Monday, April 5, 2010

Daiya Vegan Cheese

The vegan world has been gushing about Daiya Dairy-Free Shreds since it first arrived on scene months ago. And this stuff really is The ShitTM. Not only is it completely vegan, it is FREE of typical allergens, including soy, gluten, wheat, barley, corn, rice, and nuts. How awesome is that!?

In the past, there have been several problems with the non-dairy cheeses. First, many of them really aren't non-dairy as they still have lactose and/or casein. Their claim of being non-dairy is a joke, and they definitely aren't vegan. The biggest problem with the ones that *are* completely vegan cheeses has been meltability. Since casein is what traditionally makes dairy cheese melt, not using casein has been challenging for the cheese alternatives. Most vegan cheeses just don't melt well. Some go greasy and runny, and some just don't taste 'right'. Vegans generally either avoided using the cheese alternatives, or they suffered through the limitations. But now, with Daiya, you get a good meltiness and a good taste! I can't swear that it tastes like the cheddar and mozzarella you remember, because it has been so long since I have had either, but I can say that I like the taste and texture of the Daiya and it works perfectly for what I need.

(with Daiya Vegan Cheese...the potatoes have a crispy top
shell only because it was cooked that way, the innards
are melted vegan cheesy goodness.)

I have been using it on homemade pizza, grilled cheese sammies, quesadillas, and most recently, scalloped potatoes (photo above). I haven't really tried the Daiya shreds unmelted, because I really only use cheese replacements for melted cheese foods. When I ate dairy cheese, I didn't really like cheese. But these days, I am really enjoying the cheese alternative.

Where can you find Daiya? Both Amy's Brand and Tofurky are releasing frozen pizzas with Daiya cheese. And I believe Gardein is using it in some of their products too. Local restaurants zpizza and Green both offer menu items utilizing Daiya cheese. And lastly, Whole Foods is selling the Daiya cheese shreds so you can create your own 'cheesy' dishes.

Ranking: *****

***** awesome! Highly recommended.
**** hey, this is pretty dang good.
*** not bad at all.
** eh.
* bad. Keep looking for alternatives.

[Daiya can be found at Whole Foods.]


Veg-In-Training said...

I can tell you that Daiya is omni approved. My family and friends have tried it and they like it. Granted, they say it is a bit different from the "real" thing, but it comes darn close depending on what you use it in. It's super good in casserole style dishes and lasagne!

Kenike said...

My omni mom had my scalloped potatoes and said they were good and just needed more salt, which had nothing to do with the Daiya and everything to do with how much salt she likes on potatoes. :)

Otherwise, I haven't used it alot for dishes I am sharing with omnis. Not yet anyway.