Hello, and welcome to “How I Live a Life Without Cheese!” If you’re facing a dairy-free diet and you, too, are wondering how you can possibly live without cheese, there’s hope!
This is a long, comprehensive blog post, updated for 2020, with a lot to read through about vegan cheese recipes, store-bought vegan cheese, and cheesy recipes without the dairy. So I recently added a Table of Contents to make it more navigable. I hope that helps!
Table of Contents
- Introduction: Why I Eat a Dairy-Free Diet
- Vegan Cheese
- Classically Cheesy Foods That Can Actually Be Plenty Delicious Without Dairy
- In Conclusion/More Reading
Introduction: Why I Eat a Dairy-Free Diet
Thump. Thump. ThumpTHUMP-thump. Thump.
About a year ago, I was experiencing some strange health issues. I felt sluggish, my digestive system was not happy, and the constant thump-THUMP-thumping heart palpitations were unnerving to say the least.
So, after ruling out any dangerous cardiac conditions, I went to see a naturopath for the first time. When she suggested I remove dairy from my diet to see if it made a difference, I admit I had a hard time believing that dairy could be the culprit. But I was willing to try anything. Studies show that 60% of adults have some level of lactose intolerance, so maybe it wasn’t that far-fetched after all.
And sure enough, my symptoms ceased. I felt clearer, lighter, less gastric pain, and my heartbeat returned to normal. Over the course of the year, I’ve challenged the theory, and whenever I eat certain kinds of dairy – cheese, in particular – the palpitations return. (Note: If you are experiencing similar symptoms, please go see a medical professional NOW. I am far from one!)
(2018 update: I’ve since been tested and found I have a sensitivity to whey, a protein found in dairy products. Bittersweet confirmation!)
At first, remarkably, I was fine with eliminating dairy. I just wanted to feel better. But then, the reality of a dairy-free diet set in. The stuff is in everything! Especially delicious things!
Worst of all was giving up cheese. This girl really loves her cheese. And as a vegetarian, I must say that cutting the dairy from my diet has been far more difficult than giving up meat ever was.
Ultimately, though, it’s a small sacrifice for my health. And the fact is, even though two sweeping categories of food – meat and dairy – are no longer a part of my diet, the food options are still vast. Infinite, really.
But, man. There are times when nothing compares to a big, cheesy plate of amazingness. Lasagna, macaroni and cheese, pizza, frickin’ grilled cheese. Whimper.
So here’s how I manage to live a life without cheese. First, I’ll talk about some vegan cheese options, then I’ll list some of my favorite cheesy foods along with alternative ideas. I’ve also linked more than 50 recipes – all dairy-free, all delicious!
If you, too, are facing a life without cheese, I hope you’ll find it useful.
There’s a whole world of vegan cheeses out there, both homemade and store-bought. Here are some of the vegan cheeses that find their way into my kitchen these days.
Homemade Vegan Cheese
Homemade Nut Parmesan
If I’d known about nut parmesan (also known as “fairy dust”) before going dairy-free, I still would have consumed it with delight. In a, um, nutshell, cashews or almonds are finely ground then mixed with nutritional yeast flakes, salt, and perhaps a little garlic powder. The result is remarkably reminiscent of actual grated Parmesan cheese and is oh-so delicious on pasta dishes, soups, and especially sprinkled over popcorn.
Recipes to try:
- Cashew Parmesan from Detoxinista
- Almond Parmesan from A Simple Veganista
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese with Hemp Seeds from Eating Bird Food
- Vegan Cacio e Pepe from me, using delicious nut parm!
Homemade “Cheese” Made from Veggies
With a little ingenuity, remarkably creamy and cheesy sauces can be made with a handful of miracle veggies – namely, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash. Usually, nutritional yeast is added as well. Yes, “nooch” is somewhat of a strange ingredient, but make the leap! It’s worth it (plus it’s an incredible source of vitamin B-12).
Recipes to try:
- Vegan Butternut Welsh Rarebit (one of my all-time favorite recipes!)
- Creamy Cauliflower Sauce from Detoxinista (a dairy-free adaptation of Pinch of Yum’s glorious creation)
- Cauli-Power Fettucine Alfredo from Oh She Glows
- Sweet Potato Nacho Cheese from Blissful Basil
- I have not tried eggplant-based cheese (WHAT!) but I’m also pretty intrigued by this Cashew-Less Vegan Queso from Minimalist Baker.
Homemade Tofu Cheese
I’ve started making two different kinds of “cheese” – ricotta and feta – from tofu, and I’m continually surprised by how close it tastes to real cheese! Tofu ricotta, especially, takes on the exact creamy consistency of actual ricotta – it’s really kind of uncanny. Plus, like dairy cheese, it’s a great source of protein!
Recipes to try:
- Watermelon & Marinated Tofu “Feta” Skewers
- Tofu Basil Ricotta from Happy Herbivore
- Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese from Simple Vegan Blog
Homemade Cashew Cheese
Although I haven’t yet tried making cashew cheese myself, it’s such a popular option overall that I would be remiss to leave that option out. From milks to coffee creamers to creamy sauces and the above-mentioned Parmesan, raw cashews are the most amazing ingredient for a dairy-free diet, bar none. As if it wasn’t amazing enough already, you can also make cheese with it!
Recipes to try:
- Go-To Cashew Cheese Recipe from The Full Helping
- Vegan “Goat” Cheese from Spa Bettie
- Smokey Chipotle Cashew Cheese from Tasting Page
- Classic Cashew Cheese 3 Ways from Nutrition Stripped
Store-Bought Vegan Cheese
When I first wrote this article in 2015, it wasn’t as simple as just swapping out actual real dairy cheese with store-bought vegan cheese. Because vegan cheese just wasn’t the same! But it’s now 2020, and there are now some really delicious vegan cheese products out there!
Kite Hill makes a wide variety of vegan yogurts, and a couple of decent cheeses as well. I often buy Kite Hill almond ricotta cheese for pizza and vegan lasagna. It’s creamy and really, really similar to the real thing, both texture and taste-wise. Kite Hill also makes a nice cream cheese. They also carry refrigerated tortellini and ravioli products at my local grocery store with their almond ricotta inside. So good!
Vegan chef Miyoko Schinner is behind this vegan brand that makes some innovative vegan cheeses and a really great vegan butter too. Their cheese wheels come in a creative variety of flavors, and they have a couple of mozzarella cheeses to choose from too: Fresh Vegan Mozzarella and Smoked Vegan Mozzarella. It doesn’t get melty like real mozzarella, but they taste pretty good (especially the smoked version). Their vegan cream cheese is great too – it has a nice tang to it.
Also unique to Miyokos is their line of roadhouse cheeses – pub-style cheese dips. I haven’t tried one of these yet but can’t wait to!
Treeline’s high-quality products are made from naturally cultured cashews. And their vegan cheese is really great – one of my faves! It’s perfect for epic vegan cheese boards. Treeline carries both soft French-style cashew cheeses (my favorite is scallion) and aged cashew cheese wheels. They also have a delicious cream cheese.
Chao by Field Roast
I love Chao cheese! It comes in slices that are shockingly melty and delicious. Personally, I think Chao is the best vegan cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches. It comes in three flavors: Creamy Original, Garden Herb, and Tomato Cayenne. The latter is a bit too spicy for me, but I love both Creamy Original and Garden Herb in grilled cheese. A nice slice of Creamy Original heightens my Tofurky or Field Roast sandwiches too. Field Roast also has a new Chao mac and cheese product that looks interesting!
Daiya is probably the most widely known and available brand of vegan cheese. Out of their entire line-up, I can only really recommend their shredded mozzarella, and even then, it’s not the best. We have pizza every Friday night, and on the rare occasion that I’m really missing mozzarella, I’ll top mine with Daiya mozzarella-style shreds. It “melts and stretches” as their package proclaims, and does the trick.
Violife is a recent discovery that makes a decent shredded mozzarella. If I had to choose between the two for Friday pizza night, Violife wins. I have heard from other readers that they enjoy their other products too.
Recipes to try:
- Jalapeno Macaroni & Cheese Cups from Diethood
Classically Cheesy Foods That Can Actually Be Plenty Delicious Without Dairy
Okay, so here are some of the classically cheesy foods we all know and love, along with some of the cheese-free alternatives I’ve been enjoying.
We have pizza every Friday night. So health-wise, it’s perhaps a good thing that I had to nix the cheese!
I’ve tried vegan pizza many ways over the past year, and I have to say, a pizza without cheese isn’t really as depressing as it sounds! I’ve found that you either need to have 1) some element of creamy (to make up for the creaminess the cheese would have contributed, like a creamy sauce or flavorful pesto), or 2) add a little vegan cheese to the mix – either nut parm or store-bought. Otherwise, good ingredients like an amazing homemade crust and a terrific sauce go a long way.
Recipes to try:
- Vegan Summer Pizza with Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, and Basil – The creamy sauce made with pureed coconut milk, garlic, and corn totally makes this pizza. So good.
- My Favorite Vegan Pizza from Minimalist Baker – Dana sautes the veggies before baking her pizza and swears by it. I’ve tried it – it definitely makes for a tasty pizza! A dusting of cashew parm completes the picture.
- Deep-Dish Vegan Pepperoni Pizza from Namely Marley – that homemade pizza crust, vegan pepperoni, some vegan cheese shreds and nut parm … if you’re really missing traditional pizza, carnivore style, this decadent affair should do you nicely.
- Florentine Dairy-Free Pizza from BBC Good Food – if you’re a meat-eater removing the dairy from your diet, this delicious-looking pizza has plenty of options for you.
Macaroni & Cheese
I waxed poetic about how much I love macaroni and cheese in this post, which is also one of the most popular recipes ever on Kitchen Treaty. But, hey, going cheese-free is an opportunity to be creative in the kitchen, right? Oh, who am I kidding. I miss mac and cheese.
But there are a few options that come surprisingly close to the real thing. Many of them involve some sort of vegetable-based cheese sauce, and they’re remarkably creamy and delicious. There are also options out there that utilize cashews or store-bought vegan cheese products. (I now have a cashew-based vegan shells and cheese recipe that is on constant rotation around here!)
Recipes to try:
- Ridiculously Creamy Vegan Shells & Cheese – Cashew based and SO GOOD. Just swap out the shells for macaroni if you want the full-on mac and cheese experience.
- Creamy Stovetop Vegan Mac & Cheese – This mac & cheese uses sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and no nutritional yeast if you’re not quite ready to try it or (what happens to me often) you’ve run out. I love this stuff!
- Dairy-Free Mac & Cheese from Fork & Beans – Another veggie based version, this one uses cauliflower and butternut squash. I love the cauliflower especially – it gets so silky and creamy smooth when pureed.
- Grown-Up Dairy-Free Mac & Cheese from Go Dairy Free – this version replicates the roux-and-cheese base that is the heart of most classic mac and cheese recipes. It uses almond milk and store-bought vegan cheese and though I haven’t tried this one yet, it looks remarkably good!
- Chipotle Mac & Cheese with Roasted Brussels Sprouts from The Post Punk Kitchen – another cashew-based dream.
- Vegan Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash Noodles from Food, Faith, Fitness – Creamy butternut squash noodles with a creamy, cheesy cashew-based sauce. Yum.
- Creamy One-Pot Pumpkin Pasta – This is not a mac & cheese recipe, but that creamy, tasty sauce is sure reminiscent of many of the qualities of classic mac. I encourage you to give the dairy-free version a try!
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
This recipe for White Pizza Grilled Cheese went viral in Kitchen Treaty’s early days, and trust me, this decadently cheesy sandwich – and grilled cheese sandwiches in general – are one of my favorite foodstuff. Ever. And I hate to say it, but I’ve really not been able to come close to replicating a good grilled cheese sandwich. WAIT, SCRATCH THAT! It’s now 2020, and I can now say that I’m all about Chao slices in grilled cheese sandwiches. A bit of olive oil or vegan butter on the outside of the bread, cook like any ol’ grilled cheese, and you’ve got some serious melty grilled cheese bliss. (Scroll up to the Vegan Cheeses section to read more about Chao).
I’ve also used hummus in lieu of cheese or cheese substitutes altogether. I haven’t quite perfected that one, but it’s passable.
Recipes to try:
- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from Vegan Yumminess – That vegetable-based cheese sauce looks ooey-gooey-melty perfect.
- Vegan Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions from My Whole Food Life – A “cheesy” cashew-based sauce along with a smattering of veggies make this sandwich a contender for sure.
- Tangy Cheese Sauce on a Beastly Pretzel Slider from Spa Bettie – Not a classic grilled cheese per se, but dang if this cheese-and-bread combo doesn’t look insanely good.
This is another cheesy delight that’s hard to come close to replicating. This summer, I worked on a version of this no-bake summer lasagna with tofu ricotta swapped in for the cheeses. It was pretty good! (I need to perfect it and will share the final recipe once I have!)
There are a few ways to go about dairy-free lasagna. First, you can just swap out the cheeses with store-bought vegan cheeses. Done. You can also create a tofu ricotta that tastes much like the real thing – it’s uncanny and delicious in lasagnas. Another great ricotta sub can be made with cashews. Or perhaps a bechamel-like cashew cream? Seriously, is there anything cashews can’t do?!
Finish up with a sprinkle of nut parmesan and deliciousness ensues.
Recipes to try:
- Vegan Lasagna with Lemon Basil Cashew Cheeze from Oh She Glows – This incredibly decadent-looking version makes use of a lemon basil cashew “ricotta” along with store-bought shreds. Yum!
- Ultimate Vegan Lasagna from Vegetarian Times – This one uses both tofu ricotta and vegan cream cheese.
- Vegan Butternut Squash Lasagna with Cashew Cheese & Kale Pesto from Food By Mars – Creamy cashew cheese, pesto, and butternut squash make an extra-healthy lasagna.
Quesadillas are another tough one. Again, store-bought shreds are one option. Another way to go about a cheese-free quesadilla? Try inserting some avocados. They add the creaminess that you’re missing – so good.
Recipes to try:
- Green Chile Enchilada Quesadillas from Fork & Beans – Avocados, onion, black beans, green-chile sauce, and a homemade grain-free tortilla recipe to go along with it for those who are eating gluten-free. Yes yes.
- Vegan Avocado Quesadillas from The Garden Grazer – Super simple yet creamy-dreamy good.
- Quickie Cheeseless Quesadillas from Happy Healthy Life – More avocado plus mashed beans help ensure you’ll never give cheese a second thought.
Cheese dip – one of life’s most divine foodstuffs. This is a tough one to give up.
We’ve got a few plant-based alternatives, though. Pureed veggies with lemon juice, garlic, and other flavorings can fit the bill surprisingly well. There are also cashew-based recipes out there, too.
Recipes to try:
- Velvet Vegan Cheese Sauce from Namely Marly – This dairy-free queso reminds the author of American cheese, but it has two surprisingly healthy ingredients thrown into the mix, pumpkin and chickpeas! Some store-bought shreds seal the deal in this recipe.
- Vegan Butternut Queso from The First Mess – A seriously swoon-worthy imitation of the real thing.
- Nacho Sweet Potato Cheese from Connoisseurus Veg – An excellent rendition of nacho cheese, with the color to match the flavor!
- Cashew Queso from The Post Punk Kitchen – Cashews and miso make a darn tasty combo.
- Vegan Mexican Cheese 3 Ways from Minimalist Baker – Three different ways to get your queso fix, dairy-free. Can’t beat it.
Okay, so pesto isn’t necessarily a “cheesy” food but the traditional stuff usually contains a good dose of Parmesan. But I’ve found that either leaving the cheese out completely or adding in a bit of nutritional yeast and lemon juice yields a glorious pesto. The parm is an afterthought!
Recipes to try:
- My Very Favorite Vegan Pesto Recipe – A versatile, vibrant pesto that proves no parm is needed.
- Dairy-Free Basil Pesto from Overtime Cook – Another great dairy-free pesto option.
- Grilled Summer Vegetable Sandwiches with Pesto – A creamy vegan pesto brings these veggie sandwiches to life.
- Vegan Pesto Parmesan Breadsticks from Minimalist Baker – We’ve got vegan pesto and vegan parm for these bad boys, and I’m not sure I’d have it any other way.
Yup. No dairy = no cream cheese = no cheesecake = waaahhh.
Some tasty no-dairy cheesecakes are out there, though. Most make use of either cashews or tofu, and they’re really decadent and delicious!
Recipes to try:
- No-Bake Vegan Cheesecake from The Roasted Root – Creamy, dreamy, and cashew-based. And when covered in figs and honey … drool.
- Raw Blueberry Cheesecak from Go Dairy Free – From the almond-date crust to the creamy cashew filling to the blueberry topping, this one is definitely special-occasion worthy.
- Dairy-Free Coconut Cheesecake from Jamie Oliver – Cashews + coconut + dates = yes please.
- Vegan Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake from Minimalist Baker – Firm silken tofu gives this autumnal cheesecake its creamy lusciousness.
in conclusion …
See? It might not be so bad to live a life without cheese.
Do you have any dairy-free ideas or recipes you’d like to share? Or a favorite cheesy food you’d like to see made dairy-free but is still delicious? Be sure to share or make a request for ideas in the comments below!
Terrific vegan blog It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken has about a gazillion dairy alternative ideas in this post and video.
Easy Cheese Substitutes
- Nutritional Yeast
- Lemon juice
- Chao cheese
Karen this is a masterpiece — what an amazing resource this is!
Thank you so much, Sue! It took me forEVer to write it, so I especially appreciate that! ;D
Wow, so many great ideas. Thank you for this! By the way, have you tried vegan “Chao” slices? They’re made by Field Roast. Closest thing to dairy cheese that I’ve found, and they melt wonderfully in a grilled cheese sandwich. 🙂
I have not tried Chao slices but now they’re on my list! I *love* Field Roast sausages. Thanks for the tip!
This is such a fantastic read and so informative. I just stumbled onto your page after searching for mezze ideas and ended up on this article which has really inspired me! Dairy gives me trouble but I love it too much to avoid it completely, but having recently gone vegetarian as well there are so many ideas for me just in this one article. Thanks so much and I look forward to trawling through the rest of your blog!
Hi Bec, thanks so much! Seriously – I feel like going vegetarian was SO much easier than eliminating dairy. Every once in awhile I try it again and bam, issues again. I keep hoping it was just a blip! Still, there are so many other wonderful options out there. Best of luck in your journey!
Did you know that you can take medication for lactose intolerance? One pill before breakfast and you’ll be protected whole day. At least my friend with lactose intolerance does that and can eat her beloved cheese! You don’t have to abandon eating cheese just because you are lactose intolerant. Ask about t to your GP!
Hi Jane, thanks for the thought! I have heard of medication but I figure if I can change my diet instead of having to go on medication, I’d rather change my diet! 🙂
It is surprising how easy it was to completely cut cheese out of my life. I don’t replace it with fake cheeses though because there is really no substitute for the real deal. If I’m craving it, I will eat it in really small amounts.
I’m lactose intolerant and I’ve been obsessed with Daiya’s mac n’ cheese from a box lately! It’s sooo creamy and I honestly can’t tell the difference between it and normal, dairy-filled mac n’ cheese (although all my dairy-eating friends disagree). It may be filled with preservatives…but try it out if you’re feeling indulgent. And thanks so much for this awesome resource!
Thank you for this great website. You’ve inspired me. We enjoyed some of the vegan “cheesy” recipes in the May All Be Fed book by John Robbins. The Spinach Lasagne recipe was especially good, but I have been eating a lot of dairy cheese and I know it’s time to stop. My body doesn’t like it any more (did it ever?) and the acupuncture physician I want to go to requires his patients to go dairy free. I’m so glad you posted all those links. Thank you again.
We tried Daiya because we read so much good about it. The clerk at Whole Foods recommended it too, but we didn’t like it at all – not even my son and he will eat almost anything. I think it was the provolone. Do you have to melt it for the good flavors? I think we just ate it out of the package. I’ve been afraid to try their other styles. Thanks.
You’re more than welcome, Sandy! 🙂 I will have to check out that book. My favorite Daiya cheese is the mozzarella-style shreds. Definitely better melted. The slices, I’ve had a harder time loving. Field Roast has a newer product called Chao Slices – they’re pretty good! I’ve only had them melted (in vegan grilled cheese) though.
I’ve tried them all. Personally, I can’t say how much I hate Daya, but to each their own. I do however really like Chao. If you ever run across Earth Island slices or shreds, give them a try. This is by far my favorite processed vegan cheese. It’s a product of Greece. I eat it straight out of the package, no melting required. I have 3 cashew or coconut milk recipes that I alternate through weekly, but the Earth Island is always in my fridge.
Thank you from a fellow cheese addict 🙂
My pleasure! It’s tough!
I’m in my first few days of a 2 month dairy free test to see if it is what’s causing my health problems. I’m experiencing cystic acne and swollen lymph nodes and I’ve come to believe that it’s from dairy. What really surprised me in reading your post here is that I, too, have had what feels like a heart flutter occasionally, but nothing shows up on a stress test or ekg. Could it be dairy? How did your naturopath make that connection? I’d be very interested to hear back from you on that.
Anyhow, I typed into Pinterest “How will I live without cheese” and the magic of the Internet provided me with your incredible post. I truly appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you’ve put into writing this. It gives me hope for my uncertain dairy-free future. I’ve no doubt I’ll be returning to this post several times over the next months and years to figure out how to make nut parm and cauliflower cheese (?FML!) But seriously, thank you 🙂
This article is so so so packed full of great things. I have recently developed a lactose intolerance and I am definitely someone who ate cheese on ANYTHING. I don’t like store bought vegan cheeses and this article opened by eyes to far more options. Thanks so much!
My pleasure! Giving up cheese is a hard one but it does get easier!
Vegan Bananas Foster – dairy-free, much lower in sugar than traditional bananas foster,
Just thought I would mention I have not tasted ‘cheese’ for years, nooch is great but then…. VIOLIFE PARMESAN came to Ireland and you might not believe me but it is CHEESE! It tastes exactly like strong, tasty cheese and yes, it is VEGAN!
Thanks for the tip – I need to check it out!
Do you try to limit soy at all? I’ve read a lot about the dangers of too much given that soy protein mimics estrogen
I love tofu and edamame and eat both often, but I try not to go crazy with it – like maybe one serving per day if that. That’s about the extent for me. 🙂
Thank you, thank you, thank you. This post has given me hope as yesterday I was told I need to cut dairy.
It’s not easy, but it’s totally doable, and there are new products out all the time to help us cope. I plan to update the post soon to include some of my faves, like Silk Almondmilk Yogurt and Kite Hill yogurt and cheeses. And Miyokos Creamery makes this cashew-based sundried-tomato garlic cheese that is SO GOOD. Best of luck – you can do it!
I have to comment about your choice in store-bought vegan cheese. While everyone has their personal tastes, I found Daiya to be one of the worst choices on the market. I gravitate to Field Roast Chao Cheese. It’s a healthier version based on ingredients, it doesn’t contain a ton of preservatives, actually has natural ingredients, and melts so great on a grilled cheese sandwich. I’m not a representative of Field Roast but will forever recommend all of their products due to flavor and natural/healthy ingredients. Thanks for this page, it gives a ton of information that I’ve been looking for!!
Oh I actually love Field Roast products too! I’ll have to add that to the list. Thank you Michelle!
I found out that I was allergic to milk about 15 years. I have cut out dairy completely. I always thought that cheese would be hard to give up, but honestly the thing I miss most is ice cream. Sometimes I get dairy-free ice cream, but it isn’t the same. I bought some fake cheese from Trader Joe’s a couple of years ago and it was indescribable…..bad. I have heard that cashew cheese is good. In the last year I started using clarified butter; it contains neither lactose or casein.
I make grilled hummus sandwiches instead of grilled cheese and love them… especially with red peppper hunmus 😋
I’ve done that too; they’re delicious!
Daiya Cheesecake is very good.
I also use goat cheese for substitutes (per Dr.)
A2 milk is the greatest. No hormones.
You have a lot of good info listed. I have have a milk protein allergy and have learned that some dairy free or vegan cheeses contain milk protein in them. Do you look at this also with your recipes?
My husband discovered for me that any cheese with 0% sugar is naturally lactose free due to the aging process. From my understanding, it tends to be hard cheeses but thats on minimal research. So far sharp and extra sharp cheddar is all that I have found but after cutting cheese out completely I was more than happy to add it back into my diet. This does not help people with dairy allergies or intolerances/sensitivities to things in dairy other than lactose, but I spread the word because it was a gamechanger for me. That being said, these recipes look amazing and I can’t wait to explore ways to bring back some other cheeses into my life! Thank you! 🙂
Okay, that’s interesting. I’ll have to look into this!
I’m on my first week as a vegan, like you, because of health issues. Cheese had been a hard one to give up, but now that I know there are substitutes my Outlook doesn’t seem so bleak! Thanks for the recipes and links!
I recently went dairy free after suffering from acne my entire life, a new esthetician said to give it a try. I was happy to find a cure, but so so so sad to lose cheese (and butter!) I just found you article on Pinterest and I love it! I check back on it all the time for the recipe links. Thank you so much, dairy free sister!
OMG!! Thank you so much! I was diagnosed last year with hypersensitivity to casein and whey. I was in denial until I realized it was causing my blood sugar to get wacky, inflammation, and a host of other problems. After 50+ years of milk and cheese in my life, I’ve been constantly searching for alternatives for dairy. Then…. I found you by sheer luck. You have given me hope and so many resources to help me get on track to a healthier lifestyle and still have my “cheese” and eat it too. I’m looking forward to trying all of these ideas!! Thank you.
I nearly cried while reading this article! Recently I’ve had to totally cut dairy from my diet due to severe health concerns. My stomach just decided that it basically didn’t want to function…and trying to find things I’m actually able to eat hasn’t just been a nightmare, but also very emotional for me. I am SO incredibly grateful to have stumbled across this. My thanks can’t even begin to show how grateful I am for you posting this!!!
Giving up dairy is HARD! But man, when I realized how much better I felt without it, it was a no-brainer. I still miss dairy sometimes but it does get easier, I promise!
I’m (very) late to comment on this post, but WOW. This is incredibly helpful as I am trying to be vegan after months of eating vegetarian. So excited and THANK YOU for this information! 🙂 Cheers!
I can’t imagine what it took to gather all of your informative recipes and research on cheese substitutes, but I instinctively knew when I came across your site, I was not going to be disappointed. Thank you for sharing your hard work.
Thank you this has been the answers to my prayers. Been looking for dairy-free cheese alternatives for a while :D. That aren’t just lacto free.
Gosh I hope these help. EVERYTHING about foods that I like are with milk and eggs. ALL my recipes that Grandma and I cooked together require them. I am seriously in an ANGRY phase of acceptance. But, I know its gods way of helping me eat more healthy, because Ive been praying for help. And, I wont Quit ANYTHING unless Im FORCED too!
I’m Dairy (and gluten) intolerant but goat cheese is fine.
Also, Daiya has a great cheesecake.
Thanks for all of your recipes.
I’ll need to try the Daiya cheesecake. Sounds delicious! Thanks for the recommendation!
Loved the article but the literal constant meat and Kraft cheese “cheese as it should be” ads are disconcerting and and a bit of a mood killer
Eek, that is understandable! Thank you for letting me know. I will look into editing my ad settings with my network.
My husband is lactose intolerant and we had thought cheese was out of his diet and did for many years.
Then, I started seeing products advertising lactose free cheese. I went onto the Cabot Cheese Website
and found out that the whey dissolves from the cheese after 90 days. Hard cheeses do not have whey.
You can verify this by checking out the nutritional values and if there is 0% sugar in cheeses, then the
whey has dissolved. Lo & behold, my husband has been enjoying hard cheeses again in his diet!!!
I want to shout this out to the world & the lactose intolerant population. So few people understand this.
Hope this may be helpful to you & your followers.
This is so interesting! Thank you for sharing!
What a comprehensive and informative article. Great read!
I’m excited to have stumbled across this resource today via Pinterest! I’ll totally be checking out your other dairy-free recipes. I’ve been living with a casein allergy for several years now – casein also being a protein found in dairy. I have found that you really have to be careful even with the “dairy free” products. It is not uncommon for them to have some ingredient involving casein (look for “caseinate” particularly). In my day of trying the dairy-free cheese, I did like Chao a LOT better than Daiya. But you’re right … nothing ever really compares to actual dairy. Two key bits of knowledge have made a TON of difference to me:
1) There are significant differences in the proteins found in most cow dairy versus sheep, goat, and buffalo dairy; I don’t react at all to the latter. Goat and sheep cheese is AMAZING!!!!
2) Heavy cream – and products made solely with heavy cream – are almost completely casein-free. So, a few cream sauces, Daisy full-fat sour cream, and homemade whipped cream are back in my menu!
Any ideas on how to cope with a love for cheese when you’vyou find out you have 32 food sensitivities? Soy, nuts, coconuts, olives, garlic, onion, gluten, dairy, the list goes on.
I too found out that a whey sensitivity was the culprit in many of my issues. Thanks for the great info!!
Crazy! I’m glad you were able to pinpoint the issue. Just wish it wasn’t in so much (delicious) stuff! 🙂
I know I’m a little late to the party, but I’m having trouble finding a good ranch dressing. I haven’t tried making my own, but I’ve tried a few brands (Daiya included) and they all tasted… wrong. I already knew I was lactose intolerant, and then I was told a few weeks ago that I have a low level dairy allergy that is getting worse. Any suggestions? Hidden Valley is my dressing of choice all the time.
Agree with the negative comments on Daiya. Neither my husband nor I liked it. But we both like Violife shreds, mozzarella and cheddar. Those are the only two available where we live. Would like to be able to make my own vegan cheese. Anybody know of a recipe that is similar to Violife.
I’ve never heard of Violife! I’ll have to check it out. There’s a store near me (Seattle area) that occasionally hosts vegan cheese classes. I really need to attend one!
Thanks for your response. If you get a chance to try Violife, do. Wish there were healthy vegan cooking classes near me. No chance in my small town! Enjoy, learn lots, and come back to tell us if you do get to a vegan cheese class.
Tofu ricotta cheese is one of my favorites since I turned vegan. I thought only I find it close to the normal cheese but felt good that you also feel the same way.
I really want to delve into homemade almond ricotta next! Kite Hill makes a version that is fabulous!
I’m on my second week as a vegan, same as you, because of my severe health issues. The cheese had been a difficult thing to give up, but now that I know there are substitutes my Outlook doesn’t seem so bleak! Thanks for the recipes Kare!
If you are vegetarian and find you’re having symptoms with dairy you may want to get tested for Alpha Gal Syndrome. Sometimes called the Red Meat allergy, it’s actually an allergy to anything from a mammal and it’s believed to be the result of certain tick bites. Your symptoms may be less severe if you do not eat meat but it would be good to know if you have this allergy for other reasons including reactions to some medicines. Heart palpitations is a common symptom for people with Alpha Gal. I had to give up all mammal meats, and all dairy and gelatin and many beauty products. Meat caused me the most severe reactions (anaphylaxis put me in the ER) but dairy gave me gastric issues, heart palpitations, rashes, muscle aches and fatigue. Even eating a vegan diet I still sometimes get reactions (maybe cross contamination?) and so always carry an epi pen. It could be worth asking your doctor about but be aware most do not know or understand the syndrome but an allergist can get you tested. There is a belief that up to 60% of unknown anaphylactic episode in ER’s are actually undiagnosed Alpha Gal reactions. Unfortunately it’s spreading quickly in the US and while once thought to be mostly in the south, I got bit in Maine. So wear tick repellant and stay safe!
Interesting – thank you so much for sharing!
Oh. My. Goodness. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! My 10 month old is allergic to milk protein and just at the stage of trying table food and/or smashing her hands into ours if we don’t catch her soon enough. On contact, she breaks out in hives and dairy (specifically cheese) is my all time favorite ingredient. I can’t wait to try all of these and I’m so thankful for your insight! Thank you!
Wow thank you for this! We are having to go dairy free for my daughter and I have been so lost. I am vegetarian myself and have steered us in that direction, but dairy has never been off the table until now. Having so many helpful options in one place is great!
I’m glad this is helpful! I’ve always felt the transition to dairy-free was way harder than the transition to meat-free. But it’s doable!
I am allergic to dairy and have intolerance to coconut oil, i cant find any brand of slices or shreds that do not contain coconut oil! Please tell me you know of a brand online or a simple recipe that will have me a grilled cheese again?
I am facing a life without cheese. My husband is lactose intolerant we have recently discovered, and i fear as if i am D Y I N G. i too looked forward to the creativity in the kitchen, but alas, My last two brain cells are sitting here misfiring as i struggle to come up with things to cook. He is in charge of the meats, and the heavy lifting in the garden, i tend to gravitate towards pastas and non meat things. This list has given me many thoughts and maybe even restored an extra brain cell or two! Ill also say, real cream cheese can go straight to hell, the kite hill one with the tang (and our own recipe we make at home thats just like it, with fresh herbs from the yard) now permanently is one of my cravings. Im a little obsessed with it. Thank you for this article, i very much enjoyed it 😀