Vegan cheese has come a long way since the first time I tried soy cream cheese in the late nineties living in Los Angeles. I remember gagging at the taste and thinking there was no way that spread was going on my precious toasted bagel. Flash forward several decades and plant-based cheeses are better than ever: These days many innovative ingredients like cashews, almond milk, coconut cream, smoky flavor and fermented foods are being utilized by top chefs in the plant-based industry to create plant-based cheeses that far surpasses anything the dairy industry makes.

Dairy products are unhealthier, less environmentally friendly, and crueler to animals than plant-based alternatives. By purchasing dairy-free cheeses not only are you saving the lives of cows, but you are supporting companies that value sustainability and the environment. Below are ten delicious vegan cheeses to get you started on your love of plant-based cheese.

  1. Field Roast - Garden Herb Chao Slices

Chao by Field Roast, famous for its plant-based sausages, is one of the few cheese slices I can eat straight from the package. Of course, it's also great melted in a grilled cheese sandwich with a slice of tomato, in your favorite plant-based lasagna recipe, or shredded on top of a veggie pizza. This creamy cheese is coconut-based and seasoned with fermented tofu for a sweet and savory end product. Good luck eating only one slice! Chao's other flavors, Tomato Cayenne and Creamy Original are equally as delicious. 

  1. Miyoko’s Creamery - Sundried Tomato Garlic Cheese Wheel

True story - I have never met a Miyoko's Creamery cheese I didn’t absolutely love. I also admire the creative founder, cookbook author, and Chef Miyoko Schinner, and her love for rescued animals and devotion to veganism. The sundried tomato garlic cheese wheel is created with cashew cream and fermented with live cultures. Serve it on grain crackers or get creative and whip up Miyoko’s vegan sundried tomato risotto from their website.

  1. Kite Hill – Plain Almond Milk Cream Cheese

I need the Canada/US borders to open already so I can get some Kite Hill cream cheese since it’s not available in Toronto. Three people, one of whom is a talented Chef and creator of the delicious plant-based restaurant Crossroads in Los Angeles, founded Kite Hill. Their velvety smooth almond milk cream cheese is perfect on a toasted bagel with a coffee in the morning. When you need a break from spices and herbs this is one of the best plain varieties on the market.

  1. Nuts For Cheese – Un-Brie-Lievable

Nuts For Cheese is a Canadian vegan company using ethically sourced and high-quality ingredients like cashews, coconut milk, and nutritional yeast. What began as one Chef in the back of a vegan kitchen has become a full-scale facility whose aim is to spread positive change through food. They have six unique cheese varieties and each one is packed with mouth-watering flavor. The Un-Brie-Lievable is a semi-firm wedge that is rich and creamy and the perfect pairing for my homemade charcuterie board. If you live in the US you can order Nuts For Cheese through Vegan Essentials.

  1. Daiya – Cheddar Style Cheeze Sticks

Who doesn’t have childhood memories of snacking on cheese sticks before dinner? You can now relive those moments with plant-based Cheeze Sticks by Daiya, perfect when on the go. Ingredients include coconut cream and tapioca starch but unlike their shreds and slices you don’t have to melt the sticks – they are delicious right out of the package (Yes, really). They are also kid-friendly and my vegan son loves them. 

  1. Violife - Just Like Feta Block

Your plant-based Greek salads just got a whole lot better. Violife is based in Greece so creating the Just like Feta Block was a natural fit and inspired by their Greek heritage. The tangy block goes perfectly with olives, cherry tomatoes, or a Portobello mushroom. In addition to olive extract and coconut oil, their feta contains Vitamin B12. All their delicious cheese products are vegan because they believe in living in harmony with animals and the environment.

  1. Vegan Parmesan Grated Topping by Go Veggie

Shake it, baby, shake it! Whip up your favorite pasta dish and sprinkle it with tasty Parmesan Grated Topping by Go Veggie for an added kick. It’s totally plant-based but tastes like classic Parmesan cheese. Their website has several yummy looking recipes with ways you can use this Parmesan topping.

  1. Follow Your Heart - Smoked Gouda Slices

I did a happy dance the day I discovered Smoked Gouda Slices by Follow Your HeartCanadians know the brand as Earth Island, but the products are the same. This hickory smoked Gouda is created with natural smoke flavor from plant sources and is the perfect ingredient for a hearty Panini sandwich with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and zucchini. Follow Your Heart began as a soup and sandwich counter and is now a leader in the industry with a full range of plant-based products.

  1. Treeline Treenut Cheese - Chipotle-Serrano Pepper

No need to travel to France when you can get gourmet soft French-style cheese in over 3,000 stores across the United States. Chipotle-Serrano Pepper by Treeline is created with chipotle Marita flakes, smoky Serrano pepper, and fine cultured cashews. This vegan brand loves all animals, does not use palm oil in any of their products, and provides links to the truth about the dairy industry on its website. 

  1. Whole Foods 365 – Non-dairy Mozzarella Cheese Shreds

You know vegan cheese has gone mainstream when grocery store giants like Whole Foods have their own line. Yup, times have definitely changed. These non-dairy Mozzarella Cheese Shreds melt and stretch for the perfect homemade veggie pizza and are also available in Cheddar.

What’s your favorite plant-based cheese? Let us know in the comments.