Tag Archive for Daiya

Boxed Vegan Mac and Cheese Taste-Test

Mac and cheese. The ultimate comfort food?? Discuss.

For me, it’s definitely one of my top go-tos for comfort food, maybe only eclipsed by the grilled-cheese-creamy-tomato-soup combo.

When I was kid, it was all blue-box, nuclear-orange cheese mac and cheese, but as I grew up and got older, I began making it from scratch. Scratch-made mac and cheese with a creamy bechamel, different kinds of cheeses, and crumbly topping… mmm… so very good.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with vegan options. I’ve done, in the past, a straight-up substitution mac and cheese, using a vegan cheese like Daiya in the place of the regular stuff, and a cashew-and-chickpea bechamel is my current fave.

But pre-prepared vegan mac and cheeses are now a thing, which is very convenient, especially when you’re in a hurry.

We still don’t have all the brands here in Canada yet, though. Earth Balance does one, and Annie’s, who currently makes my favourite non-vegan boxed mac and cheese, also makes one. These two I have not been able to get my hands on, but I’ll be picking some up on my next trip down south.

I found three convenience vegan mac and cheeses at my local Whole Foods: Road’s End Organics, Amy’s (in the freezer section) and Daiya.

Michael and I did a live taste-test on Facebook. You can watch that here.

Here are the results of our Vegan Mac and Cheese Taste-test:

3rd place: Road’s End Organics. Ugh. My face says it all. Do not buy this. It’s not good. First off, it’s made with whole wheat pasta, which, I suppose is good. More fibre, right? Then, it comes with a dry sauce packet. So, it’s the most like Kraft Dinner of the three; you boil the macaroni, then add water or non-dairy milk to the pan with the dry sauce packet, and then finally mix in the boiled macaroni. I found it got really thick and clumpy, and it didn’t taste very cheesy. Big disappointment.

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2nd place: Daiya. You boil the noodles, then add the sauce packet. This is a wet sauce packet, and it has that satisfying, nuclear-orange colour you’ve come to love. It also is nice and cheesy.

1st place: Amy’s. This one is microwaveable, or you can bake it in the oven. It’s also made with Daiya cheese, and bonus! It’s gluten free, as the noodles are made with rice. This had all the proper cheesiness we required.

Have you tried vegan mac and cheeses? I’d love to hear in the comments below which is your favourite brand and why.

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Cashew Cheese #Vegan #GlutenFree

The world of vegan cheeses scares me. I’m not sure why. Maybe because cheese is the main reason I feel like I could never become a proper vegan? I love cheese, and as someone who doesn’t eat much meat, cheese becomes a pretty big source of protein for me. Cheese and peanut butter.

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There are lots of great cheese alternatives out there, like Daiya, which is one of my faves.

But recently, I decided I was going to dive into (what felt like to me) the strange and scary world of vegan cheese making. Turns out, it’s not so scary after all.

This is one of the easiest vegan cheeses you can make. If I had to compare it to something, I’d say it is most like a cream cheese. It has about the same consistency and spreadability. It lacks the tanginess of a cream cheese, and I don’t know that I’d want to try it in a cheesecake (not a baked one, anyway). I should also mention, this is a raw preparation.

I’ve been enjoying this on crackers, but you could also add it to your wraps, enjoy it on a veggie burger, spread it on cucumbers or celery, use it to dip your tortilla chips in… the list goes on.

Cashew Cheese

(adapted from Dreena Burton’s Let Them Eat Vegan)

Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup  lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 2 – 4 tbsp water (reserve from the water you soak the cashews in)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Method: 

  1. Place the cashews in a large mason jar. Cover with water, place the lid on, and put it in the fridge to soak 4-6 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the water off of the cashews, reserving some of the liquid. Place the cashews, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in a blender, and begin blending. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you get it to your desired constancy. You may have to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times.
  3. Spoon the finished cheese into ramekins that have been lined with saran wrap, and refrigerate. When ready to serve, peel back the top of the saran wrap, and flip the cheese over onto a plate. Peel off the saran and enjoy.
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