This one goes out to my lovely amiga, Marissa Cohen!
The lowdown on the E2 and most of the commercial vegan cheeses out there? They all have too much oil according to Rip. Most of them are palm-oil based and contain lots of saturated fats and are therefore not part of the Engine 2 protocol. So what’s a cheese craving E2’r to do? There’s a few things commercially available that are E2 compliant. I’ve found these here in Nevada at Whole Foods and Sunflower Market. Both are fat-free and E2 compliant. One is Food For Lover’s Vegan Queso:
The other is Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso:
Obviously, these are both Tex-Mex style quesos that work really well in anything quasi Mexican, but they are also great on top of veggie burgers, veggie dogs, steamed veggies and chili mac. Nacho Mom’s even has a gluten-free option for those who swing that way.
And how could I have forgotten my original favorite, Road’s End Organics Chreeze? This is a mix that you can prepare using water or a non-dairy milk if you prefer a creamier taste. It takes under 5 minutes to make. You can order this directly from the company or from http://www.veganessentials.com. There’s even a bulk, economy size available that I order from them. They also make an Alfredo style and have regular as well as gluten-free options.
There’s also some good recipes out there for making your own creamy cheese concoctions. One of my recent E2 compliant favorites comes from Happy Herbivore (go get her cookbooks NOW, so worth it). Here’s the link to her website: http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/soy-free-mac-n-cheese/
- 1¼ cups non-dairy milk
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp yellow miso paste
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp turmeric.
- Whisk all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a near boil and turn heat down to low. Stirring occasionally, allow the sauce to thicken up. Eat up!
Another option, especially for pizzas and Italian dishes, are nut or seed cheeses. I have a recipe up on a previous entry (I believe it is the Faux Fish tacos) for a Mexican cashew cheese. If you change the spices, it can be used for anything Italian. You can also substitute sunflower seeds (use 1/2 cup and a few more tablespoons of water as needed to make it blend) instead of cashews for a lighter cheese. Nut and seed cheeses are more like ricotta in flavor and consistency.
I’ll admit, when I first went vegan I used a LOT of vegan cheeses. It was like my methadone, as I was a hardcore cheese junkie. I swear, it felt like I went through a detox as far as the cheeses were concerned. I used these for several months, and then I started trying the recipes as my taste buds changed and I started craving cheese less and less.
My favorite of the vegan cheeses if you can’t take it and you need to have some goddamned fake cheese? Better to eat some faux cheese than to either a. shank someone or b. go crazy and order a Pizza Hut Cheese Lovers Pizza! I give you Teese, by Chicago Soy Dairy:
They make Mozzarella (pictured), Cheddar, a Creamy Cheddar Sauce and a Creamy Nacho Sauce. Here’s a link to their site:
I also like Vegcuisine’s Vegan Feta and Vegan “Blue Cheese” crumbles, both of which contain olive oil. Pretty tasty stuff and good on salads:
Everyone went crazy for Daiya when it first came out, but I feel like the shreds have a bizarre aftertaste. Almost plastick-y. Recently they came out with new sliceable vegan cheeses that can be eaten cold (!!!). I tried them at the Expo West Natural Foods trade show in March, and damn they were good! The Havarti was my favorite, and you can eat it on crackers (OMFG!). You might have a hard time finding them in stores, but they are available and could be special ordered at Whole Foods depending on what part of the country you live in:
Vegan Essentials is a great website for ordering hard to find vegan items. Not all of us get to live in California (you lucky bitches in Cali have it EASY!). I’ve been ordering from them for years, and they are a great, independently owned vegan company. They can ship things cold, too: http://www.veganessentials.com/