Thursday, May 9, 2019

Mozzarella Cheese Alternatives

If you know the hubby, you know he loves pizza! Honestly, he could probably eat it seven days a week and never tire of it. Recently he started making his own dough (once he saw how easy it was and how full of junk and preservatives pre-made doughs can be). He loves doing it (not to mention eating the finished product) and he's getting pretty good at it!


Around this same time I've been doing my best to limit the amount of dairy in my diet (I've been a vegetarian since January 1, 2005, but am attempting to eat more vegan options recently - and, I'll be honest, cheese has been the hardest thing to remove). With that said, I picked up a couple different mozzarella cheese alternatives to try on the hubby's homemade pizza dough. I thought I would do a quick side-by-side comparison of the two brands I've tried thus far. {FYI - The almond option I bought is not vegan since it contains casein, which is a milk protein. If you were to adhere to a strictly vegan diet this would not be a possibility for you, but because I haven't cut dairy out completely I wanted to try it as an alternative.} PS The only reason I went with these two brands is because our local grocery store carries them. There are definitely more choices available, some of which I hope to try soon, but that's how I decided on these first two.

Daiya Dairy-Free Shredded Mozzarella Cheese vs 

Lisanatti Foods Shredded Almond Mozzarella Cheese

First up, the ingredients. Like I mentioned, the Lisanatti cheese does contain a milk protein, so is not considered vegan, but has an almond base. The Daiya cheese is completely plant-based, as well as being soy, gluten, nut and lactose free.

Daiya ingredient list

Lisanatti ingredient list

Next, the nutritional facts. They seem to be pretty comparable, but the Lisanatti cheese does have less saturated fat (0g vs Daiya's 2.5g), less carbs (3g vs Daiya's 8g), more protein (6g vs Daiya's 0g) and more calcium (20% vs Daiya's 10%). 

A picture of the nutritional label from Daiya is on the left and Lisanatti is on the right.

Most important, the taste. I did a taste test of the cheeses on their own, as well as obviously on my pizza. My first impressions of the Daiya Dairy-Free Shredded Mozzarella Cheese was that it was a little waxy (which makes sense since many of the ingredients are different oils), but the taste itself was good. I wouldn't say it tastes exactly like standard cow mozzarella, but it had a cheese-like flavor. As far as the Lisanatti Foods Shredded Almond Mozzarella Cheese goes, I thought it nutty (which makes sense since it's made from nuts - duh!) Again, I wouldn't say it tastes perfectly like standard cow mozzarella, but I think that due to the texture being a little more like cow mozzarella it seemed more spot on than the other (then again, it has dairy in it, so that also makes sense). {PS I also had the hubby try both cheeses on their own and he thought the Daiya had more of a consistency of a hard cheese [think Parmesan] and the Lisanatti was spot on for texture with cow's mozzarella, but thought the taste was great with both [which, let's be real, he was not expecting].}

Not sure if you can tell from my crappy picture, but the Daiya is on the left (a little
more waxy look, maybe a little more processed feel) and the Lisanatti is on the right.

Daiya's mini pizza is in the back left and the Lisanatti's mini pizza is in the front right. 

Once they were cooked on my pizzas, I thought that the waxy consistency of the Daiya's went away and it actually seemed a little creamier to me than the Lisanatti. The flavor was yummy on both of them. I would be interested to see had I not known these were mozzarella alternatives if I would have thought they were any different. I might have been able to pick out the almond based cheese because it was a little nuttier tasting that a cow mozzarella, but still delicious. (FYI - The hubby's homemade dough contains whole wheat flour, yeast, water, olive oil, salt and some herbs. Super easy but still delicious. I wouldn't say the crust is overly flavorful, so I was still able to taste the cheeses on each of the pizzas.)

The mini pies are ready to eat - YUM! The Lisanatti pizza is on the left and the Daiya pizza is on the right.

Along with flavor, I think the melt-ability and texture (especially if you are using them on a pizza) are also super important. As I'm sure you could see in the previous picture, both of the cheeses melted perfectly in the oven (we cook them at 530* for about 10 minutes). The Lisanatti pizza was in the back of the oven while the Daiya was in the front, which probably accounts for some of the browning of the Lisanatti cheese. The Daiya cheese had a little more "stretch" to it (you know, when you take a bite and pull the pizza away and some of the cheese stretches from the pizza to your mouth), which made it feel a little more like cow mozzarella to me. I thought the Daiya cheese seemed little creamier than the Lisanatti cheese once it was melted (it actually felt like it could have gotten stuck on my teeth a bit it was so gooey). I think originally I was worried that not only would the taste be off, but they wouldn't melt properly and the texture would be off as well. Thankfully I felt as though both mozzarella alternatives hit the nail on the head in all of the important departments.


I realize that vegan cheese has come a long way in recent years, but I was always a little nervous to try them (because, let's be real, I may have a slight addiction to cow cheese). I'm happy to report that I can definitely see myself making the swap with little to no issues (although eating out may be a little more challenging, especially at our favorite Mexican restaurant, but I'm taking it one step at a time). I think if I was planning on adding these cheese alternatives to something that wasn't going to be cooked, I would prefer the Lisanatti cheese due to the non-waxy feel, but if I was planning on cooking/ baking/ microwaving/ melting the cheese, I would be absolutely fine with either (and probably would even prefer the Daiya cheese, not just because it's completely plant-based but also because of the texture once warm).


Have you tried any vegan cheeses before?

No comments: