Cheese is one of the main excuses for why a ton of people would never go vegan. And honestly, I get it: it’s salty, savory, and gooey AF. It’s hard to replace! What would you do without it in your macaroni and cheese, French onion soup, or classic Italian recipes? What about nacho cheese?! You’d probably die.
Well, no. You won’t die without it… and you can replace it. Yes, even queso. Dave and I cook together a lot, so we’re always on the hunt for fun new recipes. In our cheese replacement travels, we’ve found a ton of amazingly cheesy recipes, without the cheese. Check out the cashew queso on our veggie fajitas below– this was so good!
We also love going out to try new restaurants or dishes. One of our favorite places semi-locally is Kahiau’s Bakery and Cafe in Virginia Beach, an all-vegan bakery and cafe! Last weekend, we stopped in for some barbecue jackfruit/Daiya pizza, chipotle mac and cheese (we guessed with a nutritional yeast cheese sauce), and Hawaiian fried rice. Perfect comfort food for the busy months ahead of us! 😉
Anyway, I digress. There are so many healthier options than regular ol’ cheese. Dave usually buys Follow Your Heart slices for his veggie burgers and the occasional pack of Chao, and I mean, that’s okay. But why buy what you can make at home? Even more, why not make a healthier version?
Now, I get that a lot of vegans out there don’t see why you can’t just avoid cheese alternatives altogether. Why not come up with cool new recipes instead of trying to make a vegan copy? Here’s the thing: if you want to convince people that a way of life is feasible, you aren’t going to do it by shaming them about what they’re eating. You need to make the lifestyle appeal to them and seem not as hard, and if that means finding replacements, so be it. Besides, it’s a heck of a lot healthier anyway… or, at least, most of the time. 😉
Here are our top 5 favorite vegan cheese recipes as of yet!
- Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Mexican Cheese (Three Ways)
We love how versatile this recipe is! Last weekend, we made the queso as per the recipe, but the other day, we altered it with some jalapeno as well as chipotle sauce, and it tasted more like the queso we were used to. We blew through this weekend’s batch in one sitting, but are trying to make the latest batch last at least through tonight.. it’s just too good!
- hot for food’s nacho cheese
Nacho cheese made from potatoes and carrots? “No way!” you exclaim…. but actually, yes way. When cooking the potatoes, as noted in the recipe, make sure not to overcook, as the starch in the potato will make the sauce not as smooth… and don’t skimp on the jalapeno! This nacho cheese blew our minds months ago, and continues to amaze us… and YES, it’s entirely vegan!! This sauce is amazing on everything from tacos to pasta.
- Oh She Glows Vegan Pumpkin Mac ‘N Cheeze Sauce
This pumpkin mac is the perfect fall dinner, work lunch, or, really, snack. I love it with cinnamon mixed in, but sage works well too. Sure, it isn’t traditionally gooey with that cheese pull, but it’s warming and cozy, with all of the pasta goodness. I usually make this for work lunches (carbs are your friend– they fuel your brain!), but we love it for quick dinners, too.
- Detoxinista’s Vegan Parmesan Cheese
We make a lot of roasted spaghetti squash as a replacement for pasta (we like eating in volume…), so this cashew-based vegan Parmesan is the perfect addition! It seems like Parmesan is on everything Italian, so finding this recipe turned our recipes upside down! I never thought I’d miss the real thing, but the addition means so much in everything from pasta to vegan Caesar salad.
Minimalist Baker Vegan Cashew-Less Queso
If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I live and breathe (vegan) queso, and this is no exception. If you’re looking for a lighter or nut-free version for nachos, this is the perfect solution: it’s made out of eggplant! (Check out the nachos on my Instagram from a few months ago here!)
Questions for you:
What are some of your favorite vegan cheese replacements?
Have you ever tried any of these recipes? What are your favorite ways to use them?