The 10 Best Dairy-Free Shredded Cheeses
Now that you've ditched the dairy, you're probably wondering if you've also waved goodbye to the cheesy goodness of nachos, grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta with parm, and pizza. The good news is that you don't have to give up your favorite cheese dishes in order to be dairy-free.
More and more brands are coming out with nut-based cheeses that taste just like the real thing. Throw away all your preexisting notions about vegan cheeses, because we have the 411 on which ones are a must-have on your grocery list and which ones are best left on the shelf.
We taste-tested all the vegan shredded mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan cheese we could get our hands-on. A note to consider about these cheeses is that they aren't particularly good for you, since they are often high in saturated fat, but they're healthier than regular cheese, and if you're seeking a diet that is free of animal product, these do the trick.
The cheddar flavors we taste-tested were our favorite overall, but the mozzarellas and parmesans weren't far behind. We love cheese, and nine dairy-free kinds later, we found out which ones are best as a garnish and which ones to drown your nachos in.
1. Violife Just Cheddar Shreds
We all love Violife. It's simply the best all-rounder in the bunch. Eat it out of the bag or melt it on tortilla chips. The consistency is so similar to real cheddar you won't even notice it's dairy-free. Try to resist inhaling the whole bag because with every serving comes six grams of saturated fat. Not the worst, but not exactly healthy either!
2. Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge
As parm lovers, we were extremely pleasantly surprised by this little wedge of non-dairy cheese. It grates easily and melts into your pasta like the real deal. If you like the sharp bold flavor of real parm, you may find this one a little subtle, so add some salt to make up for that. Sprinkle lightly because this has the most sat fat of any cheese we tested.
3. Follow Your Heart Parmesan
This is about as similar to the real thing as you can find in a non-dairy parm. We love it on simple pasta dishes as a topper, but again, don't go crazy here since it's made of palm oil and has 18 percent of your daily value of sat fat per ounce, plus it's super high in sodium. So sprinkle, don't dump it, onto your pasta.
4. So Delicious Mozzarella Style Shreds
The soft texture and taste of this mozzarella mimic the real thing. We loaded this mozzarella on pizza crust and after popping it in the oven the cheese became so melty and gooey, it's a great topping for any at-home snack. This cheese needs a little more time to melt than the rest but the wait is worth it.
5. So Delicious Cheddar
This cheese is the easiest to melt because of how finely shredded it comes. Add a sprinkle on top of an enchilada for an extra layer of flavor. But don't melt too much of it or it will start to have an unpleasant smell. And since it's made out of coconut milk and palm oil, which are both high in saturated fat, enjoy in moderation.
6. Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
We loved this one for its meltability and the fact that it isn't as big a sat fat bomb as some of the other cheeses on the list. Try this on chips or as a grilled cheese sandwich option, since it has an old-fashioned shredded cheese taste and sticky texture, in a good way.
7. Follow Your Heart Fiesta Blend
This cheese stands up to being eaten by the handful or spread on nachos, veggie chili or baked potato. You don't even need to heat it up to enjoy it. In fact, when heated we smelled a slight cheesy odor -- so we actually preferred it room temperature. At 18 percent of your daily value of sat fat per ounce, use this cheese sparingly since it has palm fruit oil, which is one of the least healthy oils.
8. Parmela Creamery Sharp Cheddar Style
Of all the cheeses we tested, Parmela melted like old-fashioned cheddar block from the farm and gripped the top of the nacho chips in a way that made them stick together. In other words, we loved it.
9. Good Planet Parmesan
This cheese has the best "parmesan" resemblance, but it didn't melt quite as well as we'd expected. The texture seemed real but the taste was less sharp than the actual parm flavor. Our testers noted that it has an aftertaste so don't eat this parm alone -- sprinkle it on a tart puttanesca sauce.
10. Daiya Mozzarella
Daiya is a mixed bag when it comes to the melting and tasting of their mozzarella since the more it melts the more it smells. So if you like either an aromatic cheese or you don't need to melt your filling too much, this is a good choice. Add it to a quesadilla to get that gooey cheesy middle without much heat required. Anything over 10 percent of your sat fat for the day gets points off, and this one is 12 percent.