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Vegan Cheese Review

May 31, 2020

It’s 2020 and let’s admit it, vegan cheese has come a loooong way.  

There’s no denying the ever-increasing popularity for vegan cheese,  whether you’re already a vegan, or a dairy cheese-lover wanting to cut down, now more than ever there’s a range of vegan cheese to meet our needs.

I purchased all these cheeses from Good Rebel Vegan, a vegan grocer in Toronto, however, you can find most of these cheeses in various grocery stores, some even have their own websites to purchase from directly who deliver.  I’m a one stop shop kind of gal, so I like that Good Rebel has SO many types of cheeses to choose from. 

When I was deciding which cheeses to choose from I wanted cheeses that would be suitable for a charcuterie board.  That meant getting a:

  • variety of different types and colours of cheeses i.e. cheddar, goat, mozzarella 
  • different textures i.e. slices, firm block, soft
  • could be eaten with a variety of crackers, breads, fruits and vegetables   
  • good balance of flavour and aroma i.e. light, strong, sharp 

The 5 cheeses I reviewed all meet the above criteria and created the most synergistic charcuterie board.  Ever.

Full disclaimer: I have good but sometimes weird taste buds.  I haven’t tried a single fruit or vegetable I didn’t like and I definitely have an ‘acquired’ pallet.  Meaning, I have an appreciation for foods unlikely to be enjoyed by a person who has the taste buds of a 5-year old aka my husband.  These reviews of the vegan cheeses are based on my own taste buds and opinion which may differ from yours.  I ate these charcuterie boards with my sister and husband and we each had our own, and completely different, order of ranking these cheeses.  

I purchased all of these cheeses with my own money and am simply sharing my honest feedback.

1. Emborg – Mozzarella Slices

Before going vegan, mozzarella cheese slices were one of the only cheeses I would buy and eat.  I always bought my cheese from the deli section of the supermarkets and had the deli slice me fresh mozzarella slices.  I am actually a huge fan of the emborg mozzarella slices and they are the closest vegan cheese that reminds me of my ‘real mozzarella’ days.  I can eat the entire container in less than 5 minutes (that’s with me trying to savour and slow down).  I’ve seen Sobeys and Longos carry Emborg and it is also very reasonably priced.  Earth Island and Chao sliced cheese are close runners up. 

Base: starches (potato, tapioca, corn)

Taste: fresh with a slightly lactic taste 

Mouthfeel: smooth and satiny  

Age: young 

Colour: bright white (I wish the colour was a bit less bright white to make it look more authentic) 

Pairs well with… sandwiches, burgers, crackers, by itself  

2. The Frauxmagerie on Georgian Bay – Botanic Camembert 

I love this camembert.  Want to know something funny? Before going vegan I had actually never heard of ‘camembert’ cheese before.  I was never a huge cheese eater and to be honest the mould would have thrown me off.  But when you introduce a vegan version? I’ll be the first in line to try.  I have tried other vegan camembert before and did NOT like them. I can confidently say this one IS the best and it is so so beautiful on a cheese board.  It’s so photogenic and most people cannot believe it is vegan. It’s a real crowd pleaser by being so ‘different’ and has that ‘wow factor’ so I usually get it during the holidays or when I am hosting people over. This camembert cheese has a mild but rich, buttery flavour with a firm texture. It’s bloomy rind is totally edible and adds texture and flavour to the cheese as well.  

Base: cashew

Taste: mild, rich, buttery  

Mouthfeel: firm and creamy    

Age: aged

Colour: white 

Pairs well with… crackers, baguette, fruits and nuts 

3. Vegnature – nuts and cranberries 

This is one of my favourite go-to cheeses.  It is so versatile and tastes amazing.  This was one of the first vegan cheeses I tried that I actually liked! I remember first trying this at the vegandale festival and bought 3 of them because they were so good.  I have tried all their flavours and always come back to the nuts and cranberries.  The nuts and cranberries provide crunchy and chewy texture and sweetness. It is also covered in chives so it has an onion-y flavour too. This cheese resembles a ‘goat cheese’ and also looks authentic by being in a log shape. The texture is spot on and the taste is similar yet I find it milder, which I actually prefer.  You know how real goat cheese can have that very pungent, ‘barnyard’ taste, this one does not have that, yay!

Base: cashews

Taste: mild, tart

Mouthfeel: creamy    

Age: fresh 

Colour: white 

Pairs well with… crackers, bread, salads, baked goods 

4. Stokes – Sharp Cheddar

This was my first time trying Stokes sharp cheddar.  Previously I had tried their vegan feta, which I enjoyed, so I was excited to try other flavours.  I liked this cheese because the bright orange colour looked very appealing on a charcuterie board and it packed a VERY flavourful punch.  Now ‘sharp’ in the ‘real’ cheese world indicates how cheddar changes in flavor and texture as it ages. When cheddar ages it’s flavours become deeper and tangier and its texture becomes harder.  Stokes sharp cheddar is true to its flavor profile by being tangy and pungent, but its texture was a bit off.  The cheeses’ texture was soft and crumbly, not like a true sharp cheddar which is more firm and hard. I knew what the texture was going to be like before purchasing, so that is not a deal breaker for me.  I also want to be completely transparent and include that my picky husband has VERY mild taste buds and he did not like this cheese, but my sister and I really enjoyed it.  This cheese is an acquired taste and would pair wonderfully with some crackers and a glass of Pinot Noir.  I really want to try their smoked gouda cheese next!  

Base: cashew and soy yogurt

Taste: bold, sharp, piquant 

Mouthfeel: creamy and crumbly     

Age: aged 

Colour: orange 

Pairs well with… crackers, wine (I haven’t tried yet but I think this would taste good dolloped on pizza too!)

5. Pulse Kitchen – Creamy Almond Chevre

I had never heard of Pulse Kitchen until I stumbled upon them on Good Rebel vegan’s website and they are made in BC.  I took an expensive gamble on this cheese, not knowing if it would be good or not because I couldn’t find any reviews online.  Turns out this was my personal favourite cheese out of all of them.  The word ‘chevre’ in french means goat so this was supposed to resemble a ‘goat cheese’.  When I first opened it I was surprised at the texture as I thought it would be more soft but I was pleasantly surprised it held its shape yet was still very creamy and smooth. It also had a very mild taste with a touch of acidity from the lemon juice.  I am a sucker for tang so this was why I enjoyed this cheese the most but full disclosure my sister liked this one the least.  I was mind-boggled by her comment when she said ‘it just has an off taste to me’, it might have been the acidity but I like SERIOUSLY loved this cheese. Out of all the cheeses I fully devoured this one in its entirety and would not let my husband have the last bite when he tried to grab for it. Ps. This cheese is an excellent dessert cheese and pairs wonderfully stuffed inside a date topped with a drizzle of coconut nectar or honey (if not strict vegan) was AMAZING. You’re welcome. 

Base: almond, lemon juice, chickpea miso

Taste: tangy and acidic 

Mouthfeel: creamy and smooth     

Age: young

Colour: white

Pairs well with… dessert, crackers, dates, fruit, bread, alcohol 

breakfast, dessert, snacks

Healthy Breakfast Crumble

May 9, 2020

This strawberry breakfast crumble was actually developed by my beautiful, talented, sister.  I went to her condo one weekend morning and she asked me if I wanted some strawberry breakfast crumble, I’m usually on board for eating dessert for breakfast so I said ‘sure!’. Then she proceeded to tell me this is not a dessert crumble as some would imagine it to be sweet, decadent, and a tad guilty for consuming so early in the day.  Instead she described it as a breakfast crumble which means (to her) that it’s made with no refined sugar and uses only ingredients one would typically eat for a healthy breakfast; fruit, oats, chia seeds etc.

I was intrigued and proceeded to watch her make it in front of me.  It was SO easy to make, took all of ten minutes to whip up and put in the oven.  When I saw that beautiful crumble come out of the oven, before even tasting it, I knew I had to share this recipe.

How did it taste though? It was:

  • Flavourful & filling 
  • Tart and zingy 
  • Warm and pure from the whole foods

So, I had to go back home and try it out for myself and figure out the exact measurements.  I had asked her probably 4 times what the ingredients for the crumble were. Little did she know, every time I asked her for the recipe the ingredients or measurements would slightly change.  I tried for a good 6 months to perfect this recipe, but every time something just felt off, either too much salt, too much lemon, not sweet enough.  Until now I FINALLY perfected the ingredients so it is well balanced.

If you are looking for more of a dessert crumble, you can simply add some coconut sugar to the strawberries and more maple syrup to the oat crumble topping and use vegan butter instead of coconut oil.  You can also use any type of berry, strawberries are naturally sweet to me, but blueberries or a mixed berry combination would be delicious too, raspberries alone will yield sourer results. You can also reduce the strawberries by one cup and add 1 cup of rhubarb. 

You don’t have to bake this in a large baking dish either, you can portion out in to individual ramakins (my personal favourite).  By doing individual ramakins the crumble keeps its shape and it’s so much cuter to eat out of. 

Healthy Breakfast Crumble

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword gluten free, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

Berry Layer

  • 4 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp ground white chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple syrup optional

Oat Crumble Topping

  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp solid coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat a 9 x 8 square or rectangular baking dish or individual ramakins with some coconut oil 

  2. Mix the oats, almond flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and then add the maple syrup and stir.  Add 1 tbsp at a time of the solid coconut oil and mix until all the crumble is stuck to the coconut oil. I find using a metal spoon works best by gently squishing the coconut oil and oats together.  Set aside

  3. Place the strawberries, lemon juice, maple syrup (if using) and vanilla in a pot and cook on medium heat

  4. Once the strawberries have started to melt and release their liquid for about 5 minutes, add the ground chia seeds and cook another couple minutes until it thickens up. It will thicken up more in the oven too

  5. Pour the strawberry mixture in the bottom of your baking dish and top with the oat crumble.  Gently press the oat crumble down.

  6. Place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, if using a large baking dish, 15 minutes if using individual ramekins. I sometimes turn on broil for the last minute to get the top crumble nice and toasty but make sure you watch it closely.

  7. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving

Recipe Notes

*You can use any type of berry, I find strawberries are sweeter than most, so I like to use that, however, blueberries or a mixed berry would work too.  If I have any fresh or frozen rhubarb I will also add in 1 cup of that and reduce the strawberries by 1 cup. If you use raspberries only it will yield more tart results, so I would add a tbsp or so of maple syrup or coconut sugar. 

**my sister used white chia seeds because it won’t change the beautiful colour of the strawberries, if you use black chia seeds it could make the strawberries turn dark.  I don’t have white chia seeds, so I used black and it did change the colour of the strawberries slightly, but it didn’t bother me.

***solid coconut oil is coconut oil that is firm at room temperature.  Melted coconut oil will not work! If your coconut oil is melted at room temperature put it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

If you try this recipe I would love to see it and share it! Tag me on IG @thegreenerer, using the hashtag #thegreenerer

breakfast, smoothies & juices, snacks

Hot and Spicy Lemon-aid Tonic

January 8, 2017

Wintertime here in Canada gets pretty cold. Although I have to admit, Toronto is in its own weather bubble and always has way different temperatures from cities even just 30 minutes away. The downtown core gets more brown slush than it does snow and warmer temperatures than its surrounding neighborhoods. I don’t complain; I live in the bubble, I love the bubble. Every time I visit my mom who lives in a town 40 minutes from Toronto, I’m always amazed at the amount of snow and chilliness.

This tonic is inspired by those cold, harsh winter mornings or evenings. This drink warms up not only your cold hands, but also the insides of your body. Each ingredient was carefully selected to collectively make this a powerful, medicinal beverage to give a feeling of well-being.

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dessert, snacks

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

April 17, 2016

Spring has officially sprung so I decided to make an amazing light, airy delectable lemon poppy seed loaf. I LOOOOOOOVE lemon poppy seed cake so much, so I crafted this masterpiece of a recipe.  This recipe is very simple to make so there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t have a slice or ten of this magical lemon poppy seed loaf in there life. Loaf. I made this loaf as healthy as can be utilizing no refined sugar, dairy or eggs.  Yet the consistency is moist, the flavour is perfectly tart, not too sweet, and it’s purely divine.  Your welcome. Loaf. Because its fun to say.

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dessert, snacks

Chocolate Chip Coconut Cranberry Cookies

April 11, 2016

Mmmmmmmmmmm cookies.  The name of these cookies pretty much speaks for itself in terms of flavour: chocolate chip, coconut and cranberry. But allow me to indulge you a little more just in case you aren’t sold yet. THESE COOKIES ARE FRIGGEN AMAZING. There is a mild hint of coconut, a chewy tartness from the dried cranberries and chocolate chips, because chocolate. These cookies are so ridiculously easy to make and the flavour is so delicious you will find yourself doubling, tripling and even quadrupling (I’ll leave it at that because I don’t know what word comes after quadrupling) the recipe because you WILL want more and more and more of them.  Luckily for you these bad boys aren’t actually bad for you at all. These cookies are so powerful and energy dense because of one sneaky ingredient, ground almonds.  These cookies are 100% gluten-free and contain no flour or wheat, instead they use ground almonds.  Almonds contain monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, high in Vitamin E and minerals such as magnesium.  Also, do not fear the fat in almonds, almonds actually help you lose weight! These cookies are also moist and chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, so everybody wins.  Now do yourself a favour and go bake yourself some cookies because dammit your worth it.

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snacks

Avocado Toast

October 28, 2015

Avocado toast is the perfect healthy snack.  This is so simple to make yet so satisfying and delicious you will want to bookmark this page to remind you that avocado toast is amazing. Eat this when your still hungry after dinner, in between meals, or just feel like a dang good snack.

There is only 5 ingredients to this snack and you can have everything prepared and ready to go before the toast is even out of the toaster! This snack is perfectly balanced with the acidity from the lime juice and spice from the chili flakes. I am also not a fan of cilantro, I actually used to despise the herb, but when used with all the other ingredients it tastes SO GOOD on this toast.  Each ingredient is super healthy, full of nutrients vitamins and minerals so its a 100% guilt free snack.

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breakfast, dessert, snacks

Healthy Vegan Breakfast Cookies

October 19, 2015

Cookies for breakfast. Yes.

I like to wake up and have a warm lemon drink or a smoothie and along with that I also like to have some sort of substance that isn’t just liquid.  Working early in the morning on weekdays I also don’t have time to prepare much and breakfast needs to be food I can eat on the go so cereal and pancakes were out. I came across some breakfast vegan cookies at a restaurant nearby and thought to myself instead of wondering how much sugar was in them or justifying spending $3.10 on a cookie every morning, I decided that I would try and make my own.  I have found the perfect amount of each ingredient to transform them into the perfect healthy breakfast cookie.

These cookies are soft, chewy, moist and delicious and are so easy to make only requiring one bowl to make them in. When I eat them I feel like I should feel guilty but then I remember that literally every single ingredient in these cookies are pure, whole foods offering a variety of nutrients. I usually make a batch of these cookies every Sunday and take one on-the-go in the morning before I leave to go to work.  Its prettttyyyy hard to only eat one a day…..they don’t always make it to the end of the week but I’m not complaining.

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dessert, snacks

Vegan White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

January 5, 2015

These are the BEST cookies ever! I was so hesitant to post the recipe simply because the one ingredient that makes these cookies so magnificent are also the hardest ingredient to find, vegan white chocolate chips.  I found these vegan white chocolate chips at a small local organic food shop, in the bulk section, with no brand labelled on them.  The only advice I can give is if you find vegan white chocolate chips you buy them and you buy them all and if finding vegan white chocolate chips is no problem for you then lucky you. Anyways besides finding the white chocolate chips the rest of the ingredients are super easy to find and inexpensive and to make the cookies is actually pretty quick and simple.  I have made these cookies so many times that I have a couple different variations for ingredients you can use and rest assured I have tried them all and every time these cookies turned out great.

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