If you are following a vegan or a plant-based diet and looking to enjoy some cheese, then you are in luck! These days many people are shifting towards a plant-based diet because of the effect that food choices have on global warming, animal welfare, and personal well-being. The question often asked is what is the difference between vegan cheese vs regular cheese?

Cheese is a dairy product derived from milk and produced in a wide range of flavours. It comprises fat, usually from the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. So, if you are a vegan, you would never opt to consume regular cheese.

So, let’s discover what precisely vegan cheese is and what you should know before trying it.

What is Vegan Cheese?

vegan cheese store

Vegan cheese is 100 percent animal-free cheese and is made using vegetable proteins. The ingredients of a vegan cheese include:

  • Soy
  • Nuts
  • Cashews
  • Vegetable oils (Coconut Oil)

You may also find vegan cheese that is derived from agar, tapioca, peas, and arrowroot. These ingredients might encourage most of you to consume this minimally processed food.

Difference Between Vegan Cheese vs Regular Cheese

Traditional cheese is made using casein. Casein is a protein found in the milk of animals such as cows, buffalo, goats, and sheep.

On the other hand, vegan cheese is a non-dairy, plant-based product. The vegan cheese does not contain casein, so the vegan cheese producers turn to a variety of other ingredients for substitution.

Vegan cheese is made using a process similar to traditional cheese making-without the animal milk. During the process, the plant proteins are separated using bacteria. Then the ingredients, such as oils and thickeners, are added to achieve the desired cheese-like consistency.

vegan cheese vs regular cheese
Vegan Cheese vs Regular Cheese

The most significant difference that you will notice between vegan cheese vs regular cheese is that vegan cheese doesn’t melt quite the same as dairy cheese does. Don’t expect the vegan cheese to be the same ooey-gooey when you top it on your pizza.

Just like traditional cheese, an important thing that is needed to achieve tasty vegan cheese is time. It needs more time because the vegetable protein and bacteria sit and break down further.

Unlike the animal protein in dairy cheeses, the proteins in dairy cheeses don’t naturally bond to one another. The result is that the flavours tend to be complicated and unique. However, the results might be different with different brands. So, if you have a terrible experience with one brand you are bound to find another brand that you love. Vegan cheese makers are always working to provide you with the best quality cheese as they understand the challenge in taste with vegan cheese vs regular cheese.

Nutritional Information of Cheese

Most people avoid eating cheese because of the saturated fat it contains. However, researchers claim that cheese may be fine for your health. It is known to reduce the risk of diabetes and other heart diseases as well.

If you talk about vegan cheese vs regular cheese, then it is said that vegan cheese is lower in fat, protein, and calcium than regular cheese and is gluten-free. As vegan cheese is processed food, it is higher in sodium content. So, check your labels before choosing the best brand of vegan cheese for you.

Uses

Regular cheeses are usually used in popular food items like burgers, Mexican and pizza dishes, salads, sandwiches, and many more. But some people avoid it due to milk allergies or lactose intolerance.

In recent years, vegetarian-friendly products have expanded in mainstream popularity. There is a variety of tasty vegan cheese made from plant sources such as almonds, cashews, soybean, and peas.

On the other hand, regular cheese has a wide variety of cottage cheese, camel milk cheese, curd cheese, Mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, and much more. Hopefully you are starting to see the positives and differences between vegan cheese vs regular cheese.

Texture

vegan cashew queso

Regular cheese is made by heating milk and adding some acid, rennet, and letting it coagulate. The stuff which isn’t coagulated is drained off, letting it cool and age the cheese.

By adding some micro-organisms on the cheese, it gets extra colour and flavour. There are a lot of variations used to change the colour and texture of the cheese.

Meanwhile, vegan cheese is made from almonds, cashew nuts, and many plant-based items, so the texture is different. The thickness and color are not the same as regular cheese. It looks like cream cheese with smoothness. But in some cases, the shape might get the same.

Taste

As a cheese lover, tasting cheese can be more than merely biting into it. Regular cheese is salty, sour, and bitter. Sometimes different kinds of bacteria, enzymes, or fungi may be added at various stages to form the different colours and flavours. 

Vegan cheese is dairy-free, and it gives different plants and nuts taste. Like almond milk or soybean milk, the cheese will provide you with the taste of them. When melted the flavour is not the same as regular cheese. There are a lot of people ditching dairy cheese in favour of delicious plant-based cheese. But it also depends on the brands. Some vegan cheeses are delicious in taste, and some are not, but you will absolutely find a number of brands you love and more than enough to make the change from vegan cheese vs regular cheese.

Nutritional Difference

The nutritional value of cheese varies depending on the variety. A plant-based diet is centred on fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy nuts, seeds, and legumes. So, the cheese made for vegans helps them to manage weight and type 2 diabetes. The cheeses are made from foods that are nutrient-dense but naturally low in saturated fat and calories.

While regular cheese is a widely consumed dairy product, it may give a protein and calcium source, but it can be high in sodium and fat.

Vegan cheese is cholesterol-free and a good source of protein. It is typically lower in fat, protein, and calcium than regular cheese and is gluten-free. 

vegan cheesecake no cashews

Some people are sensitive to regular cheese. By containing lactose and other bacteria, enzymes can lead to the digestive problem, including gas and bloating.

A vegan diet excludes all animal products. There are a lot of vegan food options available to mimic the taste and texture of animal-based products.

Final Words

If you are following a vegan diet or are allergic to dairy, be aware that some lactose-free cheeses still contain animal products. So a dairy protein can be found in particular soy milk and nut milk cheeses.

There is a variety of vegan cheese made from plant sources such as almonds, cashews, soybeans, and peas. These cheeses can spread quickly and are perfect for pairing with crackers, olives, chopped veggies, or your favourite vegan food.

Vegan cheese is healthy, but too much can cause problems for you, especially if it’s replacing the other vital nutrients or food groups.

Some of the most popular styles of vegan cheese that are available in the market are shredded, cream cheese, blocked and sliced, soft cheese, Parmesan-style, and Nacho cheese dips. Once you find the brands you love we are sure you will love your choice of vegan cheese vs regular cheese.

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