When I first decided to go vegan, I was very concerned about giving up dairy.
Growing up, I used to eat toast with cottage cheese every morning for breakfast. Then, when I went dairy free, I couldn’t have it anymore. How was I supposed to start my day without my favorite breakfast?
Dairy was my go-to for entertaining. You see, in Israel, where I grew up, people often entertain with cheese and cheese dishes and I was used to serving dairy dishes when entertaining. I wasn’t willing to give up all my childhood flavors and entertaining repertoire.
Plus, there's just something comforting and decadent in cheese and spreads in general. I knew I would crave that flavor.
I had to figure out a way to make the vegan lifestyle work for me.
The first thing I did after going vegan was to get all the vegan cheese I could find at the store, from cream cheese to sour cream to cheddar cheese, all of it.
But then, when I checked the ingredients list, most times I found all the wrong things.
On the rare occasion that the ingredients list was fine, the price was super high--twice to four times as much as dairy products.
Plus, many of the store-bought vegan cheeses had “fake” almost rubbery texture, and their flavor left much to be desired.
I needed a plan B.
I experimented a lot and created recipes that satisfied my craving for that cheesy flavor. I can’t say that I found a cottage cheese recipe, but I realized that I didn’t need it anymore.
It taught me that I don’t need to find an exact substitute, I just need something that works and that fits my new lifestyle.
I then incorporated the dairy-free cheese that I created into all kinds of childhood recipes to come up with perfect dishes for entertaining.
The vegan cheese you learn to make here is perfect for your regular diet and not just for entertaining. You can make a large batch and store the cheese in a container for the week and use it for sandwiches for your kids or your lunch.
Plus, these vegan cheese recipes are simple to make. Some are very quick too.
Once you master making your own cheese, being vegan/dairy-free will be easy and satisfying!
I do sometimes use store-bought vegan cheese when I make cheesy dishes, like the cheesy bites. Since the store-bought vegan cheese is only one ingredient in the recipe and since the dish is baked, the flavor is not as dominant, and it saves me some time. I do still check the ingredient list. If you don’t like what’s at the stores at all, you can always make one of the cheeses I have here and use it in the recipe instead of the store-bought cheese.