Can vegan cheese taste good?

The other night I made pizza and as Adam and I were quietly gobbling up our slices I heard him mumble: “Poor vegans, they could never enjoy this!” Since I love all kinds of food, I follow quite a few vegetarian and vegan bloggers so I’ve heard many of them rave about daiya cheese. Daiya cheese is dairy free and soy free – it’s basically made of tapioca flour, oils and gums. While I’m obviously not vegan (or lactose intolerant for that matter) and would always prefer an organic version of dairy cheese, I was curious. So curious in fact, that I wanted to have a cheese throwdown!

Does vegan cheese taste like “real” cheese? Or at least, can it taste good?

I present to you, the contestants!

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I halved one small pita and made little pita pizzas. Daiya topped pizza:

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Lite (dairy) cheese pizza:

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Some ‘shrooms

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After 5 minutes in the toaster oven (quickest dinner ever!)

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Can you tell what’s what?

Yup, that’s daiya cheese – didn’t melt as much but I’m sure it would if I gave it more time in the oven. I just wanted to compare the two with the same oven times.

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“Regular” pizza with light cheese melted a bit better for sure. But how did these taste?

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This lite cheese is not great but I’m more about the crust, sauce and toppings when it comes to pizza. Daiya mozzarella cheese tasted rich and cheesy but unfortunately it tasted like blue cheese to me, not mozzarella… and I can’t stand blue cheese. I took a second bite to give it another chance but just couldn’t stomach it. 20 minutes later Adam was home and gobbled up my leftover half with Daiya. He said to tell you all that it tasted really good, blue cheesy but way better than he thought. And he doesn’t pity vegans as much anymore… that’s basically a quote. Winking smile

Have you ever had vegan cheese? What did you think? It was fun conducting this little experiment! Anything else you’ve been wondering about? Maybe I can be your guinea pig. :lol:

Just 2 more days left to enter the Now Eat This! cookbook giveaway!

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30 comments to Can vegan cheese taste good?

  • Blue cheesy? How odd. I was glad to see a
    non-vegan opinion on this. I have to admit I’m curious about it too, but it’s expensive and there’s no reason for me to not eat cheese.

  • I find Daiya to be creamy, a smelling like the cheese on popcorn. No, it’s not as good as normal cheese, but for vegans wanting something melty (and yes, it WILL melt better given the time), it’s a miracle compared to other vegan cheeses.

  • haha, love adam’s comment :) i’ve always wondered about daiya, glad for the comparison!!

  • Very interesting! I’ve often wondered about vegan cheese, but have never tried it. I think it’s odd that the “mozzarella” tasted like blue cheese. I do love blue cheese, so maybe I’d like this Daiya… but I think I’ll stick with real cheese :) .

  • I had assumed that all Vegan cheese wouldn’t taste good and left it out of my diet for my Vegan Challenge. Guess I should have given it a chance:-)

  • I’ve never tried vegan cheese, but I love blue cheese. I’d probably like it.

  • REAL dairy-free cheese is hard to come by. .. at least for me. Most “vegan” cheese also contains casein which is a milk protein. For some reason this stuff is always still labelled as vegan (not sure why and if anyone can tell me that would be awesome) but for me, who has a dairy allergy, I can’t have casein without getting sick.

    That being said, the few times I’ve tried vegan cheese I haven’t liked it. I find they really capture the “feet” taste of cheese but none of the good flavour. Personally I like my pizza cheese-less :P

    Thanks for the comparison, I’m always willing to try new brands (because I’m sure they’ll get it right at some point).

  • Vegan cheese is nothing like real cheese – I’ve tried numerous brands. I don’t mind Daiya, but my wife thinks it tastes too much like butter. Cheese is essentially the only food we haven’t found a good vegan “substitute” for. Oh well.

  • I’ve tried vegan sliced cheese and it taste different from other processed cheeses but not like really good cheese. One of my goals is to cook a three course vegan meal this year so we’ll see how that goes!

  • I have heard of daiya but have never tried it. I probably won’t because I love cheese. Ooey Gooey full fat cheese. I’m not vegan or lactose intolerant so I figure why not stick with the real thing?

  • Thanks for the review. I’ve never tried vegan cheese and thankfully I don’t have to. I have enough problems watching out for gluten.

  • i’ve never had vegan cheese and i’m not a big blue cheese person myself. i think i’m with you, organic cheese all the way:) we used part-skim mozerella on our pizza last week and it melted and tasted delicious.

  • Lee

    I have had Daiya at a pizza restaurant. I thought it was okay – a little too creamy. I can understand how you thought it tasted like blue cheese.

  • Okay for all the time I was a vegan I never tried any vegan cheeses. I preferred to top my pizzas with hummus and things like that instead. I heard that this was good vegan cheese though.

    I’m totally allergic to blue cheese so I hate it too and I don’t think I could handle that flavor!

  • Thanks so much for this post. I’m trying to try a “non-dairy” diet (not vegan specifically because I do eat chicken), but more of for a health reason. Dairy makes me bloated and I noticed I’m better on days that I avoid it. My last roomie was vegan and she always had me try her cheeses but she was in the process of finding the right one herself. I’ll give your suggestions a try!

    • Takiyah

      @ Quisha,
      get a copy of the book, “Go Dairy Free” by Alisa Marie Fleming. You will really enjoy it. It will really open your eyes as to how many options are available for you when going dairy free. Although I must admit that I wasn’t too impressed with the semi – hard and hard cheese recipes. Minor complaint though.
      I personally love Daiya, it makes for a wonderful sliced cheese block, and the best mac and cheese sauce! Nothing a little chicken stock, ground mustard, and a dash of hot sauce and brewers Yeast flakes can’t handle to give it that cheesy profile. LOL!

  • Interesting experiment. I don’t like blue cheese either so I don’t think I’d be a fan of dairy free cheese. I’ll stick with the lite dairy cheese!

  • I have a vegan friend who is constantly searching for good vegan cheese! I will have to share this with her ;)

  • There is a soy cheese at TJ’s that I think is better than mozzarella for eating on crackers, but it still doesn’t melt the same.

  • Great job on the experiment- so cool!

    Products that are supposed to taste like something that they are not have always freaked me out. It’s completely irrational, but I keep thinking “what if this really is chicken” even though I am not vegan or vegetarian, really.

    • Elina

      Haha, I think you’re safe there. No matter how close things taste to “chicken”, they’re definitely still not the same. Also, I’m pretty sure there would be law suits like crazy if a company lied like that.

  • [...] Civil Eats. A state of the food security movement in the US and around the globe. Can Vegan Cheese Taste Good? - Healthy and Sane. A throw-down between real cheese and a popular vegan substitute. [...]

  • The Daiya cheese has not been my favorite… it’s ok in things (I’ve used it in a “cheesy” cornbread for example) but on it’s own, I will pass. Ironically I just got my hands on a new vegan cookbook and I’m making my own mozzarella tonight to use tomorrow…we shall see!

  • robin

    I myself, cannot stand Vegan cheese products. They all taste like poopoo. When I make a pizza, I load it with tomato sauce and tons of veggies and never miss the cheese. However, sometimes I use Tofutti Cream Cheese on my pizza and it is fantastic. Even better on a bagel!

  • 3Js

    The best vegan cheese is the Daiya brand. I have already tried different flavors and all taste good. I’m so happy I read about Daiya vegan cheeses.

  • Shannon

    I went on a vegan venture for about 3 months; in which I made a vegan lasagna with the Daiya mozerella. It actually turned me off of vegan cheese completely and now I am scared to try any more non dairy cheeses. I have to agree with Jesse @ Run to the Border, cheese is one of those things that is hard to subsitute. My next try may be the vegan cheddar chese (I’m hoping for the best)

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