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Cheese Substitute: Best Vegan Options to Replace Ricotta, Brie, Cheddar & Parmesan


Cheese is undeniably delicious but just doesn’t fit into a vegan diet with its dairy-driven ingredients - try these fantastic vegan cheese substitutes to suit every need for hard and soft cheese using strictly plant-based ingredients.

Giving up cheese can be challenging, especially when you consider all of the delicious foods it tops - pizza, lasagna, and tacos, to name a few. 

You do not, we repeat, do not have to give up all cheese-related foods if you convert to veganism. 

What can you substitute for cheese in a vegan diet? 

As it turns out, plenty of plant-based ingredients make excellent vegan alternatives to cheese, from tofu to cashews and even zucchini. Try out a few of these vegan cheese alternatives that will suit your need for cheese without compromising your diet or ethical values!

#1: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is one the best alternatives to cheese that every vegan can keep in their back pocket - it’s the perfect, no-dairy cheese that makes every meal more delicious with just a little sprinkle. 

A nutritional yeast cheese substitute most closely resembles Parmesan with its nutty, rich, and salty flavor. This golden flaked, inactive yeast contains extra B vitamins, like B12, which vegans notoriously lack.

It won’t melt into strings like regular cheese, but you can easily break it down and blend it into the smooth, silky texture of vegan-friendly cheese sauce. 

#2: Cashew Cheese

Cashew cheese makes the best vegan cheese replacement for Brie due to the creamy and indulgent, rich taste of cashew nuts - and just like Brie, it’s high in fat content!

You can build a liquid cashew cheese sauce or dip to pair with healthy salty snacks or enjoy a more solid cheese block by altering your recipe and preparation process. 

In many recipes, we blend nutritional yeast into a recipe for cashew cheese without milk, along with vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, fresh garlic, and salt. 

#3: Tofu Cheese

Build a straightforward ricotta cheese with soft, silken tofu to make a beautiful non-dairy cheese substitute in lasagna and other classic dishes containing ricotta - simply blend or mash the tofu and add some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. 

On the other hand, Firm tofu can give you a whole new cheese without dairy experience - slice some smoked tofu to replace harder cheese, like mozzarella. 

#4: Zucchini Cheese

Zucchini cheese may sound weird, but we encourage you to give this vegan substitute for cheese a try - it’s delicious, with a soft, chewy texture that rivals some of our favorite processed cheese slices. 

Beware of non-vegan recipes that contain gelatin, and substitute with agar, a seaweed-based ingredient that works to harden the zucchini cheese similarly. 

#5: Almond Cheese

Almond cheese has a nutty, rich flavor that makes plenty of healthy cheese alternatives, from soft ricotta and cream cheese to hard vegan cheddar blocks. 

Make soft almond cheese at home by soaking the nuts and blending in a high-powered blender with your favorite herbs, spices, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. 

Final Notes: Best Store-Bought Cheese Brands

Any of the options above make a healthy cheese substitute, but sometimes, you might want something a little more convenient. 

Luckily you can find a vegan cheese substitute at the grocery store to suit all your cheesy needs, but our two favorite store-bought, dairy-free cheese alternatives are Daiya and Kite Hill. 

Daiya mimics that stringy, melted texture of mozzarella with better meltability than home recipes, and Kite Hill’s almond base makes a block of cheese with a taste that’s spot on the target. 

There’s the perfect vegan alternative to cheese to fit any need perfectly - give us all the vegan cheeses!

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