Dairy and Lactose Be Damned! (Vegan) Cheese-Drenched Munchies for the Rest of Us

Praise be to Daiya! Lactose intolerant rejoice! Finally, a vegan cheese worth bragging about has arrived on the market. Let’s be real here ““ many vegan cheeses get the texture, smell, and taste way wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. When the rave reviews started rolling in for Daiya cheese I put my skeptic’s hat on as I prepared to put the stuff through all the paces.

Sometimes a girl just wants nachos that taste super delicious with cheese that melts and stretches and doesn’t smell like plastic, ya know?  So I give great thanks and appreciation to a product that actually delivers. Daiya finally got it right when it comes to making a vegan cheese I not only enjoy, but find somewhat addictive.  Nevermore will the lactose intolerant nor vegan among us have to pine for the joy of a totally indulgent cheese drenched pile of cheese fries enjoyed by the rest of you.

How thrilled am I to know that now I can make midnight munchie nachos? Or baked ziti. Or pizza. And minus the cholesterol, lactose, and animal suffering found in dairy. There are multiple products on the market now that use Daiya too, including my fave Amy’s microwaveable Mac and Cheese entree.

One of my late night guilty pleasures is dropping by Foodswings, a vegan fast food joint in Brooklyn, for their midnight munchies menu including an assortment of cheese fries and occasionally mozzarella sticks.  Snooping around the Internet, I found a recipe I’ve yet to try by  The Vegan Zombie for Daiya Cheese Stix and am highly tempted to make this weekend:

What’s your favorite cheese-drenched guilty pleasure?

Daiya cheese is available shredded in both cheddar and mozzarella varieties. To find Daiya in your area, check out their website search page.

By Jamie J. Hagen

Jamie J. Hagen lives in Brooklyn and is a Contributing Editor for Autostraddle and writer for The Line Campaign. Follow her on twitter @jamiejhagen and visit her personal website for more of her work.

15 replies on “Dairy and Lactose Be Damned! (Vegan) Cheese-Drenched Munchies for the Rest of Us”

Processed products certainly have their drawbacks. And I do agree that having a Daiya cheese pizza can be heavy, as some folks have noted.

But I gotta say once again: it’s the best vegan cheese I’ve tried by a long shot and I do think it’s nice to make up some quesadillas or toss some on a potato per the recommendations below when you have a hankering for a snack.

Places like Candle Cafe and Blossom make some wicked good “cheese” out of various nuts that have blown my mind and if I were cooking for a dinner party, I’d dig for a recipe along those lines. But if I’m hanging out with my cat and want to eat some nachos, I’m goin’ for the Daiya.

I loathe processed fake cheeses, but I am forcing myself to get used to Daiya – it doesn’t taste a bit like cheese, but it tastes relatively alright. At least it doesn’t shrivel and char when you put it on pizza.

I do have a kick-ass vegan ricotta recipe and a pretty solid mac n cheese recipe, too.

Man, sorry to be such a Debbie Downer but I just can’t get into vegan cheeses. I have noticed huge improvements though, just in the past few years. Maybe I’m just slow to change? I mean, I adore nutritional yeast AKA nootch, though. ADORE. J’adore. It’s retro and delicious. And sometimes fortified with B vitamins.

So when you make those kinds of dishes you never use imitation products? Do you always make a “cheese” out of something like tofu, yeast and spices?
A vegan restaurant in my city makes a really good cashew cheese sauce. I think it must have lots of yeast in it because it is very yellow but it doesn’t taste overly yeasty.

Yes, I really love cheddar Daiya! I’m pretty sure the inclusion of nutritional yeast is what makes it taste so good. When my boyfriend and I are feeling lazy we just get Papa Murphy’s frozen pizza and Daiya the shiz out of it. However, I do agree with dellbot, I have gone out and gotten it on pizza before where they put too much and it makes it really heavy and kinda mushy.
But while my boy and I are vegan, my sister is actually lactose-intolerant and gluten-intolerant, and for some reason something about the cheddar flavor hurts her stomach, despite the labels stating it is clearly df/gf.

Also, I am such a frustrated midwestern learning to be vegan girl right now. I have been moaning about my inability to just lolly about and go grab a vegan milkshake anytime I want. I don’t want to have to make it myself! I guess I need to visit my friend in Brooklyn so I can fill up on Foodswings.

I’m lactose intolerant and I’m so glad to hear that there’s a vegan cheese out there that tastes like actual cheese. Popping Lactaid when I want some cheesy goodness is getting tiring. I checked Daiya’s website and there are two stores near me that sell it. I’m definitely going to try it the next time I need cheese!

Yes Daiya! I find if it’s on too thick it can be a bit much, especially for pizza. That said, I make my own ‘pizza’ when I’m lazy using Daiya: Take one Ezekiel wrap (others work but the toughness of the Ezekiel wraps make for a good crust), smear with tomato sauce (and hot sauce if you are me), sautee some mushrooms/onions, throw on wrap, add some sliced tomotoes, a smattering of Daiya and broil for like five minutes. Sometimes I put tempeh on it too. Soooo good. In fact, I think that’s what I’m going to do right now.

Apparently you can freeze it too. Anyone tried? Did it work?

Daiya cheese is excellent in quesadillas. I make them by sauteeing onion, pepper, and black beans together along with some chili powder. Then I set the mixture aside, put down a little bit of olive oil to grill the tortilla. Then goes a small layer of cheese, the filling, then the amount of cheese. It’s grilled on medium-high heat, then flipped when it looks golden brown on the bottom. Then once it’s the same on both sides, you remove it from the pan and you’ve got the cheese melted, the tortilla grilled, and the filling warm and oozing out of the corners of the tortilla. ‘Tis both easy and delicious. Now I’m hungry!

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