{City Girl Eats} Daiya Vegan Cheese

by Valerie on February 3, 2010 · 3 comments

Vegan Gluten Free Pizza with Daiya Cheese 

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Life dairy-free has been, to say the least, quite an adjustment.  As many others predicted, eventually the cheese cravings subsided.  Except pizza.  Fortunately, that is where Daiya vegan  cheese comes in.  I love love love that it is soy-free. In the last few months, it has even been popping up at Whole Foods stores across the country, which is why I thought it was timely to share a review with you.

While there is no standard retail version available yet, certain Whole Foods sell Daiya in the plastic food containers.  I buy mine at the Vegan Store which is in Maryland, near Washington, DC (click here for a review of the store).  Note that the Vegan Store will ship Daiya, as will Vegan Essentials. If you buy your Daiya through the Vegan Store, here is what the 8oz package looks like:

Daiya Italian Style

Now, for a review – there are two types of Daiya shreds: Italian-style/mozzarella and cheddar.  The base for both is the same: a mixture of tapioca and arrowroot starches with oils and flavorings.  I prefer the Italian style. I find it less salty than the cheddar style.  I also think I prefer it because the melty cheese effect I miss most is the pizza melty cheese yumminess, while I do not miss melty cheddar on Mexican food (I always preferred guacamole and salsa as my Mexican toppings of choice). The Italian-style does taste like shredded mozzarella.    

I am still working on finding a gluten-free pizza crust I really love.  Gluten Free Chops has a couple of reviews on gluten-free crusts to purchase.   I have not been able to find Nature’s Highlight brand she mentions and have not been vowed by the Ener-G pizza crusts so I am still tinkering with various recipes.  In the meantime, my go-to fast pizza shell is actually the brown rice tortillas from Food for Life (or the Trader Joe’s version of the same product).  I top a tortilla with some of my homemade garlicky delicious simple tomato sauce, add some Daiya Italian-style shreds, pop it all in a pre-heated 350 degree oven and within 15 minutes I have something that kills my pizza cravings!

Below is a close-up picture of a slice where you can see how Daiya really does melt. I love that Daiya does not have soy – while I do not eat much soy, I tried both Teese and Cheezly, the other two brands of vegan cheeses that melt. I hated Teese – it melts into a liquid and smells like plastic.  Cheezly has a better flavor than Teese and melts ever so slightly, but Daiya totally beats Cheezly in the meltiness index.  Bottom line, if I had to pick just one vegan cheese for pizza, it would be Daiya.  Cheezly has some other good attributes though, as you can see in my review.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Analiese Marie February 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Thanks for sharing this! I recently cut out dairy for health and other reasons and really the only thing I miss is cheese. I will have to check out Daiya.


2 Sallie Ann February 6, 2010 at 4:12 am

I'm so glad you wrote this. Did this taste like mozzarella? I've been dying to try it, but I can't find any in Chicago. Michael from Meat Free Radio was saying how much he liked it. I have had a hard time with cheese too, but it makes me feel rotten. I miss blue cheese so.


3 Lauren February 7, 2010 at 1:45 am

Ohhhh I've SO been wanting to try this!!! I think Pangea/The Vegan Store is quite the schlep from Arlington but maybe I can find it somewhere closer. It looks much closer to the real thing than most of the others!


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