To say we’re excited for #NationalCheeseLoversDay is an understatement. It’s no secret that we love cheese, but, for some of us, it doesn’t love us back *reaches for Lactaid*
Whatever your reason for resolving to try one of the many reduced-dairy diets for the new year, here are some great alternatives to have on-hand for when you want to indulge without any added guilt.
Luckily, a lot has changed in the world of non-dairy cheese in the last few years and a new crop of artisanal, nut and protein based spreads are here to save the dairy-free day. Start with our plain, dairy-free CAULIPOWER crust and build the pie of your dreams with the help of meltable, sliceable, spreadable, and creamy 'cheeses.' These will surely moo-ve you:
1. Ricotta - One of the lighter Italian cheeses, it's great on pasta, pizza, and even dessert! To substitute ricotta cheese in your dishes, there are more options than you could imagine - made from cashews, coconut oil, or even tofu. No matter what base you prefer, it’s pretty much a staple among vegan and non-dairy eaters because of its versatility. We like this simple coconut-based recipe from Nerdy Mamma, which, in addition to all the usual dairy-free benefits, provides the added bonus of the heart-health boosting properties of coconut oil's naturally healthy fatty acids. And once your fluffy creation is complete, be sure to check out our Instagram for some unexpected topping combos that include Ricotta, like this winter seasonal plum dessert pizza.
2. Parmesan - It’s hard to imagine eating a pizza, or any italian dish for that matter, without a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top. Thankfully, there is a delicious, dairy-free alternative! Vegan parmesan cheese is probably the most versatile of the alternatives and super easy to make. Blended in a food processor, it's typically made using just 3 ingredients: raw cashews or almonds, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder, which helps keep that nutty flavor you expect from Parmesan intact. We love this protein and flavor-packed recipe from Minimalist Baker.
3. Mozzarella - For many pizza-lovers, this is the ONLY cheese. Store-bought vegan mozzarella is a favorite pizza topper amongst our fans, and we've seen some drool-worthy recipes with Daiya, one of our fellow mavericks of deliciously nutritious food hacks. You can also make it easily right at home. Like most dairy-free cheeses, there are plenty of options with cashews or almonds, but sometimes, in addition to being dairy-free, many folks are nut-free, so we thought we'd go where many have never (soy) bean before. Take a look at these 36 varieties - yes, 36 - from The Green Loot. Number 3 is perfect for melting over CAULIPOWER.
4. Blue Cheese - An aqcuired taste, blue makes a nice accent for simpler concoctions or as an adventurous dip. Its creamy texture is easy to replicate with any number of bases, but can be made as tangy and pungent as the real thing with apple cider vinegar or, if you're ambitious, this recipe uses traditional cheese-making techniques, and even has its own blue rind that will make your dinner guests anything but blue.
And if you're short on time (you are), here's a list of ready-made dairy-free cheeses even hardcore foodies can get behind:
So print out this quick reference and tack on your fridge as a reminder of easy go-to alternatives for four fave cheeses.