Thanks to Violife for sending me a selection of cheeses to include in a blog post. Being big fans of Violife cheese already, I was more than happy to share our experience of cheese as vegans and how we use their brand on a regular basis for our vegan family meals and recipes at home. Enjoy!
As a family, we’ve all been vegan for over four years now. It was quite a transition to start with as we didn’t really know where to find the best vegan foods and products. Giving up meat and dairy was difficult for me especially (Ben), as I was such a big fan. Victoria was already vegetarian for several years and had slowly been giving up many dairy products over a few years. The most difficult of all, for both of us, was probably cheese. I would eat cheese almost every day. A lovely mature cheddar was something that always had its place in our fridge. I’d also become a big fan of blue cheese melted onto burgers or on a cheesy pizza.
With Victoria reading more and more about the benefits of a plant-based diet and reiterating to me some of the most fascinating and shocking facts she was reading from books such as The China Study by T Colin Campbell and Food Revolution by John Robbins, I was starting to take note of how much healthier a vegan diet could be for me. Not only this, but it’s also better for the planet and for the animals. If we don’t NEED to eat animals or animal products, then why put them through so much suffering and even death when we don’t actually need to?
I guess I always assumed we needed to eat animals and that was a good enough excuse for what we put them through, but now I was learning this really isn’t the case and a life without consuming animal products could actually be a lot more fulfilling. As I said, it’s been over four years now and I haven’t looked back. Veganism is a huge part of our lifestyle and something we are all very passionate about. We have continued to learn more and more, absorbing as much information as we can about its benefits for not only our health but our planet and the animals too.
But what about that cheese we loved the taste of so dearly? Taking that plunge switching to a vegan diet left me wondering where I was going to get my cheese fix from.
No longer tempted by animal cheese, we set out to try some vegan cheeses but were often left disappointed as they just didn’t taste the same. Now, this is the thing. There are some really awful vegan cheeses on the market and if you try them and think that’s what all vegan cheeses taste like, then you’re probably wrong!
We started off with various different supermarket own-brand vegan cheese and to be frank, it was disgusting! We then tried some of the branded vegan cheeses we found in natural health food stores and much preferred these. Luckily they are now all over the supermarkets and we have found a few brands of cheese we are happy with, including Violife cheese.
Violife vegan alternative to cheese
Luckily, not long after we all became vegan, there was a new dairy-free cheese product in our local supermarket that caught my eye. Violife Original Flavour Slices which are 100% vegan were one of the first vegan cheese alternatives we purchased in the hope to fulfil that missing void in our lives!
The Original Flavour Slices were an instant hit. We melted it on our burgers, added it to our sandwiches, placed them on top of our vegan lasagna and even on toast. Yum! We loved how the slices behaved just like normal cheese when melted. A lovely tasty, gooey treat.
Soon after discovering the Violife Original Flavour Slices, we then came across the Original Flavour Grated and Block. This discovery helped us become more creative with our use of the product. The grated version has since become our daughter’s favourite as an addition to her marmite on toast, sprinkled on lentil or soy mince bolognese or to create a vegan version of cheesy beans on toast. Violife share lots of vegan recipes online for inspiration on their website, but we tend to use their cheese as we would have when we did eat dairy cheese. Read on to see how we easily use Violife cheeses alternatives as part of our everyday eating.
Violife Epic Mature is a staple in our fridge
We were however missing the strong flavours of mature cheddar. Myself and Victoria love the stronger flavours so when Violife released their Epic Mature we were excited to try it out. This has now become an essential purchase in our weekly food shop. It goes great in a number of recipes and also works as a quick snack. Epic mature cut into small cubes with pineapple chunks is one of Victoria’s favourites.
Pizzas. Let’s not forget about pizza.
These days, many restaurants and fast food establishments offer a vegan cheese alternative so we have plenty to choose from when we don’t want to cook. We do however love making our own homemade pizzas. It’s great to get the kids involved and we now have a huge variety of cheese alternatives available on the market. We sometimes have to look a little further than the local supermarket, but Violife offer well over 20 different cheese alternatives, including mozzarella alternatives! Each time we go to the supermarket the vegan cheese selection and range of Violife cheeses available seems to be growing which is great.
Health food stores, Holland and Barrett, local vegan shops and online vegan stores provide a wide selection of these products so we tend to shop around to get exactly what we want. We now make the most amazing pizzas with the kids with my favourite being the four ‘cheese’ pizza. Violife Epic Mature, Mozzarella Flavour, some Greek White and a few spots of Blu Block on a thin sourdough base topped with tomato sauce is absolutely divine.
Using Violife cheese alternatives as part of a light and healthy lunch
Salads. This is a healthy living blog after all, and whilst we do enjoy cheese alternatives in moderation, we do make sure we get our fill of salad most days.
The Violife selection also makes for a great addition to a salad. We tend to make a tasty salad for most lunchtime meals. To mix things up a little we tend to add slightly different toppings each time. Sometimes we’ll add vegan nuggets, other times we’ll add slices of avocado, but one of my favourites is a small ‘cheese’ selection or even some Violife grated on top of a salad to make a tasty vegan cheese salad. Delicious! We simply have shredded lettuce, spinach leaves, grated carrot, cucumber, tomatoes and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar with some grated Violife mixed in. Oh and some hoummous if we have some. Simple, healthy, refreshing and satisfying for a light lunch that won’t leave us bloated!
What is Violife vegan cheese made from?
The main two ingredients in the Violife selection are water and coconut oil. A far healthier alternative to dairy products. Not only does coconut oil help your body increase its energy expenditure, allowing you to burn more fat, but it can also help kill bacteria and viruses, helping your body fight off infections.
Another added benefit from Violife cheese alternatives is that they contain vitamin B12 which is essential for the creation of red blood cells and DNA in our bodies. It also plays a key part in the development of brain and nerve cells whilst helping to bind the protein in our food. Many people, not just vegans, can suffer from vitamin B12 deficiencies so this added supplement is a very welcome addition to one of our favourite foods.
Have you tried Violife vegan cheese alternative yet?
It’s probably important to note that Violife cheese, as well as many vegan kinds of cheese, won’t taste exactly like the dairy cheese you might be used to. However, you do get used to them! In fact, the thought of eating regular dairy cheese now is really offputting as we are so used to vegan cheese. Also, it’s just like dairy cheese in a way. There are so many types of animal cheeses that I highly doubt you’d like every single flavour and brand! It’s the same with vegan cheeses. There are many brands and different flavours and types available nowadays, it’s simply about finding the one that you like and giving it a few tries to see if your tastebuds adjust. Then, once they do, and once you’ve found the brand or flavour for you, you can be certain you are making a more planet-friendly and animal-friendly choice.
Looking for vegan recipe inspiration? Check out these posts: