Daiya Cheese Substitute Review

daiya-cheese-shreds

Daiya Dairy Free Cheese

daiya cheese productsOne fun thing about attending a lot of food shows is that you can find things you weren't even looking for. During a recent trip to a commercial food products show we stumbled across this dairy free cheese product. On a side note, I'm not vegan, not even vegetarian, nor do I have any gluten tolerance problems but the product caught my eye nevertheless. To be honest many of the soy-based cheese products I've tasted are pretty bad and something I would not buy unless I absolutely had no other choices. This product caught my eye because it is made predominantly from tapioca starch and the sample they offered tasted pretty good.

Ingredients

Filtered water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, vegan natural flavours, lactic acid (vegan, for flavor), spices, garlic, titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral).

That's not a bad ingredient list, all in all. I have read some vegans take issue with the coconut oil but that is a "green issue" not a nutrition issue.

Not Just For Vegans

Clearly a cheese-substitute product may be of interest to vegetarians and vegans but there are other reasons to supplement a diet with this type of product.
  • Cut down on cholesterol
  • Reduce hormone intake from dairy and soy products
  • Reduce saturated fat
  • Calorie reduction (small)
  • Gluten Free

Comparison: Cheese Vs Daiya 1 oz. Serving

Product Calories Fat Calories Total Fat Sat. Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carb
Pepper Jack Cheese 110 80 9 6 35 190 1
Daiya Shreds 90 54 6 2 0 300 7

On the downside, the Daiya product does have quite a bit more sodium than typical cheese and a few more grams of carbohydrate. This may or may not be worth the trade off depending on your dietary needs.

How To Use Daiya Cheese

In addition to shreds, the cheese substitute comes in wedges suitable for slicing. The product can be eaten raw or melted in any variety of ways. Use in sandwiches, wraps, and tacos or use to melt over vegetables or top a casserole. In general, you can substitute the product, ounce for ounce in any recipe that calls for cheese.

The Daiya Foods website overs a nice variety of recipes to to try.

Our Taste Test

Daiya Pepperjack Shreds on a lightly grilled corn tortilla.daiya cheese shreds on a tortilla

Raw, the shreds don't look bad but when heated, I have to admit they did taste better than they looked. When the shreds are heated the oil tends to separate out. In reality we folded over the tortilla, taco-style, so no one (but us) saw the kind of gooey looking cheese. The cheese itself is a little bland but the pepperjack spices helped a lot. This simple quesadilla really tasted pretty good. The warmed cheese has the texture of cream cheese. Certainly if you have dietary restrictions this is pretty decent tasting cheese-alternative and I think even if you just want to cut back on dairy it is a good choice.  

About The Company

The company is located in Vancouver, BC. According to the website the "In Sanskrit, Dayaa means "loving, kindness and compassion". In the spirit of the name, the company creates animal-free products for the vegan community.

Visit Daiya Foods for more vegan recipes that feature Daiya cheese.

author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.