Vegan cheese is a crime no one should commit. Unfortunately we found that out the hard way when we conducted our latest taste test. We're all in favor of veganism here at HuffPost Taste, so as cheese lovers, we were intrigued by the prospect of vegan cheese.
We rounded up seven varieties from a few different stores -- we went everywhere from Whole Foods to Food Emporium to a stand-alone raw food store -- and set our editors to the test. The results were... pretty disappointing. Vegan cheese, we still have hope for you. But after this taste test, we're afraid we won't touch you with a 10-foot pole for a long, long time.
The cardinal rule with any dietary or allergy restriction, we think, is not viewing foods as substitutes and comparing them to the "real" or "original" thing. A veggie burger is nothing like a beef burger, but they're both awesome in their own right. It's when you start comparing the two -- or comparing fake "chicken" fingers to real chicken fingers, or cauliflower to steak -- that you run into trouble. Vegetarian and vegan food doesn't have to stack up against meat; it can exist as independent and delicious food on its own, and we enjoy it very much that way!
This is the root problem with vegan cheese -- it's trying to be something made with dairy, and unfortunately that thing is very hard to imitate. Maybe instead of trying to find a vegan substitute for cheese, it would be better to look for vegan foods that also taste great where cheese would have, too. For example, you could try an avocado on a burger instead of cheese or vegan cheese.
If you're adamant about finding a vegan cheese substitute, go forth and let us know in the comments if you find a good one. We're definitely still hopeful for a vegan cheese that tastes half-decent, but we may not be brave enough to seek out new options out for a while. This vegan cheese taste test was a little scarring. One of our HuffPost editors couldn't even make it through the whole taste test, he felt so nauseous after eating a few.
Find out which vegan cheeses were palatable, and which ones we really couldn't stomach, in the taste test results:
As always, this taste test was in no way influenced or sponsored by any of the brands included.