I Loved Cheese Once

By Faith Gonia

I loved cheese once. 

Grilled cheese, mac n’ cheese, quesadillas—you name it. Cheese was once a cherished staple to my everyday diet. 

And then, tragically, a dairy-lover’s worst fear entered my world: lactose intolerance.

But wait! Have no fear! I discovered a world of alternatives, and you can too! If you find yourself in the same boat as me, you mustn’t abandon your adoration for cheddar, mozzarella, or even cream cheese. You simply must be willing to try plant-based options!

I ventured to Trader Joe’s to purchase and try three economical, vegan options for cheese you can spread on bagels, melt on bread, and layer in sandwiches:

  1. Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative

Even though this spread is composed of coconut oil, potato starch, and chickpeas, I’d line it right up with that of globally-loved animal products from Clover or Organic Valley. Goodbye milk and cream, hello plant-based protein! If you are a die-hard Philadelphia fan, you might have trouble adjusting to the slightly dry texture. Regardless, I highly recommend it!

  1. Trader Joe’s Dairy Free Mozzarella Style Shreds

Made with cashews, these shreds are identical in looks and taste to your favorite mozzarella. I sprinkled it between two slices of wheat bread, threw it on a pan, and prepared the most gooey, crispy grilled cheese I had ever tasted. By the third bite, I had forgotten I was not eating real cheese! 

  1. Trader Joe’s Dairy Free Cheddar Style Slices 

Alike to the ingredients of the Mozzarella, the Cheddar Style Slices use a cashew base rather than cow’s milk. While the texture might throw you off, the taste sure won’t! I would have no problem using this on my daily sandwiches.