If you are hosting a dinner party, cheese board and charcuterie plates are often the best centerpieces to keep your guests satisfied during cocktail hour. A well-stocked cheese plate is perfect for date nights, holiday gatherings, or the run-of-the-mill dinner party, keeping hungry friends and family happy before dinner. But what about dairy-free guests? A cheese board is frequently disappointing for vegans where time and time again plant-based guests are restricted to olives, crackers, and nuts. That is, until recently,

Now, several plant-based brands including Wendy's Nutty Cheeses and Miyoko's Creamery have developed the perfect vegan and dairy-free artisan cheeses to adorn your cheese board. There are actually enough vegan artisan cheeses to make an entirely vegan cheese board that will keep your guests happy –– whether or not they are vegan.

We all know that dairy-free cheese is no longer hard to find, but often, consumers still complain about the taste and texture of store-bought cheese alternatives. That's why brands such as Treeline and Miyoko's have worked to create dairy-free cheeses that give us the same experience as their animal-based counterparts.

What Is Vegan Cheese?

Despite the health and environmental, about 230 million Americans eat cheese every year. Vegan cheese had a significant but short boom coinciding with America's interest in plant-based milk, but sales have waned in recent years. But why? One answer is taste. But now, vegan brands have doubled their efforts to create dairy-free cheeses that give consumers the same taste, texture, and look as traditional dairy cheese.

Vegan cheese is made from a wide variety of ingredients including cashews, oil, proteins, cultures, and more. Some plant-based cheeses also go through a fermentation process to replicate the funky taste of traditional cheeses. It is important to check the ingredients and nutritional information on vegan cheese because some dairy-free cheeses contain substantially more saturated fats, especially those made from coconut oil.

To accompany these brands, there are also plenty of recipes to make your own artisan cheese at home. Try a cashew-based cheese at your next dinner party. This way you can moderate your diet between processed store-bought brands and homemade whole-food options. While you're at it, check out the healthiest vegan crackers to add to your board.

READ MORE: How to Make an Epic Vegan Cheese Board

Eating Vegan Cheese is Better For Your Health

Remember that when you switch out dairy cheeses with vegan cheese, you are providing healthier options for you and your guests. Picking healthier dairy-free artisan cheeses can help reduce the risk of several chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, among others. Consuming more dairy significantly increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

So, when you construct your vegan charcuterie board, make sure you find a brand with less saturated fat than dairy cheese. For example, one ounce of brie cheese contains about 5 grams of saturated fat, whereas Laughing Cow Plant-Based contains 2.5 grams.

READ MORE: 8 Ways Avoiding Dairy Can Benefit Your Health 

The Best Vegan Artisan Cheeses

Boursin Dairy-Free Galic & Herbs

This creamy spread hits every high note that the brand's dairy counterpart does. Rich, spreadable, and addictive, add this to a charcuterie board and you'll be shocked at how fast it goes. This is a mouthwatering addition to your holiday spread, but watch out for other 5 grams of saturated fat per serving!

Calories 90

Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 5g

Protein 0g, Fiber 0g

Miyoko's Double Cream Sun Dried Tomato

This sun-dried tomato cheese is creamy, nicely spreadable, and very tangy. It has a good umami taste and contains the perfect-sized bits of sun-dried tomato that complement the spread instead of overwhelming them. Miyoko's cheese is delicious, but definitely high in fat. For heart health, make sure to eat this vegan cheese in moderation. 

Calories 120

Total Fat 10g, Saturated Fat 4.5

Protein 3g, Fiber 1g

Miyoko's French Style Winter Truffle

This truffle cheese wheel will elevate any dish. Rich, complex, and earthy, this cheese offers a great umami flavor. This cheese isn't as tangy as other plant-based cheeses and offers a nice, round creaminess that is a great dairy-like taste, especially to serve to those who may not love other vegan cheeses. 

Calories 80

Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 3.5g

Protein 2g, Fiber 1g

Reine Fauxgonzola

Reine has perfected its fermentation process and consistency while using high-quality, organic ingredients free of soy, GMO, dairy, and gluten. They have eight flavors to choose from, but at the top of the list is the Fauxgonzola, which was the top pick from all the ‘cheese’ rounds in our test. It’s made with organic blue-green spirulina (which research suggests has antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties) and its blue striations make a beautiful display.

Calories 160

Total Fat 12.5g, Saturated Fat 2.6g

Protein 5g, Fiber 1g

Treeline Goat-Style Herb Goat Cheese

If you love tangy cheese, this one is for you. It's zesty and creamy and pairs well with any kind of crackers. Our samplers tried to melt this cheese on a pizza and it got a bit hard, so stick to using this in salads or as a topping. This vegan cheese is packed with 3 grams of protein and only contains 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.

Calories 90

Total Fat 6g Saturated Fat 1g

Protein 3g, Fiber 1g

Vromage Mozzarella

While you can’t really go wrong with any of them, the Pepperjack and Mozzarella are both impressive. You also might recall the name, Vromage, since Prince Harry and Meghan Markel had the cheeses served at the royal wedding. These artisan, vegan cheeses are freshly made using a variety of ingredients that can include organic cashews, macadamias, pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, 

Nutritional Information Varies: Check Out Vromage's Online Store

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