I must hand this one to Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Who knew cauliflower could emulate cheese so well? Susan Voisin did. From the fat free vegan expert and mentor to bloggers like myself who follow in her trailblazing footsteps, this Cheesy Cauliflower Sauce is a force to be reckoned with.
Don’t mean to gloat, but I haven’t found a better vegan ricotta other than my own that fits within the paleo vegan realm. For this reason, I have to go with my recipe for this category. Case in point: the kind I used in this recipe.
3. Chili Cheez
Sometimes comparable to nacho cheese, depending on your point of reference (i.e. mine is stadium hot-dog vendors at sports games), chili cheese often comes from a machine. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has worked at said sports games and hoisted the package of artificially-colored franken-cheese into the machine that heats and dispenses it, my former 14-year-old self would tell you that I’m somewhat of an expert in this particular cheese genre. The thought of chili cheese fries wigs me out a bit, based on the aforementioned experience as well as the fact that I’ve never found it appetizing…but this recipe by Brandi of The Vegan 8 intrigued me, if for not just pure nostalgia and the desire to spread the word about other vegan food blogs.
A lot of vegan Parmesan recipes involve walnuts, and I’m very allergic. I don’t recall what a walnut tastes like, nor do I understand why they seem to be the most widely used nut for the vegan imitation of Parmesan—a cheese that often accompanies Italian pasta or pizza dishes as a garnish—when other nuts i.e. pine nuts are a more common ingredient in most nut-based Italian sauces i.e. pesto. Naturally, pine nuts should be the obvious choice for flavor in a faux-parmesan cheez garnish. Granted, pine nuts are expensive. But, so are walnuts. If I want to emulate parmesan, I use crushed pinenuts with a bit of lemon juice and sometimes nutritional yeast. Since I can’t and don’t want to spend $24 on a pound of pine nuts, I usually crush a lot of toasted sesame seeds with a couple of pine nuts thrown in for flavor. With a dash of granulated garlic, this cheez tastes incredible and will awe and inspire your guests whenever you host a party with vegan pizza to non-vegan friends.
5. Mac & Cheez
Oh, PPK. I love thee. The Post Punk Kitchen taught me to be vegan, at 15. I didn’t have the budget for all the packaged vegan things (except for Boca Burger, Silk Soy, Rice Dream, and Morningstar Farms on occasion when they went on sale at Costco). Isa Chandra’s wisdom helped me to realize how insignificant those products are, and helped me to empower myself as a novice vegan on the cheap. One example: the mac and cheez sauce. I actually used this as a topping for cauliflower and broccoli (never macaroni, ironically) but as many things are in this case: Never mind what you top it with; it’s all in the cheez. This one is newer, circa 2013. It involves one of my all-time favorite foods: roasted red peppers—and could possibly be the reining king/queen of all vegan cheez.
…So, what’s your fav DIY vegan cheez? Let me know what I left out.
*Bonus: (updated 6/27/2017) 5 more recipes featuring vegan cheez: