Since going vegan three years ago, I've heard countless other vegans say they don't miss cheese at all. Unfortunately, that is not the case for me! As a result, I have tried my fair share of vegan cheeses, ranging from soft cheeses worthy of fancy crackers to slices for grilled cheese sandwiches. And while I don't mind being cheese-free most of the time, the craving rears its ugly head every time I see an image of a gooey, stretchy pizza slice crossing my television screen. But I couldn't find a satisfactory pizza cheese replacement until I tried Miyoko's Fresh VeganMozz.
Buy it: Fresh VeganMozz, $9 for 8 ounces at Miyoko's Kitchen
Although I've been happy to see more and more pizza restaurants, local and national chains alike, adding vegan options to their menus, my cheesy dreams are swiftly crushed every time I realize that "vegan options available" means Daiya mozzarella shreds (and usually an upcharge).
For years, Daiya has cornered the market on vegan cheese, because vegans are such a small portion of the population and pretty much had to take what they could get. But what a lot of vegans won't admit (to others and perhaps to themselves) is that Daiya mozzarella is some of the worst vegan cheese out there.
Daiya has a distinctive funky flavor, but not the good funk that I used to enjoy in dairy cheeses. And worse, it has a nauseating oily texture when melted on a pizza. I consistently get a stomach ache after eating just one slice of Daiya-covered pizza.
At home, I began experimenting with making my own vegan cheeses, and finally found a recipe that I love. The problem is, it takes a few days to set up and dry out enough to be shredded for pizza, so there is quite a bit of forethought required. And when I need pizza, I sometimes (read: often) need it immediately.
The Only Vegan Cheese I'll Use on My Pizza: Miyoko's Creamery VeganMozz
So when I heard that Miyoko's Creamery had released a fresh mozzarella-style cheese, I stalked the aisles of Whole Foods until it finally appeared. We had enjoyed several of Miyoko's cultured nut cheeses, and I'm a devotee of founder Miyoko Schinner's cookbook The Homemade Vegan Pantry. My expectations were pretty high, and I'm excited to say that the VeganMozz didn't let me down.
Why I Love It
The VeganMozz is too soft to be shreddable and doesn't slice as easily as fresh dairy mozzarella, but the cheese melts beautifully and even browns! I just drop little blobs of the VeganMozz over my sauce and then cook my pizza like I normally would. The blobs melt and add salty, mildly sweet, gooey pockets all over the tops of my pizzas. The cheese sets up after cooling, and doesn't remain an oil slick like the Daiya shreds. And it doesn't have a weird or chemical taste, either, as it's mostly made of coconut oil and cashews.
No, it doesn't stretch like the cheeses in a pizza commercial, but it makes my pizzas taste better, and that's what really matters. My 3-year-old, who is averse to both Daiya and dairy cheeses, eats Miyoko's mozzarella with zeal. And even my omnivorous mother-in-law will eat it!
So while I'm still waiting on a convincing vegan version of "low-moisture, part-skim" shredded mozzarella that will give me that glorious pull of real cheese, I'll keep happily melting this fresh mozzarella look-alike all over my pies.
Have you tried it? Do you have another vegan cheese you love for pizza? Discuss in the comments below!