Saving Money on Vegan Cheese

Posted: February 22, 2015 in The Pantry Sheet
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If you are feeding a bunch of kids or a bunch of cheez lovers or just you self and you love cheezy vegan goodness (and why wouldn’t you?)- you might have noticed that you can spend a good chunk of change on all the fabulous vegan cheeses out there these days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fabulous to have all these really tasty store bought options. Just a few short years ago when I first began eating a vegan diet the cheese pickings were a little slim, at least here in the Mid-Atlantic region. But alas, ye olde grocery funds are limited while appetites around here are growing.

One of our household’s favorite cheeses are Daiya cheddar slices. They are super tasty, kind of lemony, creamy and melt beautifully into macaroni, into salsa for queso and on burgers and breakfast sammies.

A great and super inexpensive to make alternative to our Daiya addiction is Miyoko Schinner’s Oat American Cheese. The main ingredient is not even cashews, it’s oats (way cheap). The recipe makes at least twice the amount you would get from a Daiya pack and lasts a week to a week and a half in the fridge. Some fair warning, vegan cheese making has some up front costs but once you purchase some key ingredients you’re all set. The other drawback could be if you do not have a high speed/variable speed blender. It makes the process much, much easier. However, when I first began experimenting with cheeses I did use a regular Oster and sometimes just fudged it a little with few tablespoons of extra water, continually scraping down the sides.

Some ingredients that will keep coming up in vegan cheese making (especially in Miyoko’s recipes):

  • Agar and carageenan (both last a long time, you may need to repurchase once or twice a year)
  • Rejuvelac (very economical to make your own, or you can cheat with some sauerkraut liquid)
  • Refined Coconut Oil
  • Brown Miso
  • Cashews (kind of an ongoing expense, but when bought in pieces, in bulk it is still cheaper than buying a whole bunch of pre-made vegan cheez)
  • Xanthum Gum

If you are used to keeping these ingredients on hand cheese making will be pretty much no big deal and save you a ton of money in the end.

I really recommend checking out Artisan Vegan Cheeses when you can. It’s a small book, not too expensive, but full of very clear, very reliable cheese recipes. I think you’ll love it. Here is a link to the Oat American Cheese Recipe aka the Anti-Daiya…

Almost Instant Oat American Cheese

Another great recipe from Artisan Vegan Cheese shared here on the GoDairyFree website is Sharp Cheddar. It’s pretty easy and doesn’t involve air drying (an art I have yet to totally master, but I’m working on it).

Sharp Vegan Cheddar

If you’ve read any of my Beet Sheet break downs you see that I’m a hug Not-zarella fan for pizza. It’s really just my favorite. It tastes very mozzarella-y and if you bake your pizza just right you’ll even get some of those beautiful browned bubbly things we all like to see on a scrumptious cheesy pizza.

Here’s a web available option from Dear Andrea that’s very close to the Sexy Vegan’s Not-zarella: Vegan Pizza Cheez. If you can, I highly recommend you check out his book. It has a ton of great sauce and seitan recipes as well along with simple user-friendly vegan kitchen tips. But you could just get it for the Not-zarella recipe and it would be worth it.

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