There are many vegan cheeses sold these days, but some are better than others. Here are a few good artisan brands, the good news is that some are now being sold in most grocery stores.
Recycle plastic packaging at supermarket bag bins. During pregnancy, avoid unpasteurised, blue and mould-ripened cheeses. Keep ice-packs away from children and pets. Read food safety for people & pets (vegan cheese is unsafe near animal friends due to nuts, salt, garlic, spices etc).
Kinda Co (Somerset, England) is a wonderful little company that began in London, and now makes award-winning dairy-free cheeses (both block and cream cheeses). Most use compostable or easy-to-recycle packaging, and the cream cheeses are sold in glass jars.
The founder was a cheese addict, who after ditching dairy began experimenting with plant-based alternatives. They turned out so good, the woman runs her own mini-vegan-cheese empire! Today the cheeses are sold online and throughout England. She even teaches others how to make vegan cheese at her own Kindacademy (and Made in Hackney, a London community-based plant-food cooking school).
Mostly, these cheeses are made with cashews and almonds, so they are high in protein and calcium (though obviously not suitable for nut allergies). There are many soy-free cheeses, and some use miso (a fermented Japanese ingredient that is one of the few plant foods with perfect umami – the combination of all tastes). And good for your tummy!
Once bought, store these cheeses in the fridge (they have a several-week shelf life until opened, then enjoy within a few days). You can freeze the block cheeses for 6 months, then defrost overnight in the fridge before eating. It’s not recommended to freeze the jar cheeses, due to the glass containers. If you like ‘melting cheeses’, the block cheeses are ideal, and can also be stirred into mashed potatoes or pasta sauces. Wholesale orders are available, just get in touch!
The block cheese range includes:
- Farmhouse (like mature cheddar)
- Greek-style (like feta cheese)
- Garlic & herb (Boursin alternative)
- Italian-style (Parmesan alternative)
- Summer truffle
The glass jar cream cheeses include:
- Farmhouse (mature cheddar)
- Nacho dip
- Lemon dill
- Sour cream & chive
handmade artisan cheeses from London
I Am Nut OK (London, England) is an amazing company run by an Italian/American couple, who after giving up dairy, used their skills to create plant-based aged fermented nut cheeses, with notes of flavour from herbs and spices.
All the cheese spreads are sold in glass jars, and other cheeses are wrapped in compostable film and shipped without styrofoam, kept cool with paper insulation or repurposed bubble wrap. Wholesale orders are available, just get in touch! The unique range includes:
- C’e Dairy? Mature is an umami-rich alternative to mature cheddar, with hints of salty, sweet, sour & bitter.
- Oh, Grate! is a plant-based Parmesant alternative, perfect for pasta, soup and salad.
- G.O.A.T. Italian Herb is a tangy herb cashew cheese, with citrus & floral notes. Nice with crackers & sundried tomatoes, in pasta sauce or on pizza.
- Ho, Ho, Ho Grate is a sage & onion cheese (festive only) for winter soups, roast vegetables and potatoes.
- Sauvignonsense is aged with upcycled grapes from wineries, makes a wonderful cheeseboard accompaniment with a glass of red wine.
- Nerominded is a black truffle vegan cheese, with hints of garlic
- Minerthreat is an activated charcoal vegan cheese, with a black vein running through the centre, and deep woody hickory flavours. Made with cashew nuts.
- Paparica is a smoked paprika cheese, with a hint of spice.
- You can also order a ‘Wonky Wedge’ (these are the ends sliced from traditional cheese wheels). Same cheese, but you get a more affordable price and reduce food waste!
Honestly Tasty cheese from London
Honestly Tasty is now sold at M & S and online at Ocado. Enjoy Blue, Bree & Shamembert in M & S and via Ocado (where you’ll also find their Garlic & Herb). All made from natural ingredients to artisan cheese-making standards. You’ll also find these cheeses in 70 indie stores and in Selfridges (London) and Planet Organic (a chain of London health stores). 2% of all revenue is donated to a farm sanctuary in Wales (and a non-profit social enterprise in London).
The cheese is also sold in around 1000 stores nationwide including Holland & Barrett stores (they make cheese under the shop label). Pretenslydale, Smoked Good-a and Lemon & Dill are all seasonal specials, only available until the end of Veganuary!
artisan vegan cheese sold in Waitrose
Palace Culture has become one of the first artisan vegan cheeses to make it to supermarket shelves. This one is now stocked in Waitrose. Sold in sustainable packaging, this company began in a family kitchen in London due to the founder’s son’s dairy intolerance. The cheeses are made from organic cashews and almonds (grown with regenerative farming in Spain) and the company offers hard and cream cheeses, flavoured with sea salt, herbs and spices.
artisan vegan cheese from Tyneside
Tyne Chease (based just outside Newcastle) makes truly wonderful vegan cheeses. Expensive, but worth it for a treat! Cultured and aged like traditional cheese, these are sold in good delis and farm shops, or order online (including taster boxes). Most are based around organic cashew nuts, and the company works with supplieres, to ensure fair working conditions.
These artisan vegan cheeses keep up to a month in the fridge (or 3 months if frozen). Once opened, store in their boxes (or transfer to airtight containers) but don’t store near the back of the fridge, as this increases condensation. These are not ‘melting cheeses’ (though you may be able to turn them into sauces or fondue if you’re a good chef!), but are more for cheeseboards with fruit and wine. All have a tangy taste, due to the culture. Choose from:
- Apple smoked
- Chives or garlic
- Pink peppercorn
- Pickled onion
- Ethiopian spice
- Cream cheeses in glass jars (smoked, truffle, creamy garlic & chives)
This recipe for vegan Greek feta cheese (Rainbow Plant Life) is ideal to serve alongside Greek salads, or to top pizzas and flatbreads. Feta cheese is a briny salty cheese that’s also nice with grilled or roasted vegetables and added to pasta dishes. This version is a good way to try working with tofu (choose a sustainable brand, and recycle packaging at supermarket bag bins). Made from soy, you simply slice extra-firm tofu into cubes, then make a homemade marinade to let it sit in. The marinade is a tasty mix of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, spices, salt and pepper, apple cider vinegar and two special ingredients: One is miso (a fermented paste from Japan that contains all the ‘umami’ flavours’ and is good for your tummy. The second is nutritional yeast, a B12-rich condiment that is naturally cheesy in flavour.
Kinda Co Greek Style is made in Somerset, and sold in sustainable packaging. It’s made with cashew and almond nuts, and ideal for salad, pasta and pizza. 14 day shelf life (defrost in fridge if freezing for up to 3 months and eat within 4 days).
I Am Nut OK Fetamorphosis is an artisan brand made in London, with cashew nuts. It gives the same tangy briny taste and lasts up to a few days in the fridge (can be frozen).