This weekend, I'm inviting friends at home to play online together. As every time they come, we have pizzas. But this time, I would like to prepare vegan pizzas for them.

I'm therefore wondering if there is a vegan cheese that I can use for this.
I saw that soy cheese exists. Is it appropriate for oven-cooked meals and in particular for pizzas? Is there a better choice?

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are various ready-made vegan "cheese" products available and I hope others can recommend some that are suitable. I don't use them myself.

I make my own cheese-like foods from various fairly basic ingredients. Here is how I make the kind of "cheese" I use for pizza. It is tasty and kind of sticky, but not stretchy like melted mozzarella. For one large pizza:

Ingredients

  • one butternut squash or large orange sweet potato
  • about 30g-50g cashew nut butter
  • 3tbsp nutritional yeast

Method

  1. Bake or microwave the squash or potato in its skin until completely soft
  2. Mix all the ingredients together very thoroughly and spread onto the pizza in patches

My local pizzeria uses a brand called VioLife who have a cheese specifically for pizza, though any of their cheeses would work.

At home, I enjoy my own 'vegan cheese' on pizza which has two ingredients: hummus and nutritional yeast. Simply spread the hummus onto the pizza and sprinkle with as much nooch as you like, then add the toppings of your choice! When the hummus bakes, it has a cheesy flavour but the nutritional yeast adds to it.

A couple of pizza places local to me use Daiya Brand vegan cheese. It is soy and peanut/treenut free. It melts and stretches similar to mozzarella. Daiya also makes frozen pizzas available in some grocery stores.

INGREDIENTS

Filtered water, 
tapioca flour, 
expeller pressed non-GMO canola and/or safflower oil, 
coconut oil, 
pea protein, salt, 
vegan natural flavours, 
inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, 
xanthan gum, 
citric acid (vegan, for flavour), 
titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral).
  • I've used this regularly for pizza night at home (my daughter is vegetarian, but also lactose-intolerant). It takes longer to melt, and doesn't stretch nearly as much as mozzarella, but the taste is a very reasonable facsimile -- and when there are plenty of toppings, nobody's worrying about the cheese – Erica Feb 9 '17 at 14:37

While cheese is a fantastic ingredient which very specific physical properties and tastes, people are often indoctrinated about the ways of making a successful pizza. Once you are vegan, you will find that you are now free from the shackles of tradition and you can experiment however you want. Cheese doesn't have to be cheese and doesn't have to be cheesy. Chasing after the perfect vegan cheese will often lead to disappointment. The solution is to use yummy things:

  • No cheese; this is the easiest solution and can produce yummy vegetable pizzas. Just compensate with extra tomato sauce
  • Vegan herbal sauces, mayonnaise, mustard sauce or others. They will keep your pizza moist, deliciously seasoned and you can go with a lower fat solution. They will often dry out a bit and become more pasty and less runny
  • Peanut butter (non sweetened, maybe salted). Yes. Crazy ideas count as well. The soft sweet flavour of PB can fit very well with the salty and sourness of the rest of the ingredients.

When you follow a vegan diet, people already think you are weird. Might as well go all in and allow yourself to reinvent your recipes!

  • 2
    Avocado works pretty well too, and you can often ask pizza restaurants to add that in place of cheese. – Alex Hall Feb 10 '17 at 9:40
  • Hot avocado? Sounds weird to me, but I'm willing to give it a try. Do you season your "avocado cheese"? – ecc Feb 10 '17 at 9:41
  • Add the avo on top after the pizza is cooked. – Alex Hall Feb 10 '17 at 12:21
  • Something to experiment with: Fermented tofu (the chinese kind, not the mock feta) - but every brand/variety is different... – rackandboneman Apr 24 '17 at 10:12

This is a list of vegan cheese brands. I'm mentioning the brands(in case the link gets inactive) and also sharing the link .

Field Roast

Tofutti

Daiya

Go Veggie!

Follow Your Heart

Treeline Cheese

Kite Hill

Punk Rawk Labs

Miyoko’s Kitchen

Heidi Ho

Vtopian Artisan Cheeses

You can see the article here

The latest generation of vegan cheeses focuses on getting the bacteria right. A good example is Miyoko's vegan mozzarella. You could make it at home, but it is a bit involved, here is the book, also by Miyoko which covers the general technique for many kinds of cheese.

It is essentially a fermented nut butter. It is the most authentic tasting mozzarella I've found so far, probably because mozzarella tastes like mozzarella because of the fermentation process.

It melts reasonably well, but attempting to grate it is like grating a stiff peanut butter. I created little cheese balls and flattened them and scattered them around the pizza.

Daiya is my goto for pizza. Note I get their shredded brands and apply it on the pizza myself. I'm not a huge fan of their frozen pizza.

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