Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Finally Try Daiya

So I am about a year late to all the foofarah over Daiya cheese, but better late than never, I suppose. On my recent trip to New York I purchased some Daiya and tried it out the other night. If you care, here are my thoughts. First, it is the best vegan cheese I have had. That being said, I am starting to wonder if I really care about vegan cheese anymore. Let's face it, it's not really cheese and even though it does have some stretchiness, it more goopy than stretchy. As you can see from the pic, I totally overdid it with the cheese. I should have just sprinkled it on sparingly rather than drowning the fresh zucchini, cherry tomatoes, onions, and basil from the garden. Still, if I could get it on a regular basis I would probably use it now and then, and I think it would go over well with non-vegan guests. My guess is that it would be pretty good in a lasagna, but that theory remains untested. I also have no delusions (as per the package) that this is some healthy cheese choice. Healthier than dairy cheese, I suppose, but it's still just salty fat. But, sometime I really like salty fat . . . .

59 comments:

Jenny said...

I hear everything you're saying. I really like pizza without cheese so there's probably no reason for adding it. Having said that, I LOVE Daiya. I think I like it on other things more than pizza - like nachos or enchiladas so maybe give that a try. I don't know why - it just seems better that way.

Ali - YumVeggieBurger said...

I just tried daiya for the first time too... I completely agree with your description of it as "more goopy than stretchy".

I waited for my pizza to cool a bit because the first bites were so messy (it's STICKY too!), thinking it would harden a bit like real cheese, but it was goopy until the last bite (although admittedly tasty!)

Elizabeth Holli said...

Amen! I finally tried this cheese a few months ago, and while it's good and I do use it sparingly...it's just fake cheese. In traditional cooking, cheese is used so often to mask the taste of ingredients that are rich with their own flavors. Daiya is ideal for, say, quesadillas (where cheese is what, as the name suggests, you're supposed to taste), but not to smother over veggies and vegan proteins that have their own delicious tastes!

Lee said...

Mmmmm, sometimes nothing but salty fat will do. I haven't tried it yet either. Your pizza looks great!

The Veggie Alchemist said...

Just wait till you try the new Teese vegan cheese. I think it trumps Daiya. It's more stretchy, less gooey & doesn't stick to the roof of your mouth. Either way I think vegans have it pretty good.

Daiya rocks in lasagna and enchiladas, by the way

JL Goes Vegan said...

I like salty fat sometimes, too :) I've tried it on salads and it doesn't do much for me. I did make a vegan burger, Daiya stuffed between two small patties, on the grill and I just have one word: YUM.

kimberly said...

I agree I am over finding a good cheese, I don't miss cheese anymore. But I have to say I like to use Daiya in mexican food bc it reminds me of sour cream, instead of cheese. It adds a nice creaminess to a burrito or taco. :-)

halpey1 said...

It works well on pizzas and nachos... I miss cheese desperately (sue me!) and it does the trick. :)

windycityvegan said...

I abhor vegan cheese, but finally tried Daiya a couple of months ago because I had to buy some for a recipe I was testing. It's the equivalent to Velveeta, in my opinion. It makes great grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas, when used sparingly. I don't think I'll ever put fake cheese on a pizza that I make myself, but I would eat one with Teese or Daiya if it was offered at a restaurant.

Corvus said...

That's sort of the way I feel. The longer I am away from cheese, the less I want it. The smell of real cheese makes me sick. But, I gotta admit, Daiya makes a good unhealthy vegan sausage pizza with the help of some mock meat when I am feeling like being tired the rest of the night ;-)

Meredith said...

thanks for the review. I have never been able to find it, but you are right, in the end it is just salty fat. There are so many other ways to make tasty food without fake cheeze :)

Sarah Star said...

I really like Daiya but it gives me a stomach ache and like you said, I could go without vegan cheese. I like to use vegan gourmet for lasagna and I think if I used Daiya instead I would be sick.

If you're visiting the Toronto area, you can buy it at Panacea at Bloor/Bathurst, they are an all vegan store! Not sure if you've heard of them or have been there yet, but it's an amazing store! :)

Vegan in Salem said...

I completely agree. When I first tried the mozzarella Daiya on pizza, I used way too much. It's much better used sparingly if at all. It seems as though I've gotten used to really tasting my food (a good thing) so I don't need to drown it with "cheese" or anything else. As far as the salty fat goes..oh yes, I do occasionally fantasize about making some traditional Mac n' Cheez with the Daiya...:-)

The Shenandoah Vegan said...

My sentiments exactly.

Rikki Cupcake said...

I know how you feel, I would rather just crumble up some tofu and put it on my pizza, but my boyfriend swears daiya is heavenly. We don't use it in our lasagna but I have thought of making an apple cheddar gelette with it. Maybe with the addition of the sweetness from the apples the daiya won't taste so weird?

Eiresicilia said...

My trick is to very barely smear some Tofutti cream cheese on the dough before topping with sauce & veggies. Use a little of the Daiya the last five minutes of baking. You'll get just the right touch of creamy taste without the gooey mess.

Amie said...

I think I'm finally in the "just skip the cheese" camp too. I'm not a huge fan of Daiya, to be honest. Maybe I am not preparing it correctly - who knows. Your pizza looks absolutely delicious though!

Chris said...

Well said. I've tried a lot of vegan cheeses lately and Daiya is good on a pizza but a cheeseless pizza with loads of fresh veggies is damn good too. I actually like the Sheese cheddar varieties better for other uses (like burritos), though it doesn't melt as well. For me it's mainly that vegan cheese is just too expensive for anything but occasional use.

Karoumy said...

I was excited to try Daiya in LA when I was there last year and also bought some here in Toronto when it became available. I made every kind of food possible with it: grilled cheese, nachos and quesadillas to name a few.

Like you, I realized it's not that healthy and eating a lot of it is probably not a good idea. I will still have it has a treat. There are a few restaurants that use it, but I won't buy it for the house.

M.E. said...

I have heard Daiya is amazing, but haven't tried it. My vegan friends from NY rave over it. I live out on the Great Plains and our access to vegan cheese is quite limited and quite overpriced. :( I've mostly just accepted that cheese is a thing of the past and I've survived! :)

dreaminitvegan said...

I have just recently tried Daiya as well and on pizza. Like you I also put to much on, now I know not so much. The only reason I tried it was do to my in-laws coming over but my family still prefers our dairy free and cheeseless pizza's. It will be a treat to have every once in a while and when those omnivores come to visit.

Red Icculus said...

Most vegan cheeses suck for burning or not melting. I was a vegetarian, but still love food that fits my tastes and needs. Daiya is one thing I really want to look into. Thanks for the post.

Emma said...

Agreed. There are so many delish things to make without any vegan cheeses. good to know there is a good kind out there so i can tell potential vegans that they can have a version of cheese when they go. Little do they know they wont want it anymore :)

yeaaahtoast said...

I had to laugh out loud at your assesment of Daiya, it is exactly the same mentality I have!
I can ready get it here in Los Angeles, but the romance quickly faded after I realized that I'm not that attracted to cheese substitues.
Don't get me wrong, when the craving comes, Daiya helps me through those dark hours, but they're fast becoming far and few between.
That being said, IT IS the best vegan cheese I've had, and your picture looks scrumptious! I've tried it with pasta and alfredo-type sauces, the consistency is great, but Daiya tastes VERY sweet to me so I can't stand too much of it period.

foodfeud said...

I'm totally with you on that one - I also have yet to try Daiya but don't really feel like I'm missing too much. Veganism is so much more fun when you use it to expand your palette and not just keep returning to close approximations of the unhealthy food we moved away from in the first place.
That being said, I also love your addendum - salty fat has it's place too. I'd rather sample Daiya at a pizza place rather than have it around my own house. I'd like to keep it as a "treat."

Lori said...

Thanks for the review. I just recently heard about this cheese. I live in the Chicago area and think I will be able to find it. I'm going to try it. Would be nice to have an alternative I could slap on my pizza when my sons have the real thing. :)

ceblakeney said...

We have it at a local Whole Foods now, so I tried it, and like it, and will continue to use it, but it's not the same as the cow derived stuff. That being said, it doesn't have to be. I'm not completely cow-cheese free yet, but it is rapidly fading into a less and less frequent desire. The top vegan cheese makers all say that their products are works in progress, and so I think it's fun just to go along for the ride and see where they end up. I really believe that eventually we'll get beyond thinking that animal-based cheeses are the standard, and welcome plant-based cheeses as the norm. It's all about the flavor for me (I don't even care about stretchiness for G's sake, long as it softens up a bit). Vegan cooks are fast becoming experts at complex, rich, and satisfying flavors, so raise a glass, comrades!

3bee17 said...

Some things just call for shredded "salty fat". My favorites are daiya and teese.

:)

Tamie said...

I just tried Daiya tonight for the first time. We ordered pizza from the local place and I ordered the veggie deluxe with no cheese. When it arrived, I put a layer of the Daiya on top and popped it under the broiler for a few minutes. It turned out so delicious, I was in heaven. I was never a big cheese eater before going vegan, but it's a must on pizza. It left me completely happy after 6 months of cheeseless pizza!
Tamie
http://tamiespears.vox.com

sk said...

We tried it on pizza and in lasagna but found it was almost too rich, we have gotten used to those foods without the cheese. After experimenting the only way we really enjoyed Daiya was on nachos done in the oven. It kind of bubbles up and gets a bit crispy and we really liked that!

pdw said...

We've made lasagna with it, for hubby's birthday. It's good, but i get it more for my boys than for me. They particularly like it on pasta.

VeggieAmanda said...

Diaya cheese readily available in stores and restaurants nearby. I like it in moderation. I notice that if I use more than a sprinkle in my food, I don't like it b/c it is goopy. It is nice for a treat, but not something we use as a staple in our diet.

miss vegan said...

It's actually really good in lasagnas. I've done a few different varieties of lasagnas with it and they have all turned out great. I'm also a fan of sprinkling it on pasta. However, I agree that it's not something that is needed all the time. I mean, we've survived this long without it after all.

corina said...

I also just tried Daiya this week and I agree with your assessment. It's the best vegan cheese I've had but I actually like my pizza naked.

Mama Motz said...

I totally agree! Although I loved cheese when I wasn't a vegan, I can honestly care less about it now. But every so often, when you get that urge to eat something really gooey and cheesy you know there is a good alternative. I just tried the cheddar one last night and it was really good, couldn't tell it wasn't real cheese!

Lindsay (Happy Herbivore) said...

waaaaaaait. you were here and you didnt come say hi. I'm mad at you.

jremps said...

I recently tried this cheese as well, at a Vegan Pizza Party though!
http://jremps.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/vegan-pizza-party/

I've yet to cook with it but I think I might try some in the future as a treat.

Dan said...

Yes, daiya is strangely close to the texture of real cheese. I've found it works & tastes the best with 1). grilled cheese (american classic) 2). baked ziti (similar to your lasagna theory).

Btw, love your blog. I've gotten so many recipes from here- thanks & keep up the great work!

ylastima said...

I felt the same way when I first tried Daiya a month or so ago. I felt like I was the last vegan to try it, even though it is the best, I feel like I am really over caring if my pizza or whatever else has cheese on it. I also over did it on a homemade pizza, I rather have no cheese and tons of veggies.

Alex said...

My vegan GF loves Daiya cheese, and we make pizzas and grilled cheese sandwiches with it all time. I'm about to make one right now, they are pretty good. I've never seen it become "goopy".

caitlinketuri said...

I love Daiya! I first tried it on pizza and it was awesome. Then my friends and I used it in a lasagna, and your predictions are correct: it was so great. However, we just tried it on pizza again and it was too much. I think there was just too much...also there were some pretty salty olives on said pizza, so perhaps it was just too much salt for one pizza. I also agree, it is pretty goopy. It melts probably the best that I've seen, but still leaves a little to be desired.

I also thought that, straight out of the bag, the mozzarella tasted a little bit more like what Parmesan tastes (tasted?) like. Anyone else? I haven't tried the cheddar yet.

Christine said...

My favorite is to make a Mexican casserole with it. My grocery store here has some amazing veggie Chorizo, which I layer with rice, beans, corn, salsa, and Daiya cheese. It's flat-out amazing.

Brandie said...

I so agree that it's the best vegan cheese! (disclaimer: I haven't tried Teese?, so can't say about that one)

It's awesome on pizza - I ordered a cheeseless pizza from a local delivery and then tried it with Daiya and broiler too! I was very pleased ;) I haven't tried it with lasagna, but it does make a mean quesadilla too!

I try not to keep it in the house ALL the time, though our local Whole Foods has it and it's not TOO expensive, because I find that I keep coming up with excuses to make little pizzas ;)

*cheers* to the salty Daiya fat ;)

Jimi Conqueror said...

I'm from the UK and we don't have Daiya here yet so I was excited to try it on holiday in NYC this week. I had it on the chick pea tuna melt from Terri and I was impressed. Would definitely recommend it in this sandwich combo.

Nym said...

i'll throw some more noise into the echo chamber. katie and i have tried some fake cheeses now and again since she's one of those "i couldn't give up cheese" people...but it's never been great. i no longer miss cheese. it's more a rare treat when i get to enjoy some of my parents' homemade goat cheese...however, it's nothing i'd ever spend money on. blended soaked cashew ricotta FTW

Carrie™ said...

When I first saw this post I got excited thinking Daiya was finally in Ontario. But sadly, I see you got it in the US. I'm heading over soon to do some shopping, and Daiya is already on my list.
Would turning on the broiler for a few minutes after the pizza is finished baking help the goopiness in any way?

said...

財富並非永遠的朋友,但朋友卻是永遠的財富。......................................................................

Kiersten said...

I just tried Daiya for the first time too. I made pizza. I really liked it! I thought it was way better than any other vegan cheese I've tried before.

tweal said...

I had the exact same thoughts about Daiya. I will eat dairy cheese occasionally, so I am a tough critic for vegan cheese, and while Daiya is better than most it still tastes very fake. I would beg to differ about satisfying non-vegans, as I find Daiya has that tell-tale fake cheese sweetness. But like you said, it can be ok in some instances - I enjoyed it in a black bean quesadilla. And who doesn't love salty fat once in a while?

Kate said...

Yeah I totally agree. Although we don't have Daiya here in Australia, I don't like most vegan cheeses so I think I would be happier to just do without. Lower fat too, bonus :D

Vegan Valerie said...

It's really quite amazing--one CAN live without cheese, dairy variety or otherwise!

I remember giving up dairy cheese four years ago... I didn't know if I could do it. But now, I hardly ever think about cheese. Even the vegan brands, (which ARE delicious) don't tempt me most any day. It is truly amazing!

I like this post a lot, Vegan Dad; you make some good observations. Daiya is yummy, I heartily agree. But it's not a mealtime staple by any means. Not for me, anyway. Although, I think your pizza looks delicious! :)

catnip said...

Using too much is easy to do with Daiya. That said, it is amazing melted on an english muffin with sliced tomato, or in a garlicky spinach quesadilla. You want to use maybe half what you would use of dairy cheese, 8 ounces is enough for a 14 inch pizza, 1.5 is enough for a decadent quesadilla.

I just try to remember to treat it like margarine or mayonnaise, a condiment, not a food.

vegansunshine said...

Daiya is amazing. I really like it melted over a bowl of bean chili or in stir fry.

caitlin! said...

I just got Daiya in Winnipeg, Canada. This is the best vegan cheese I've ever had, so I totally agree. I've just been used to not having cheese on things because of the veganism while eating at restaurants. That being said.. I could absolutely get used to eating Daiya regularly. ;)

Sister Disaster said...

Here in Ottawa we carry it at the health food store where I work. I really prefer the Mozzarella flavour over the cheddar, as I find the cheddar flavour too sweet. I have made grilled cheese, tomato & Basil sandwiches, nachos, quesadillas, Lasagna, pizza, mac & cheese, cheeseburgers, you name it. And,as has been mentioned, a sprinkle will do, rather than a fist full.

VegMama said...

I have found Daiya to be less goopy in a bread rather than as a topping. In a cheddar biscuit or pizza bread recipe it works quite well.

I still wouldn't use it everyday.

VegMama said...

I have found Daiya works better in a bread recipe rather than as a topping. I have used it for cheddar biscuits and pizza bread and found it very tasty and not goopy.

I still wouldn't use it everyday.

Nezumi said...

Well, I'm late but tried it (cheddar one) for the first time last month... I LOVE it on lasagnas and in a "cheeseburger" ...

But I will continue to use unisoya which seems less salty and fat, and will use daiya when I'll be REALLY craving for "vegan-but-still-not-healty" food... I'll probably try it over pastas or onion soup next time...

Nezumi said...

AND by the way... that "Teese" cheese looks fabulous... It's a shame we can't get any here... we JUST had daiya for the first time in the city in a small shop... I'm sure the Teese one is delicious and maybe more "cheese-like" than daiya.