If you ask the average vegan what the hardest part of making the switch was, you’ll most often get a resounding “cheese.” Sure, almond milk’s not as creamy as cow’s milk, and nothing packs a protein punch quite like eggs in the morning, but when it comes to lusted-after foods, cheese is sort of in a category all its own (you won’t see a trendy shop in Brooklyn dedicated to yogurt, after all).
That’s why we’re so happy that due to some awfully clever food innovators, vegans no longer have to live a completely cheeseless existence. And while it’s tough to compare to the real thing, an ever-growing crop of delicious vegan cheese options continues to hit the market. From creamy vegan cream cheese to sharper shredded vegan cheddar for nachos, and even gooey vegan cheese sauces, these are some of the best vegan cheeses you can buy today. (But if you like to DIY, learn how to make vegan cheese at home.)
Over pasta, garlic bread, or anything else that calls for grated parmesan, this crumbly cashew cheese has a salty, nutty flavor, just like the real stuff. Made with organic ingredients including hemp seed, nutritional yeast, and spices, you’ll get the cheesy taste, added benefits of protein, and none of the woes that come with a dairy allergy.Buy Now
vegan cheese sauce is a good choice for a gooey mac and cheese, to pour over steamed broccoli or cauliflower, or to stand in for queso. While it’s not going to have all the flavor of real cheese sauce or a bechamel, it’s the next best thing if you have vegan priorities. Buy Now
Related Reading: Are Oreos Really Vegan?
If you’ve got a thing for soft, herbed, spreadable cheeses like Boursin but need a vegan option, then you’d be wise to snag a package of this soft nut cheese. Treeline’s soft cheese comes in a few great-tasting flavors including scallion and cracked pepper and the classic herb and garlic (pictured above). Excellent in sandwiches or simply with crackers.Buy Now
When you just need a delicious slice to layer into your vegan bacon club or for grilled cheese to accompany a bowl of tomato soup, this smoked provolone “cheese” is here for you.Buy Now
This sturdy Greek vegan cheese is made with coconut oil and tofu and melts down nicely over a burger, bread, or piece of chicken (fowl or faux). A dose of cracked black pepper kicks it up, too.Buy Now
Nachos, quesadillas, chili, baked potatoes, grilled cheese. You know what to do with this vegan cheddar cheese substitute. Completely dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free as well as vegan, it’s also shredded for easy melting. Buy Now
While cashews and other nuts are used for a lot of the new vegan cheeses, tofu still makes a great candidate for the softer substitutes like vegan cream cheese. Creamy as the real stuff, Tofutti packs in some protein atop your bagel, too.Buy Now
Okay, so this one isn’t technically just cheese, but Daiya shredded vegan mozzarella sits on top of one of my favorite vegan frozen pizzas in the game.Buy Now
Related Reading: Mmm, Soy Good: The Best Vegan Foods at Trader Joe’s
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Header image courtesy of Treeline