Vegan cheddar cheese, is non-dairy plant-based cheese. It is one of the oldest types of cow milk cheese that originated in the Cheddar village of Somerset region of England. The taste of the cheddar cheese available globally may differ greatly. It is the most popular cheese in UK, since it accounts for about 51% of the country’s £1.9 billion annual cheese market. However, in the US, mozzarella is the most popular, while the second-most popular cheese is cheddar. The traditional method of manufacturing cheddar involves cutting the firm curd into small bits to drain off the watery fraction, which is formed when milk coagulates. It is then pressed into cylinders of various sizes. The cheddar cheese is light orange in colour and is further wrapped with muslin cloth and covered with wax. It is aged preferably for a duration of one and one-half to two years. The longer period of ageing makes the rich flavour of cheese more intense. With the booming interest of people in choosing a vegan lifestyle, there is growth in the vegan cheese market as well. According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, vegan cheese saw a 7% increase in sales in 2021, growing faster than its animal-based counterpart. As the vegan term indicates dairy-free products, vegan cheddar is prepared with nuts (almonds or cashews) or soy milk and a combination of different starchy flours, in a wide variety. Apart from vegan cheddar, some of the other popular vegan cheeses available either online or in the supermarkets are namely vegan parmesan cheese, vegan mozzarella cheese and vegan cream cheese.
Method to Prepare Vegan Cheddar
Unlike the traditional cheese-making process, the process of preparation of vegan cheddar shares similar steps. Being a plant-based product, first, the proteins are separated from plants. Then to give cheese-like consistency, some of the ingredients like oil and thickeners are added to it. The vegetable protein and bacteria sit and break down further. Unlike the animal proteins in dairy cheeses, however, those in vegan cheeses don’t naturally bond to one another. To bond well, thickeners are added to it for a smooth cheese-like consistency.
Vegan Cheddar Cheese vs Dairy Cheddar Cheese
Generally, vegan cheddar is processed cheddar prepared excluding milk-product. Usually, it is prepared using vegetable protein, soy and cashew nuts. Since it has no dairy product, it has a low amount of calcium, protein and fat than regular dairy cheddar cheese. Moreover, being free from carcinogenic animal protein, growth hormones and cholesterol-boosting saturated animal fat, it is better than its dairy counterparts. On the other hand, dairy cheddar cheese is rich in calcium, which further helps in keeping the bones and teeth healthy. Moreover, it is also a good source of other nutrients like iron, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Popular Vegan Cheddar Cheese Ingredients
Since cheese is one of the most beloved dairy products all over the globe, vegan cheddar cheese has become an incredible substitute, with the flourishing recognition of vegan and diet-conscious individuals. Vegan cheese is available in a variety of flavours and is made from different plant-based ingredients. Some of the ingredients from which vegan cheddar is prepared is given below:
- Soy milk: It is one of the most common substitutes for most dairy products.
- Tree Nuts and Seeds: Cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are some of the popular ingredients used for the preparation of vegan cheddar cheese.
- Coconut: It has a rich creamier texture of its own, which makes it suitable for the preparation of cheeses. However, other ingredients, such as corn starch, and potato starch needs to be combined to have a similar density as that of cheese.
Nutritional Content in Vegan Cheddar Cheese
Since vegan cheddar cheese is a processed food item, it has a lower content of protein and calcium in comparison to regular cheese. However, it may have a high amount of sodium content, therefore it must be consumed in moderation. Vegan cheddar cheese also contributes to optimal gut and digestive health. Thus, vegan cheddar cheese can be a part of a well-planned, healthy and balanced diet. 1 cup of vegan cheddar cheese(112gm) contains 360 calories. 27% carbohydrate 70% fats, 0% protein.
Cheese is one of the most relished dairy products around the world. On average, a person consumes 17kg of cheese per year in the US. However, with the rising popularity of people following vegan and other dairy-free diets, excellent cheese alternatives are available in the market. One of the most common types of dairy-free cheese is vegan cheddar. It is plant-based processed cheese, prepared by using nuts, soy milk and starch and tastes similar to that of regular cheese. Further, vegan cheddar cheese also contributes to a well-balanced healthy diet, if consumed in moderate quantity.