Have you ever tried vegan cheese? It’s disgusting! Well, that’s my experience of it so far anyway. The vegan cheese I’ve tried in the past has physically made me retch. It smells, it tastes either totally bland or sour and ‘off’, and the texture is downright dodgy.
Let me start this off by stating that I am not vegan. However, part of my job as a blogger is to try out products which are suited to my audience. Plus I’m not averse to a bit of plant based action every now and again and I’m always intrigued as to how the vegan ‘alternatives’ compare to the non-vegan products.
I was recently sent two products from the Follow My Heart range – Medium Cheddar Style Slices and Organic Garlic Aioli Vegenaise (that’s garlic flavoured vegan mayo if you hadn’t figured it out) – and so with an admittedly cynical opinion I set about taste testing them.
Each pack contains 10 slices of ‘cheese’ that look exactly like those ones you get in the supermarket for bunging on top of a burger. You know, all artificial yellow and plasticky looking. Vegan cheese tends to have a plastic appearance and texture and whilst there’s no denying these cheese slices look as though they contain more plastic than Katie Price, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste.
They have an almost onion like taste to them, in fact I was really surprised to discover there was no onion powder listed in the ingredients they tasted of it so much, and I can only guess that this flavour comes from the yeast extract in them. But the taste is surprisingly pleasant and because of my past experience with vegan cheese I was really impressed. I’d even go so far as to say that they trump even the bog standard non-vegan cheese slices in terms of taste and so regardless of whether you’re vegan or not these are definitely worth a try next time you’re looking to purchase cheese of this nature.
But let’s not kid ourselves here, if you’re a cheese snob then these just ain’t gonna cut it, but if you’re a vegan who has desperately been missing the taste of cheese and you’re looking for something to inject some cheesiness back into your meals then I reckon these are definitely for you. The ‘cheese’ slices are vegan, gluten free, soy free, lactose free, casein free, dairy free, kosher and at just 58 calories per slice it’s a fairly low calorie option to get a strong cheese fix.
I’m not sure I’d got out of my way to eat them on their own, but they are brilliant for cooking with. I’ve used them in my Vegan Cheese Falafel Recipe as a hidden melted cheese centre and they are literally to die for, or popped on top of a beanburger or even used as a cheesy layer in a veggie lasagne, these Follow Your Heart Medium Cheddar Style Slices are well worth adding to your next shopping list.
The Cheddar Style Slices can be bought from Ocado, Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, The Vegan Kind and other natural food stores along with the complete Follow Your Heart range of sliced and shredded vegan cheese selection.
Aioli is one of my all time favourite dips and so this vegan version from Follow Your Heart had a lot to live up to. But disappoint it did not. Creamy, rich and with a subtle garlic taste – garlicky enough to taste but not so much you’ll scare the vampires away – it also had a lovely texture that isn’t too runny and isn’t too gloopy. Like the cheddar style slices I was really impressed by it and I reckon if you were to put a spoonful of this vegan aioli next to a standard egg based aioli you honestly wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Follow Your Heart’s Garlic Aioli Vegenaise is egg free, cholesterol free, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and only 80 calories per tablespoon which also isn’t too bad. Plus because of it’s rich creamy taste you really don’t need too much of it. It tastes great as a side dip to falafel, veggie sticks, toasted pitta etc. or used as a spread in a sandwich or veggie burger bun.
The Garlic Aioli Vegenaise is stocked in Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barrett and Ocado and is also available in a few different flavours.
*products gifted for review