I’ve been “dairy light” for years now, but in 2021 I decided to cut dairy completely out of my diet, just to see how it affects my body (for various reasons: inflammation, bloating, acne etc.). So I really went deep into my search for the perfect dairy-free cheeses. And when I say perfect, I don’t mean just in terms of taste. The ingredients needed to be top notch and as clean as possible, too.
I’ve spent many hours in the dairy-free isles of Whole Foods and other local healthfood stores, and let me be honest, vegan products are not as “healthy” as you may think (sadly). Many of the dairy free cheeses sold in stores (like Whole Foods) contain hormone disrupting soy, natural flavors (which are almost just as bad as artificial flavors), different “gums” (xantham, guar etc.), inflammatory oils and cellulose (which often comes from – trees). These extra ingredients can really disrupt your gut flora among other things – which nobody wants, am I right?
THANKFULLY, it’s not all dark and gloomy in the dairy-free cheese world. I found three different dairy free cheeses that have clean and minimal ingredients and are tasty too! All work great as pizza toppings. I’ve also included a bonus – a DIY vegan cream cheese recipe I discovered from Loving It Vegan, because homemade always tastes the best. Enjoy! 😉
Kite Hill Ricotta
Are you lactose intolerant and thought you could NEVER taste ricotta cheese again?? Don’t fret, Kite Hill’s Ricotta is the real deal. You can put it on pizza, pasta, toast – whatever you want. The ingredient list is SO simple: Almond Milk (Water, Almonds), Salt, Enzymes, Tartaric Acid, Cultures. I love a good almond based creamy cheese, as it’s lighter on the digestion than cashew based ones. You can buy it here!
Monty’s Cream Cheese
Monty’s Cream Cheese is a NYC based, female founded, small business with a cult following. And for a great reason! They make everything in small batches, fresh, twice a week. Cream cheese made with 100% organic fair trade cashews is what really makes this brand stand out. On their website they state that their “cashews are raw and sprouted to remove anti-nutrients and increase bioavailability, which means all those life-giving nutrients are more readily absorbed by your body. The added cultures make these wheels “cheesy” + probiotic-rich.” Monty’s “Original” is my go-to, and the ingredients are just cashews, cultures and salt. You would not know this isn’t real cream cheese by the flavor! I’m also excited because they’re in the process of switching to more sustainable glass packaging. 100% amazing. If you’re in NYC find it in select stores by searching here, or order online from anywhere in the U.S. here!
Miyoko’s Cashew Milk Mozzarella
Pizza isn’t right without some really good mozzarella cheese, right?? Well, Miyoko’s has THE ONE for all my fellow dairy-free friends. It looks like mozzarella, it acts like mozzarella – so for me, it IS mozzarella. 😁The ingredients are all organic and pretty darn good: Filtered Water, Organic Cashews, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Tapioca, Agar, Organic Cultured Sugar, Sea Salt, Organic Sunflower Lecithin, Cultures. And Miyoko’s is another female founded company. Read about the founder and CEO, Miyoko Schinner here. You can get the mozzarella here!
BONUS – Make Your Own Cream Cheese!
I’m a big proponent of cooking/baking/making everything from scratch, whenever possible, as my stomach always feels best that way! It took me a while to find a really tasty dairy free cream cheese recipe that also didn’t require a lot of ingredients and prep. That’s how I landed on this Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe from Loving It Vegan – it’s so perfectly flavorful, spreadable and delicious! I adjusted two things in the recipe: I soaked the cashews in the fridge overnight (for extra creaminess), and I used dried dill instead of fresh (and less of it), just because that’s what I had on hand. Check it out here and let me know if you make it!
That’s it! Hope this post was helpful, and please make sure to share it with your dairy-free/dairy-light, vegan friends! This post contains some affiliate links, which help support the blog – I’m always giving my honest opinion and only share what I absolutely love. xo