We have to agree that there's something special about finishing the day with a nice glass of wine and a delicious piece of cheese. But what if your body isn't a big fan of cheese? What if you've made the decision to go vegan? What if you've developed a dairy sensitivity but can't imagine your life without cheese? Don't worry if you're allergic to dairy but still want consistency and protein in your dishes.
Don't worry if you don't want to get fat and still want your food to feel cheesy and delicious. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from nowadays, so you don't have to forego a cheesy guilty pleasure. So, please look at some of our favorite cheese substitutes below and try them the next time you're at the grocery store.
1. Cashew Cheese
Cashew cheese is one of our absolute favourite cheese alternatives. It's a great non-dairy alternative that's typically made of blended cashews, water, nutritional yeast, and seasoning. Cashew cheese has a nutty and salty flavor and a consistency similar to ricotta or hummus, so it works well as a sauce or dip, in vegan mac and cheese, or as a cracker spread. You can make your own or try vegan cheese brands like Treeline Treenut Cheese, which uses cashew nuts that are naturally cultured and aged to perfection!
2. Sweet Potato Sauce
The delicious alternative to cheese is sweet potato sauce! You need to mash up some sweet potatoes, add carrots, onions, lemon juice, and white beans, and season with salt and pepper to create this creamy substitute.
This saucy concoction is also delicious in vegan mac and cheese or as a delicious, healthier dip for nachos. If you want to amp up the flavour and make your sweet potato sauce more smokey, add some soy sauce, paprika, liquid smoke, or garlic powder.
3. Vegan Pesto
The thought of a nice, hot bowl of perfectly cooked pasta topped with delicious pesto is enough to make our mouths water. However, if you are vegan or want to avoid dairy, you should avoid store-bought pesto. This is due to the fact that pesto is typically made with basil, olive oil, pine nuts, spices, and freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese.
But don't worry; you can make your vegan pesto and continue to enjoy your favorite pasta dishes without the worry of dairy. Simply combine basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and walnuts or pine nuts in a mixing bowl. If you want a more 'cheesy' flavor in your pesto, add some nutritional yeast, and you've got yourself a delicious dinner!
If you prefer a firmer texture in your vegan cheese or are looking for a healthier, non-dairy alternative to mozzarella to use on your homemade pizza, try tofu. It's very easy to find in most grocery stores and comes in various flavors and spices. Tofu does not melt like cheese, so it cannot be used as a dip or spread, but due to its firmness, it is an excellent substitute for meat protein in various dishes. Tofu can add some extra consistency to your vegan or vegetarian dishes by being high in protein and low in fat. Consider it a good substitute for feta cheese.
If you haven't tried hummus yet, you're definitely missing out, especially if you're looking for a tasty substitute for cheese. Hummus is an excellent spread and can also be used as a sauce for pasta or as a pizza topping. It has a rich and salty flavor and a thick, creamy consistency, making it ideal as a cheese substitute in a meal or as a healthy snack throughout the day.
The best part is that hummus can be found in most grocery stores or food markets, and it comes in a variety of flavours. You can also make your hummus and dip your chips or mix it with some vegan pesto for added flavor.
6. Zucchini Cheese
If cashew cheese isn't your thing, try zucchini cheese to see if it works better for you. It's also an excellent substitute if you're allergic to nuts or prefer a more solid consistency. This is because you can make your own delicious zucchini cheese slices to toss in a salad or snack on.
Simply steam and blend your zucchini, add some lemon juice, coconut oil, salt, nutritional yeast, and gelatin and refrigerate the mixture in a pan. Then take it out of the fridge, slice it up or cut it into cubes, and add it to your favorite recipes. It should be noted that zucchini cheese is non-dairy but not vegan because it contains gelatin (an animal-based product).
7. Tahini Spread
Tahini spread is one of the simplest and most delicious cheese substitutes to make at home and add to your salad, sandwich, dip, or any other recipe you desire. It has a creamy, spreadable consistency and is made only of sesame seeds and a little olive oil. It goes well with hummus and baba ghanoush, as well as many other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. If you don't have the time to grind your own sesame seeds, there are plenty of options available in health food stores.
8. Ricotta Cheese
They are both Italian kinds of cheese and are spreadable, smooth, and milky-sweet. However, ricotta is way moister and cheesier, having a grainy texture and a nice bite. The processes for making these two kinds of cheese differ, after all, and ricotta forms curds when coagulated and strained, being soft, sweet, and milky. At the same time, mascarpone is rich, decadent, buttery, and not so watery.
Ricotta is made by "cooking" leftover whey from mozzarella and provolone cheese until curds form. Ricotta is lower in fat than mascarpone and isn't as buttery and velvety. So, there is a trick to making it a good mascarpone substitute. If you combine the ricotta with whipped cream and cream cheese, it will fool anyone into thinking it is the fattier Italian brother.
9. Full Fat Greek Yogurt
While mascarpone is more difficult to find and more expensive, Greek yogurt is more widely available and less expensive. Greek yogurt is not as creamy as regular yogurt and has a tangier flavor. However, it pairs well with fruit recipes that include mascarpone (grilled peaches, yoghurt, honey, and mint, anyone?). Cooking yogurt at high temperatures can cause it to curdle, resulting in an unappealing appearance and texture.
Fontina is a popular cheese in Italy. This variety, like Swiss cheeses, originates in the Alps. Fresh, unpasteurized cow's milk is used to make it. This premium cheese has distinct characteristics, the most notable of which is its fine texture. Fontina is a soft, buttery cheese ideal for sandwiches or bruschetta. It is considered a good substitute for Swiss cheese due to its characteristics and high melting capabilities.
The color of this almost spreadable cheese is straw, and as it matures, it becomes darker and drier. Fontina has small holes and is a dense cheese with a certain amount of elasticity. Cheeses, like wines, can have a variety of flavors and hints, and Fontina is best described as nutty. In addition, hints like honey or mushrooms make it stand out when added to different dishes or eaten alone.
Fontina is regarded as a highly versatile cheese that can be used for any occasion. It goes well with various types of meat, making it an excellent choice for appetizers and buffets that include salami or ham.
Fontina can be used in a wide range of dishes, particularly those inspired by or originating in Italian cuisine. This tasty and inexpensive cheese can be used in pasta, various types of pizza, rosemary chicken, tart, cheesy tots, and gnocchi.
11. Hung Curd
One of the best reasons to use hung curd instead of cream cheese is that it has a lower fat content. Which, of course, is always a good thing. If you want a healthier alternative to cream cheese, hung curd is your best bet. It's also a versatile item. It's a great ingredient for making delicious dips, baking goods, and cake frostings, but it needs to be sweetened with honey or maple syrup.
Kefir, which originated in Turkey, is essentially a drink made from fermented milk. Because kefir is more watery than cream cheese, it cannot be used as a cream cheese substitute. To use kefir as cream cheese, you'll need to add another ingredient: chia seeds. When you combine chia seeds and kefir, the extra water will fill them up, resulting in a richer, creamier consistency. This is best for dips and savory dishes rather than desserts or frosting.