Today, it’s easy for vegetarians to find alternatives to foods like burgers, sausage, milks, and more. Aside from those, there are also now cheeses available in vegetarian varieties. Most vegetarians choose to avoid eating cheese because they think it contains unfamiliar animal ingredients. Well, they are kind of correct on that part because the common kinds of cheese are often made with rennet or renin. It came from the stomachs of slaughtered calves that is used to thicken the dairy product.
But what if you want to eat cheese and remain vegetarian at the same time? This is now possible because of the vegetarian varieties of cheese. Vegetarian cheeses can be made from the milk of any kind, but they should not contain rennet or renin. The rennet or renin in vegetarian cheeses are replaced by enzymes created in a lab. These enzymes are less expensive and offers a more consistent quality. Therefore, many commercials cheeses are vegetarian.
Benefits of Vegetarian Cheese
Vegetarian cheese has a lot of benefits but these may depend on the ingredients that you will be using in your recipe. But in general, vegetarian cheeses are good for the health because they are highly nutritious. Their components can provide you with vitamins and minerals and they are usually low-fat. Meaning, you will get nutrition minus the extra calories.
Vegetarian cheeses can also help in reducing the risk of obesity as well as some chronic diseases. It’s because a vegetarian diet as a whole, can lower the chance of developing diseases because it’s naturally low-fat. And since vegetarian cheeses are based on animal milk, they can provide you with a healthy dose of good proteins.
How to Shop for Vegetarian Cheese
The choices of vegetarian cheeses in the market can be overwhelming because they come in different forms like cubes, slabs, slices, and more. For you to be able to choose the best one, here are some tips which might help you.
- Check the label: Most cheeses in markets are marked with milk, salt, and enzymes. However, those enzymes may or may not refer to animal rennet. When you’re in doubt, it’s better to ask first some cheese enthusiasts or research about veg-friendly alternatives.
- Check the color: Looking at the color of the cheese is important for you to know if it’s fresh. Remember that vegetarian cheese should be consistent yellowish-brown.
- Check the texture: Another thing you should look into is the texture of the cheese. Choose one that is not cracked, dry, or uneven.
- Check the flavor: If you’re allowed to taste it, try to roll a small piece in your mouth. This way, you will be able to experience the full flavor of the cheese which will help you decide if you like it.
- Aim for Organic: If you’re in doubt if the cheeses in the supermarket are vegetarian or not, it’s better to choose the organic ones when possible.
How to Store Vegetarian Cheese
Just like normal cheeses, vegetarian cheese should be stored in the warmest section of the fridge carefully wrapped. The storage life of this kind of cheese depends on the level of its moisture. Meaning, softer cheeses have shorter lifespan. It is also not a good idea to buy vegetarian cheeses in bulk because you can’t store them for a long time.
Aside from shopping in supermarkets, you can also shop for varieties of vegetarian cheeses online. If you’re looking into trying one, here are some we’ve found which you may like.
- Parma! Vegan Parmesan
This is a plant-based superfood and it’s a best source of omega-3, B12, and trace minerals as well as protein. It is made with high quality ingredients that makes it the perfect condiment.
- 365 by Whole Foods Market, Plant-based cheddar
- Grass base
This vegetarian cheese is made in grass base dairy and it is from unpasteurized cow’s milk. It is suitable for vegetarians and is perfect for making gourmet macaroni and cheese.
- 365 Everyday Value Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
If you find it difficult to find vegetarian cheese in your local stores, you can also create one yourself. This vegan cheese kit will help you make dairy-free cheese at home with easy steps. Plus, part of this product’s profit is donated to some organizations who help save and improve the lives of animals.
There are also lots of vegetarian cheese recipes you can try. It’s great to know that even vegetarians can now enjoy the delicious varieties of cheeses.