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Oct 20, 2012 07:23 PM

What is the best tasting parve cheese?

Also, does it melt reasonably well? Where do you buy it?

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  1. Daiya melts well. I am not a cheese lover, so I can't vouch for the taste, but I think many feel it's a good substitute. I get it in Fairway and Whole Foods.

    1 Reply
    1. re: queenscook

      i am a cheese person and i use the daiya when i wanna use cheeses in salads for thanksgiving- so the taste is pretty decent, but i cant account for the melty-ness

    2. Daiya is the only parve cheese that melts well. Personally I dislike all parve cheeses and would prefer to use fake meat and real cheese than real meat and fake cheese.

      15 Replies
      1. re: avitrek

        Totally agree. While fake meat is never going to be 100% convincing, its use has become fairly ubiquitous in the mainstream, almost to the point of being its own category. Fake cheese, on the other hand, is very obviously not cheese (although the Tofutti cream cheese substitute is a good fake). So, to me at least, it's far more satisfying to have a black bean burger or soy burger with a generous topping of real cheese than a real burger with melted cheese substitute.

        1. re: ferret

          Sometimes, though, I want to make fleishigs for shabbos, but with "cheese" . . . i.e.: lasagna, chilaquiles, chicken "parmesan," etc., so real cheese is not an option.

          1. re: queenscook

            I get the need,I just think it's a weaker solution.

            1. re: ferret

              I agree, I suspect there must be a cheese now that must now be able to be used with meat that might have some type of cheese taste while still being parve? Parve meat is good, but not great, I would like to see the best of both sides of the eqatuion.

        2. re: avitrek

          I've never used fake meat, but I'm game to try it. I've had, for instance, "beef" and broccoli in good, vegetarian restaurants, and it was fine, but surely couldn't fool me into thinking I was eating meat.
          What brands would you recommend that could I try for cooking chop meat, hamburger type dishes, like adding ground meat to a lasagna sauce?

          1. re: helou

            I like the Morningstar Farms Grillers Crumbles. Just be aware, it is dairy, so it works with a dairy meal but not as a vegetarian option at a meat meal.

            1. re: avitrek

              The Morningstar crumbles are great, but for a parve option we like the smart ground. Comes in a tube, usually sold in the fridge section near the tofu.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                I find the tube style doesn't work as well in dishes where the meat is meant to be crumbled, but works well for loaves or meatballs. Best find I've had recently is an excellent easy meatball recipe made using Tufurkey Italian sausage. Easy if you have a food processor. The balls keep quite awhile if you don't use them all right away. Slightly spicy great texture.

                1. re: lburrell

                  So I bought the tofurkey sausage from trader joes and we all thought it was kind of gross. Weird taste, funny texture. Maybe bc I grilled them?

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    In our house the Tofurkey Italian sausage are generally sliced, either lengthwise or crosswise and pan grilled by themselves (my husband's favorite) and served alone or with onion and pepper. I prefer to slice the crosswise, pan grill them briefly and then cook them in a tomato sauce made of diced tomato (we use Muir Glen Organic), green pepper, onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and some italian seasoning. We even cook this tomato sauce/stew in our slow cooker and serve it over rice or pasta for Shabbat lunch. In fact, it's my husband's favorite. He by the way is a major meat eater so he's not just "settling" for an inferior taste experience. These Tofurkey Italian sausages are also the ones that make excellent vegan "meat" balls when combined with other ingredients.

                2. re: cheesecake17

                  I used the tube stuff once for something (chili, maybe?), and did not like the taste at all. I like the SmartGround brand for parve. Also found in the fridge section near the tofu.

                  1. re: queenscook

                    The smart ground in a tube s what I'm talking about. I've never seen it a different way.

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      The tube contents have a paste-like consistency, but the packages I buy are rectangular plastic packages inside a cardboard outside "wrapper." They come in regular and a spicier version (I think called "Mexican.") They are far superior to the tube . . . in my opinion anyway.

              2. re: helou

                Our favorite parve meat product is - hands down - Tofurkey brand Italian Sausages ( ), which have been available forever at Trader Joe's ( ) for $2.99 per 14 oz package. This product is substantially more expensive at Fairway ( ) and at other stores, except, perhaps, when on sale; other markets offer other varieties of Tofurkey sausages. The sausages are fantastic with melted (real) cheese, in Italian recipies, and right out of the package... the kids can't get enough of them... though we don't purchase them that often, as they're soy-based and we try to have more healthful options around the house.

              1. re: hindyg

                I use the Cheddar or their Nacho Teese pareve sauces on my vegan Chili Cheese Dogs (using Tofurkey sausages). With (green) onions, it's super yummy indulgent.

                Their Mozzarella and Cheddar are alright. I've never tried to melt them, though. They all come in a tube like a kishke. It might be difficult to obtain these outside the metro Chicago area.

              2. My daughters (and I) love the Daiya parve (non-dairy) cheese products. While we feel they don't taste like real cheese, they melt really, really well. (Our favorite variety is the Jalapeno Havarti soft cheese which we all love straight from the package; the various shredded cheeses are good too; our least favorite is the cheddar.) A major bonus for us is that there are *no* soy products in the Daiya cheeses (check out and for why we prefer to avoid soy products whenever possible.) Most non-dairy cheese products seem to be either (a) not parve, and/or (b) soy-based.

                In a pinch, we like the parve (soy-based) Tofutti pizza... we throw some glatt kosher pepperoni ( ) and/or some sauteed sausage (such as , which I like better than any glatt kosher beef sausage I've had) on top of the pizza and bake for just a few minutes for a quick fleishig treat.

                When a new Fairway market ( ) recently opened on Long Island NY, all of the Daiya parve cheese products were around half-price... so I stocked up.

                -Midas Gold

                1. Daiya is by far the best and for many kosher vegans the only pareve cheese for most cooked items. Any pareve cheese tends to taste better while still hot. The exception are the veg.cusine soy feta and soy bleu. These are excellent substitutes for the dairy versions for salads or eating with fruit. Daiya, by the way, now has a block cheese that can be shaved and served on crackers. This is delicious but very fatty. Best to shave very thin slices. Many vegans sprinke nutritional yeast on salads to get a cheesy flavor, and vitamin B12, which can be a problem for vegans. Also there are a number of cook books out on how to make your own vegan cheeses, including a new one on "Artisan Cheeses." These tend to be more complicated than just marinating some tofu squares in herbs and brine with vinegar or lemon. I actually rarely miss cheese, but I do find it convenient to be able to finally enjoy cheese style pizzas or pasta dishes
                  once in a while. Whole Foods has the most complete selection, but there are online and locally sources for Daiya and veg cuisine products in many locations.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: lburrell

                    Interesting info, I Burrell! Sometimes we fill a cheese shaker (such as at ) with super fine almond flour; it sprinkles and looks just like parmesan cheese on top of spaghetti; it doesn't taste all that much like cheese, but it looks just like the real McCoy, and is healthful to boot.

                    The super fine almond flour is available at . It's certified kosher by Mechon L`Kashrus (Rabbi M. Ungar), a Chassidishe hashgocha.

                    1. re: midasgold

                      We make something similar at home by grinding up either blanched almonds or walnuts with the nutritional yeast. That's actually what's in the commercial Parmesan substitutes anyway. Again, this tastes closest to "real cheese" when hot. But it also works well with any one of the many vegan Caesar salad recipes we have tried. The coarser grind of the homemade version is more like grating your own Parmesan as opposed to buying the pre-ground. The walnut gives a slightly bitter taste that I like with the lemon and mustard of the vegan Caesar.

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          There are a whole lot of these to be found. Almost every vegan cookbook has one variation or another. I'm about to try one out that uses a little kombu seaweed. One of my favorites is from the Milennium Cookbook. (From the famous gourmet vegan restaurant in San Francisco: 1 cup fresh lemon juice (do not try bottled);2 cloves garlic,minced 2 teaspoon capers, drained; 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard;2 teaspoons nutritional yeast; 1/2 teaspoon pepper (l leave this out) 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil; 1 cup canola or light olive oil; sea salt to taste. Blend everything together in a blender except the final oil. Then, while the blender is on, pour in the final oil in a thin stream
                          This will keep in an airtight container for a week. We are fortunate to be able to get kosher certified garlic crouton from a local bakery, so i don't make my own. You'd want to do that or find some really good ones. I usually do add some homemade Parmesan. Millennium cookbook also as a version using tofu which is oil free, but not fat free. You can find many other vegan Caesar salad recipes by using Google. The Web is loaded with vegans eager to convert the world to plant based eating by using food artistry.

                          1. re: lburrell

                            Nutritonal yeast works great. I often mix it in with panko to make parvesan crusted shnitzel.