Chances are, most vegans out there have experienced the wonder that is Daiya vegan cheese, and the awesome folks at Daiya sent me some coupons so that I could pick up some blocks and shreds to play around with!
Daiya comes in both blocks and shreds, though it’s sometimes easier to find the shreds at the store. Luckily, our Whole Foods carries both. Unluckily, they still don’t carry the most intriguing Daiya variety: the jalapeno garlic Havarti. I check for this one every time, and still no luck! If anyone in Atlanta has seen this kind at a store, please tell me! I’ve checked Whole Foods and Sevananda and am at a loss.
ANYWAY. My quest for jalapeno garlic Havarti is probably not as interesting as vegan cheese!
If you’re not familiar with Daiya, it was sort of a game-changer in the world of cheeze. It melts and pulls almost like real cheese. It’s rich and creamy. And it’s soy free! Daiya actually uses tapioca as the base, which is freaking genius!
I picked up a block of the cheddar and a bag of the mozzarella shreds. I’d never tried the mozzarella before, and it was pleasantly surprising!
I prefer the flavor of their block cheese to the shreds. I’ve had the block Monterrey Jack, also, and the solid cheese seems to have a tangier flavor that really appeals to me.
Most of this cheddar block got devoured old school style: cheese and crackers! I did manage to save enough to slice it up into a yummy black bean chili.
I know, you’d probably think shreds would be better for chili, but I liked the big chunks of cheddary goodness! It was great with the spicy chili, and I added a dollop of soy yogurt to make it extra decadent.
It’s not melting on top, because I’d just dropped it on, but once everything was all mixed up, the cheddar melted perfectly. YUM! The cheddar also comes in shreds, and I’ve used it to top many a successful casserole.
The mozzarella shreds really surprised me. Vegan mozzarella has been pretty disappointing, but the Daiya version rocked my socks! I used most of the bag on an impromptu pasta casserole: ziti mixed with sauteed garlic and broccoli, topped with Daiya and baked until it was nice and melty. Of course, I devoured this so fast that I forgot to take a photo. D’oh!
What I DID remember to take a photo of was the toasty cheese sandwich that I made with the leftovers. This was such a quick, easy lunch:
I’m sure you can figure out this recipe by looking at the sandwich, but for posterity, here it is:
Toasted Vegan Cheese Sandwich
Daiya is the first vegan cheese that really holds up as the star of a sandwich for me, and I forgot how much I missed a good ol’ grilled cheese! This toasted version is a little bit healthier – no oil! no frying! – and toasting instead of frying also means no dirty pan to wash later.
- 2 slices good, whole wheat bread
- 1 tablespoon Vegenaise
- 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
- handful of fresh arugula (you could use spinach, but arugula is one million times better)
- 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella shreds (or your favorite variety!)
- Spread one slice of bread with the Vegenaise and the other with the mustard. Pile on the arugula and the Daiya, and use your hand to gently press the sandwich down. This will help keep it from being all fall-aparty as you move it to the toaster oven.
- Place the sandwich in your toaster, and set it on a pretty dark setting – not burnt, but you need to heat it long enough to melt the cheese. About halfway through toasting, pull the sandwich out, press it again (use a spoon this time, so you don’t burn your hand like I did), flip it, and place it back in the toaster.
- Serve! Tastes best if you cut it on the diagonal. I’m not sure why!
Hi there! My name is Becky Striepe (pronounced “stree-pee,” like “sleepy”), and I am a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. My life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Check out my new book: 40 Days of Green Smoothies!