Cheese is one of the highly popular dairy products across the world and cheese lovers would have a hard time during the first days after they adopt a vegan lifestyle. However, there are several vegan cheese options that taste as good as dairy cheese.
Vegan cheeses are made using a variety of plant ingredients and come in various flavors.
What Are The Different Sources Used In Making Vegan Cheese?
Here is a list of the sources that are used to make different varieties of vegan cheese.
Soy is one of the most popular plant-based products used as substitutes for animal products. Several commercial brands make cheese from soy products like tofu or some other forms of soy protein. Gums and vegetable oils are some of the ingredients used to mimic the characteristic taste and texture of real cheese.
Some soy-based cheeses may contain casein, a milk protein added to it to make the soy cheese melt like real cheese. However, casein, being a milk protein isn’t vegan and that makes the soy cheese containing casein non-vegan.
The high fat content of coconut makes it a suitable ingredient to make vegan cheese. However, more ingredients like corn starch, agar-agar, potato and/or tapioca starch, and carrageenan will be required to attain the same density and texture as that of real cheese.
Often, flavor-boosting ingredients have to be added to mask the strong flavor of coconut that doesn’t resemble the flavor of cheese at all. Nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, and lemon juice are some of the common flavor boosters added to make cheese using coconut.
Aquafaba is the liquid obtained from canned chickpeas. Although the liquid is mostly thrown away, it has various uses in vegan cooking. It is an excellent ingredient in cheese making as it allows the final product to melt like dairy cheese. However, you cannot obtain the exact texture and taste of cheese with aquafaba alone and you will have to add other ingredients like carrageenan, cashews etc.
Some varieties of vegan cheese can be made from root vegetables but those types aren’t very popular. Potatoes and carrots are the common sources of vegan cheese and cheese made using these vegetables has a soft gravy-like consistency.
The vegetables are first cooked until they become soft and then they are blended with other ingredients including salt, water, oil, and spices.
How healthy is a form of vegan cheese depends on its type and how often you consume it. It is not advisable to make vegan cheese as the sole source of nutrition because that may have some negative effects.