Cheese is a favorite of many. There’s just something about the ooey-gooey cheese that can elevate any dish you can think of. But what if your stomach can’t handle cheese or you’re quitting dairy? Whether it’s for dietary restrictions or food allergies, there are many tasty and nutritious cheese substitutes that’ll allow you to enjoy creamy, “cheesy” meals.
If you’re looking for the ultimate cheese substitute, there are several options — from vegan cheese produced from nuts and vegetables to dairy-free varieties manufactured from soy or coconut. So, let’s dive right in and explore a world of cheesy delight!
Tofu, or bean curd, is a savory food made from soybeans and is a great source of plant-based protein, iron, and calcium. It has a delicate flavor and firm texture that pairs well with numerous recipes. Although it originated in China, tofu is commonly used in diverse cuisines today.
You can use tofu to substitute for cheese in a number of dishes, including salads, spaghetti, sandwiches, and pizza. To give your dishes a more distinct flavor, consider marinating tofu in your choice of spices and herbs and grilling or frying it. Since tofu has a more neutral flavor than cheese, it also won’t overpower the other ingredients in your recipe.
2. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast, popularly known as “nooch,” is a popular cheese substitute enjoyed by both vegans and vegetarians. It’s a type of deactivated yeast that’s rich in B vitamins and has a nutty, cheesy taste that goes well with a variety of foods. It’s also high in protein and fiber, making it a healthier choice for your meals.
Nutritional yeast is a very versatile ingredient. You can use it to replace cheese in sandwiches, pizzas, pasta meals, and salads. It also adds a delectable flavor to soups and sauces and can even be sprinkled on popcorn. Because nutritional yeast has a nutty flavor that’s more savory than cheese, you may wish to combine it with other herbs and spices to balance the taste.
3. Cashew Cream
Cashew cream is becoming an increasingly popular cheese substitute due to its health benefits. It’s high in protein and healthy fats but low in sugar and carbs compared to cheese. It is also vegan, dairy-free, and soy-free, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions.
Cashew cream may be substituted for cheese in a number of dishes, such as sauces, dips, and spreads. You can also add it to soups to make them thicker or to your smoothies for a creamier element.
4. Mashed Potatoes
When it comes to cheese substitutes, mashed potatoes may not be the first thing that springs to mind. But this flexible and cozy dish may be a terrific alternative for adding creaminess to a range of foods. Potatoes are also a great source of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6. And the creamy texture of mashed potatoes, when done right, can come close to mimicking the texture of cheese.
Mashed potatoes can be used in a variety of dishes, including lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and other recipes that typically call for cheese. And given the neutral flavor of mashed potatoes, it can take on a range of spices and seasonings. To replace cheese, make sure you mash or blend the potatoes until smooth before adding them to your dish.
For those searching for a healthy alternative to cheese, avocado is a wonderful choice. Avocados are rich in healthy fats and have more potassium than bananas. They are also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. And, unlike cheese, avocados are vegan-friendly and low in calories, making them great for people striving for a healthy lifestyle.
Avocados can be used in a variety of recipes, such as salads, guacamole, sandwiches, and, of course, as a topping on toast. To substitute cheese, mash up half an avocado and mix it with spices like garlic, onion, and chili powder. You can also add a bit of lime juice for a tangy flavor.
Hummus is made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. This delicious Middle Eastern dip is packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats, making it an excellent cheese substitute for those searching for a healthier alternative.
You can use hummus in place of cheese in equal amounts. It works well as a dip for veggies and crackers, as well as a spread for sandwiches and wraps, and even as a pizza sauce. Since hummus is already seasoned, you also don’t have to flavor it. However, note that hummus does not come close to replicating the taste of cheese, although it can offer a similar consistency.
7. Vegan Cheese
This plant-based substitute is the perfect option for people who are lactose intolerant or follow a plant-based diet. Vegan cheese is made from a variety of ingredients such as nuts, soy, and vegetables and has a texture and flavor similar to traditional cheese. It is not only a delightful alternative, but it is also filled with nutrients while being low in saturated fat.
A number of recipes benefit from the boost of flavor that vegan cheese can provide. Use it to make a cheese sauce, mouthwatering vegan pizza, or grilled cheese sandwich. Even your favorite casseroles or pasta dishes would taste better with the addition of vegan cheese. Some popular vegan cheese brands you can consider are Daiya, Field Roast, and Follow Your Heart.
8. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is prepared by straining regular yogurt to remove the whey and lactose, resulting in a thicker, more protein-rich, low-fat product. It has a sour and creamy flavor that’s similar to many types of cheese.
A variety of dishes might benefit from the creaminess of Greek yogurt. It works great as a vegetable dip as well as in soups, sauces, and salad dressings. You may also substitute it for sour cream in your favorite recipes. Greek yogurt may also be used in place of cream cheese or ricotta cheese in recipes that call for them.