Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vegan Holy Grail

The vegan Holy Grail is the quest for good cheese-like foods. Everything else is readily available: soy/almond/rice milk, soy yogurt, chick'n patties, bean/soy sausage, even marshmallows... If there's an animal-product product that you're craving a vegan version of, chances are you can find it. Many are at the grocery store, some are at your health food store, and rarely you need to go to a specialty store or order online.

But vegan cheese is something else.

I have bought vegan cheese. The only time I have liked it was when I used the vegan cheese-slice type for grilled cheeze sandwiches. Yes, it's good. But you can't really taste the middle part of grilled cheeze, or even grilled cheese, for that matter--it mostly serves as a gooey texture contrast sandwiched (see what I did there? boo-yeah!) between two slices of fried bread. So it served its purpose in the grilled cheeze--gooey middle layer, check!

Other vegan cheese has proven more challenging. I am told that there are definitely yummy, melty, satisfying pizza-topping cheezes out there. The two I bought were both supposed to melt but didn't, had a slightly rubbery texture, and took away from the food more than added to it. I have pretty much given up my search and accepted lovingly-made pizza topped with olive oil, herbs and assorted veggie items. It's still delicious, it just doesn't have that gooey, melty texture I sometimes have a hankering for.

I can, however, get my cheeze fix taken care of in other ways. For example, vegan mac'n'cheese. Nutritional yeast provides the cheesy flavour, and as a carb-a-riffic pasta dish it was truly satisfying. It's now a favourite!

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