Miyoko’s Kitchen: Vegan “Cheese”
A vegetarian lifestyle has always been a natural fit for me and the only two things that really hold me back from becoming a vegan is butter and cheese. Although infrequent, I do indulge in a Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie or a Salty Oats oatmeal cookie by Kayak Cookies – both of which are made with butter (and eggs). And, then there is cheese. A slice of Comte or Vermont Cheddar on a toasted bagel with lettuce, tomato, and red onion is my dream bagelwich and my go-to snack when I’m on the road and fresh out of energy bars. I can go to any bagel shop and get my fix. “Hold the meat, keep the cheese, and add the veggies” and I’m off and running.
But, in the back of my mind are two thoughts that stay with me more and more these days: the studies that show how bad dairy products are for our health; and second, by eating dairy products I am supporting an industry that is cruel and ruining our environment. So, when new plant-based products offer alternatives to a product made from an animal, I enthusiastically embrace a new option – and that is how I came to discover the “cheese” from Miyoko’s Kitchen – vegan cheese that actually tastes good.
Technically (read “legally”) speaking, a product cannot be called “cheese” unless its made from dairy (but that may change just as the milk industry fought the makers of almond, soy, hemp, rice, and other plant-based milks and lost) so Miyoko’s Kitchen “cheese” is called a “cultured nut product.” Made primarily from organic cashews, filtered water, organic chickpea miso, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and cultures, the nine varieties include both hard and soft cheese with added flavor from herbs and spices:
Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic: a creamy round of Mediterranean-inspired cheese with the flavor of sundried tomatoes and garlic. Another great “cheese” to spread on crackers or toasted baguette slices. Top with chopped grape tomatoes and basil for a variation of bruschetta.
Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf: a wheel of soft, white cheese wrapped and aged in a green fig leaf which allows the flavor to sharpen as it ages. Serve with crackers and fig jam for a special treat.
Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash: a round, smooth wheel of “cheese”‘ with a creamy texture and a slightly tangy sweetness. Covered in black ash (vegetable ash), the name comes from the volcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy that was made famous in the story of its eruption and the subsequent destruction of Pompei. Serve with crackers and fruit.
Aged English Sharp Farmhouse: Miyoko’s Kitchen’s answer to Shark Cheddar: a hard, round wheel of aged “cheese” with complex flavors that enhance as the wheel ages in your refrigerator. Slice and serve on sandwiches, crackers, and bagel sandwiches!
Country Style Herbes de Provence: a slightly tangy round covered in herbs including lavender, that slices like a hard cheese but that softens in the mouth. Serve with mild crackers or toasted baguette slices or crumble into a salad.
Each round is free of cholesterol, lactose, egg, egg, gluten, and soy. Made with non-GMO ingredients, Miyoko’s Kitchen rounds are 6.5 – 8.0 ounces each. The nut-cultured products are sold in collections containing three to six rounds. The collections range from $33 -$67 with an average cost of $11 per round. Order on-line at miyokoskitchen.com. Also, see the company website for a list of grocers in California carrying the line of products by Miyoko’s Kitchen.