lately tastes like nutritional yeast, it'll have to do until I can get my hands on the Daiya brand. Thank you for a great post.
Dairy-free by choice: benefits worth trade-offs
I haven't eaten dairy since 1989. I avoid certain foods for health reasons, and some on principle. So, I don't want chemicals, mystery processes and mystery ingredients in my foods. It is a choice I made -- once made, I don't feel deprived because I reap the benefits of that choice, and they far outweigh what I 'give up.'
I don't understand folks being unhappy that the big companies are not trying to profit from exploiting our dietary choices by creating fake 'real' cheese. I have a different read on it: I believe that the companies already making vegan cheese as their livelihood have a vested interest in making the most genuine product. Hat off to the vegan cheese makers who are trying to make a good product without going too chemically crazy. It could be better, but it certainly could be far worse – that’s not something I think we should be encouraging. My take it that it just isn't possible to fake cheese without going completely chemically mad. I understand some folks want the taste of cheese at any cost, I don't. But I suppose if the big companies get involved and can truly fake cheese, then they will sell it to the masses (like calorie-free soda, 10% ‘fruit juice,’ fruit drinks, and GMO foods etc. have been) because they make oodles of cash selling chemicals versus food. This is not my idea of progress.
Ok, so why am I at this site. Probably 20 years ago I tried dairy-free cheese - it tasted good, but had casein (milk protein) in it and I got an allergy reaction. I've been on the web searching out new recipes. I ran into info of how great the d- cheese was. So, I have been searching to see what's in it and how processed it is. I truly appreciate the folks that took the time to comment how awful it tastes and smells. I’m very sensitive to smells, my guess is I’d agree with them. I appreciate that the article included the ingredients. The ingredients in the d- cheese seem okish, no palm oil, but just what are 'natural flavors', and what colored it orange? and what processes and chemicals are involved in attaining pea protein? These questions and likely answers concern me. Admittedly, I have pretty strict standards.
Since I choose food without too many chemicals or processing, I will just have to put something other than 'cheese' on my gluten free pizza dough (I will rename it just ‘gluten free dough’, pizza is not going to happen. If it doesn’t have cheese on it, it’s not pizza. That’s fine, I’ve lived without it quite successfully for years and years). Long ago I made a food choice; all choices have consequences. It’s a trade-off. I accept trading (‘losing’) some foods because the benefits of health and conscience far outweigh passing by some old favorites, and going without the convenience of ready-made foods. No regrets. Really, I gained more real food options then I lost – whole foods I hadn’t noticed before. Instead of mimicking old favorites; I discovered new foods to enjoy - new favorites. But, the web is full of recipes trying to mimic ‘old favorites.’ So, when I saw the pizza dough recipe with grains I could eat, along with the d-cheese review, it was tempting to see if pizza with cheese was an option now. For me it’s not. Oh well…. moving on. I have foods I can eat, and do enjoy. From my web search, I have discovered some new recipes to try.
just FYI daiya does have slices and wedges, not just shreds!
I agree that the cheese situation is dreadful. I'm vegan because of the animals, I'm no health freak so I don't mind processed food. Everybody's different though and together we all make change. I bet though that if Mc Donalds wanted to offer a vegan cheese burger they would find a delicious replacement. The only reason why there are no decent substitutes is that the big corporations are not on the case (yet?).
I have been a vegetarian for 35 years and have just become vegan because of travel and slaughter values just not the ethics I can withstand. So dairy has now left my palat and good grief what a nightmare.. Cheese is a nightmare but I also find this an absolute nightmare. As a vegan ethics to me is a major factor and I do not understand how this seem to lapse - especially in the cheese department. Please tell me what is going on.. What is all this hydrogenated nonsense and palm oil which does not state that is is full supported and sustainable.. To me going vegan is being aware of suffering - this to me is both raping land and animals. So why is hydrogentated and palm oil involved in this food. Please - tell me - am I alone in this?y
Various Vegan Cheese
I went from vegetarian to vegan. I never drank milk or anything, but I LOVED cheese, and not any of the brands mentioned have a good cheese quality. I have tried every vegan cheese you could find. I'm not asking for anything 100% like cheese, but I find all of these plasticky with a gross taste of cottonseed oil. The vegan companies have perfected everything from meat subs to desserts and cookies, but much work is needed to make these products taste satisfying. These cheese substitutes are rather expensive, so for now...I will bag on eating any form of cheese...real or sub.
I live in the UK and have just bought some cheddar style Cheezly but I can't seem to get it to melt, so annoying! Got a pie in the oven now at 200C and it's melting but not as much as I'd like it to... sigh! But it does taste good. Thanks for this article, very interesting!
I have loved cheese my whole life. I finally gave it up to go vegan. I wanted to like Daiya but I can't get past how it smells and tastes like plastic. I've only tried the cheddar flavor so maybe the other flavors are better. I'm puzzled as to why it's so popular. I understand taste buds are different, but I can't help but wonder why it's used so often in some vegetarian restaurants where I live in the US. I understand vegan cheese won't taste exactly like dairy cheese, but why bother with it at all if it's going to taste and smell like plastic? The smell seriously made me nauseous. I've been substituting avocado / guacamole for cheese in Mexican and tofu "egg" dishes and that has worked great to help me not miss the cheese. I'd prefer to find natural substitutes for cheese in dishes that way, such as using nutritional yeast flakes instead of sprinkling parmesan cheese on popcorn or pasta, for example. If a decent tasting & smelling vegan cheese is available that isn't composed of a laundry list of ingredients, then I'm all for trying it! I am looking forward to trying the nut cheeses posted in the comments below. Thanks to those posting the products they've tasted and liked, and thank you VeganBaking.net for your review!
I tried this vegan cheese the other day I really liked called nutty cow. I tried their vegan ricotta and although it's more of a spread it is one of the best vegan cheeses i've had. It's definitely worth adding to the list especially because it's hard to come across a vegan ricotta!
I can tell you this about Daiya ...If you burn it even a little it will taste like a kids chemistry set experiment gone wrong....It is critical to never over cook it.. the difference it like night and day...
Thanks for doing all this work! I recently had a vegan pizza with Daiya cheese and it was awful. I've only been vegan for a few months, maybe I need more time to forget what cheese tasted like. I was never a big cheese eater anyway...
I've been vegan for about 5 months. At first the cheese cravings were pretty awful. I had never really liked cheese much except on pizza hut cheese pizzas. As time went by, the cravings became less and less, and then eventually they stopped being cravings and turned more into just wanting a nostalgic comfort food. But I always think about how I've gone without cheese since December, and how it contains an addictive compound similar to morphine, and I decide I don't want to go down that road again.
Since I switched to almond milk, the smell of regular milk disgusts me. If someone drinks it I can smell it on their breath and it's all I can do not to start gagging. Today I ordered a berry almond chicken salad from Wendy's (minus the chicken and dressing). I had NO clue it had cheese on it. Who mixes strawberries and blueberries with CHEESE of all things?! I had to pick it out, and the smell and texture were so gross to me I gagged and I had to just throw the thing out. Thank goodness it was only a half order. I'm glad I'm over cheese. Once you've been off it for so long you realize there's nothing to like about it- you were just addicted.
It's nice that you've compiled this list of vegan cheeses and reviewed them for vegans who don't want to go to the expense of buying them all.
I have to say that Daiya is absolutely disgusting and smells and tastes like vomit. (Then again, real cheese is like that for me too now, so I guess it's true that it's authentic!)
I've had galaxy foods brand cheese. It doesn't melt very well in the toaster oven but it melts wonderfully in the microwave. It tastes pretty good- very mild. It's all about texture with this stuff and it's good on pizza, but over the past few months I haven't had any because it's just not something I crave anymore.
My mom makes this awesome vegan cashew cheese spread. It's not stretchy like regular cheese but it's very garlicky and salty, and it's great when you put a few dollops on vegetable pizza.
I was the most reluctant vegan in the world. My mom and dad kinda-sorta forced me into it by nagging and saying how gross meat and dairy was. They became vegan a little over a year ago. I had gained a lot of weight and showed symptoms of diabetes, I had very high blood pressure, I could barely move with all my muscle pains and shortness of breath, and I had some minor heart issues in my 20's. While I didn't want to change at first, I am SOOO happy my mom educated me on everything. I feel fantastic now, and without a single pill my health issues have reversed. I've only lost 30 pounds, but I can move again! I have a long way to go but I am so happy with this lifestyle change. Even my husband has taken interest and has started making changes on his own!
I've recently become vegan. I was a vegetarian for 12 years and went vegan a couple months ago. My favorites were pizza and pretty much any cheese out there. Everyone seems to be giving a good review, so I was excited to make my homemade pizza with Daiya mozzerella as the topping.
I opened the bag and it smelled Horrible. My high hopes for pizza went out the window. But still I thought I should taste it...give it a fair shot. I ate a few shreds and could barely keep them down. It was disgusting (in my opinion). I wondered why there was so my hype over it.
Is it just me? Is it just that I haven't been acustomed to vegan cheeses?
Has anyone else had such an experience?
Nice review. Have you tried No Moo and Cheese? I find Cheesly the best. Living in South Africa it is not easy to get hold of vegan cheeses. Superspar at Broadacres near Fourways Johannesburg occassionally stocks Cheesley, No Moo and Cheese. Cheese is at the bottom of my list tastes like old rubber in the summer heat. Please help if you know of other shops stocking Cheesley.
Have you tried the red cheddar
I live in South Africa so can't get Daiya (apart from when I am on vacation in the US!), I really don't like Daiya - I agree with the greasiness and sludge like texture (no I don't eat much in the way of sludge).
I REALLY love the Cheesley Red Cheddar - but please don't rate it for melting. Cheesley tells you the varieties that melt and the ones that don't. The cheddars don't melt. The edam and the mozzarella do melt. Please try the red cheddar - slice of tomato... cheese and tomato sandwich! I am in heaven :).
There are so many great new cheeses coming out all the time -- this is why VegNews has a cheese issue every once in a while. I went vegan when the only faux cheese was Tofutti, so I stopped craving cheese and don't really find the need to put faux cheese into my diet. I do like nut cheeses because those aren't really pretending to be something they're not. Dr. Dow, Punk Raw Labs, and Nutty Cow are all cool. Cheers!
Please. After nearly 2 decades of trying dairy alternatives I found Daiya to be brilliant. Both texture and taste were superior. I imagine those commenting are spoiled hipsters who expect vegan cheese to go head to head with the best melted fresh mozzarella? Back in the day the best we had were various nutritional yeast amalgamations.
And hopefully gratitude are in order.
Daiya Motz? REALLY????!? It was by far the most detestable, inedible 'food' product I've ever put into my mouth. It smelled, tasted, and felt HORRIBLE. Much like eating baby vomit strung together by Elmer's glue. No thank you.
I thought the Daiya was grossgusting! The taste, I really tried to like, tasted so artificial, it was too strong, did have a plastic flavor to it. Maybe the mozzarella is better, but the cheddar tasted like vomit.
Very helpful, thanks!
How long does it last out of the fridge?
Hello, thanks for your review, I'll be checking out those with the highest score.
I'm not sure if you know this but, how long can vegan cheese stay out of the fridge before it turns bad?
More specifically, how long does it last if I keep it on a thermal bag that keep things cold for a period of 3 hours?
I don't mind the Daiya but my fiancé wanted to gag at the creamy goo that it was. He refused to eat the pizza he got because of it and it's a long drive and expensive to get vegan cheese here so I will be trying to make my own. I've made mayo, Caesar dressing and caramel that my fiancé loves so maybe I can get lucky when I make my own. :)
We like Daiya but I am wondering if you have found any "cheese" slices that are tasty enough too? My kids who have dairy allergies would love it!
Daiya tastes like plastic.
Vegan Gourmet (mozzarella at least) tastes more like actual cheese, and doesn't have that disgusting plastic-goo flavor/texture. How anyone could prefer Daiya to Vegan Gourmet is utterly beyond me. Just... seriously. How?
Beretta, a nice restaurant in San Francisco that has fancy cocktails, uses Vegan Gourmet, and they are all the better for it.
I have tried Daiya cheese and both the mozza and the cheddar taste like butter. About the only thing it works good for is a salad. I had the mozza on something the other day and melted it and it was AWFUL! The texture of it was so weird it was like melted plastic. I had to throw out the food it was so gross and weird. I guess if you want your cheese to taste like butter it is good (I don't know why you would), but don't melt it!
Thanks for the review!
I have tried the Vegan Gourmet Cheddar and found it to be mediocre. However, I am always grateful for any vegan alternatives that are tolerable, because they really help in a pinch and make food more fun. I was ecstatic when I saw your review, because the cheese that I tried rated the lowest. That means that there are better cheeses to try. Yay! I'm going to give Daiya and Cheezly a try. Thanks again!
I can't say that I've tried all the cheeses in this article, but after trying and loving Daiya, I really don't have a need to try anything else. Plus, it has the best ingredients of the bunch.
Daiya cheese review
I couldn't agree more with this article. I love Daiya cheese too and I wrote a review about it a while ago. www.sageist.com/2010/07/daiya-vegan-cheese-product-review.html