France has been synonymous with cheese for centuries. So, with that in mind, it’s no surprise that the cheese grater was invented by a Frenchman. In the 1540s, the contraption (which, of course, would turn cheese into shreds) was designed by François Boullier in order to help families get more out of their food budgets. After all, grating cheese meant that the ingredient went further and lasted longer.
Over the years, there have been various improvements to the cheese grater (needless to say, the one in your kitchen likely looks nothing like Boullier’s initial invention). But thanks to the world of ultra-convenience-focused foods, you don’t even really need one anymore (sorry, Boullier), because packaged shredded cheese exists. Yes, even in vegan form. In fact, all of the vegan versions on the market offer maximum convenience, versatility, and taste. But which ones are the best? Let’s investigate.
What is vegan shredded cheese?
Vegan shredded cheese is just like regular vegan cheese, only instead of a block, it comes pre-grated in a packet. Most vegan shredded cheeses on the market are dairy-free versions of mozzarella, cheddar, or extra mature cheddar, and they’re often made with ingredients like soy, nuts, and coconut oil.
How does vegan shredded cheese taste?
In the past, vegan cheese hasn’t always had the best reputation. But thankfully, in the last few years, the industry has progressed significantly. Due to innovation in the vegan cheese market, products (including shredded cheeses) are starting to taste closer to the real thing than ever before. Only they’re better for the planet, the animals, and us too. (You can find out more about cheese alternatives and why vegans don’t eat dairy cheese here.)
Does vegan shredded cheese melt?
Again, thanks to innovation in the food industry, vegan cheese products don’t just look and taste like the real thing, but they also melt like it too—which is great news for vegan pizza-, grilled cheese-, and pasta-lovers everywhere. You can get the same melty goodness, without having to go anywhere near animal products. It’s a win-win.
Best vegan shredded cheese brands
The vegan cheese market is growing fast. In November 2022, experts predicted it would hit a global value of more than $4.7 billion in the next two years. The key reason for this growth is demand, but also a better quality of products on offer. As the options improve, more people are moving away from animal products and, instead, deciding to buy their plant-based alternatives, and shredded cheese is no different. But which one should you put in your cart next time you’re in the grocery store? Well, to help you decide, we’ve put together this list of some of the best products on the market.
Greek brand Violife has been on the vegan food scene since the ’90s. And, over the years, it has developed a range of products that truly look, cook, taste, and melt just like their cow-derived counterparts. Alongside blocks of Greek White (developed to taste like feta, of course), Mediterranean Style, and Smoked, the brand offers three different types of vegan shredded cheese: Tex-Mex (which is seasoned with paprika, cumin, and cayenne), Original (more of a mild, cheddar-style taste), and finally, Mozzarella. So fire up the pizza oven!
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Arguably, Canadian vegan brand Daiya has one of the biggest ranges of vegan shredded cheese products on the market. It offers everything from Parmesan to Italian to Mexican to Spicy Monterey Jack, all of which are the perfect accompaniment to pasta (we’re thinking macaroni), fajitas, quesadillas, pizzas, and more. As well as shreds, the brand also offers a range of vegan cheese slices, sticks, sauces, and blocks, among pre-made cheesy products, like burritos and cheesecake.
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3 Follow Your Heart
Follow Your Heart has come a long way since the 1970s when it started out as a small restaurant in California’s Canoga Park. Over the decades, it has grown into one of the most popular vegan brands in the country. In 2021, it was even acquired by the French food giant Danone. As well as its signature Vegenaise and American slices, it also offers several different vegan shredded cheese options. Choose from Cheddar (original or finely shredded), Mozzarella (original or finely shredded), and Italian Blend.
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4 Field Roast/Chao
Field Roast is known for its diverse range of vegan meat products, but the brand also carries several vegan cheese products under the name Chao Creamery. Products include Mac ‘n Chao, Chao Queso, Smoked Original Chao Slices, and two shredded options: Creamy Original Chao Shreds and Mexican Style Blend Chao Shreds.
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5 So Delicious
When you think of So Delicious, milk or ice cream are likely the first products that come to mind. But the brand isn’t limited to just one dairy-free category. It also offers a number of different vegan cheese products, including Mexican Style Shreds, Cheddar Style Shreds, and Mozzarella Style Shreds. The latter is ideal for sprinkling over pasta or mixing it into the sauce to get that really creamy, rich, indulgent texture.
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6 Parmela Creamery
Right now, Parmela Creamery offers three products: Plant-Based Mozzarella shreds, Plant-Based Fiery Jack, and Plant-Based Sharp Cheddar slices. Each one is made using a traditional aging and culturing process, inspired by real cheesemakers. This ensures that the brand’s vegan cheeses develop a rich and realistic flavor profile that is so like real cheese, you’ll never crave the real thing again.
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Ways to use vegan shredded cheese
Once you’ve found the right vegan shredded cheese for you, it’s time for the most important part: eating. Just like with the real thing, there are many ways to enjoy vegan shredded cheese. Sprinkle it on pasta, bake it on lasagna, add it to pizza, pop some in your fajita, burger, or hot dog bun, or simply enjoy it in a sandwich. (Let’s be honest, there aren’t many recipes that couldn’t benefit from a light sprinkle of vegan shredded cheese.)