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Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds

TD_VegCheese2I wish I had a sample of Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds when I had done my vegan cheese taste test last May. It is definitely different from any that I tried.

I used it on a pizza, making my super easy crust from the Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Uncooked, the shreds are a lot like a Parmesan, just a little dry and tough but a fine flavor. In the super hot oven, they melted and bubbled up in a visually pleasing way.

This vegan cheese melted and spread a lot more differently than any other vegan cheese shredded product. I allowed the pizza to stand a few minutes as you would a dairy cheesed pizza. The cooked Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds looked a little glossy and when I touched it it was pliant and stringy in a gooey sort of way.

The mouth feel was a bit pasty and stuck to the roof of my mouth and teeth. Unlike Daiya shreds, it left a starchy coating but its flavor was superior. It was not a mellow mozzarella flavor but more like a melted American Cheese or mild Cheddar. If you think of Daiya as a little rubbery, Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds cook up a little pasty.

I think the Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds has a superior flavor but I wouldn’t use it in every recipe where you would want a vegan Mozzarella. It was fine on the pizza but think it would do better replacing a soft queso.TD_VegCheese1

Vegan Cheeses to Daiya for, Please Teese Me

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Vegan Cheeses to Daiya for, Please Teese Me

I know I have been hammering it home about the pronunciation of Daiya. I took the liberty of having a pun in the title of this blog using it wrongly. Would you forgive me if I had entitled it Live and Let Daiya? The wrong pronunciation offers so many more possibilities.

Another favorite topic of mine lately has been the wonders of shopping through Spencer’s Vegan Market. I was so skeptical about hidden charges or too many e-mails before signing up. I have to say I look forward to the roughly once a week e-mail offer of vegan treats, pantry staples and snacks. This is where I got my sampler of Teese to compare as a vegan cheese for this post. Please check out Spencer’s, if you sign up via my reference link I get free shipping on my next item!

On to the vegan cheeses! The Teese sampler was a lot of fun. We used the styles over nachos, manicotti, macaroni, in a grilled cheese sandwich and on a sampler plate alongside the new…

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Daiya Wedges! We found them when shopping at Everything Under the Sun in Altoona. Altoona may have little to offer vegetarians and vegans but it was great to be able to purchase all three selections of the wedges.

Final evaluation of all of the products:
Teese
Nacho Sauce – It was odd extracting it from the tube and although the remainder can be refrigerated it really requires a separate container. The flavor was mildly spicy and tangy. It wasn’t a bad consistency at all when heated if you don’t mind a Velveeta texture. As a sauce, I still think we prefer the Food for Lovers Queso and can get that locally at Wegman’s.

Vegan Mac ‘n’ Teese

Creamy Cheddar Sauce – The samples actually came with about a cup of packaged macaroni to cook up with each tube of the Cheddar Sauce. I thought it looked like way too much cheese for the amount of macaroni but it was fine. Again with the Velveeta texture and for being low-fat it sure left a greasy texture on my lips. I wouldn’t be sorry to be served this as vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, a comfort food and the memories it brings are important. Those memories, however, are probably not of times when I was eating all that healthfully.

Mozzarella – This was a cheese replicant that was obviously much more firm than either of the 2 above mentioned sauces. When I cut into the tube-like packaging, a little gush of watery liquid escaped just like a real mozzarella might be packaged. The scent was initially reminiscent of feta cheese but the flavor was quite mild. We tried this in 1/4″ slices and baked it with manicotti since the package stated it “melts and stretches.” It did neither at this thickness. Shredded over baked potatoes yielded better results bit it was still more resistant to melting than Daiya Shreds. Eaten on its own on the cheese platter, this was our least favorite of the 5 choices. It was bland and left a bit of a starchy, chalky texture upon chewing it. I would say this is just a little better than Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella, my least favorite vegan cheese.

Cheddar – This has a little more flavor than the mozzarella but was also not a nibble of choice from the cheese platter. It too left a chalky texture when eaten on its own and it got shnubbed by our cat when we offered him a taste. On a grilled cheese, I sliced the Cheddar Teese much more thinly than the mozzarella on the manicotti. It did melt a bit in the griddle heated sandwich. The outer edges were firm but deep inside the hot sandwich it melted to a pretty decent consistency. The flavor was fine but, like the mozzarella, it never really stretched as the label promised.

Daiya Wedges

Cheddar – Putting the cheddars one right after the other is my intent but keep the last description in your mind for a moment while I speak about the Daiya Wedges as a product. They come in resealable containers that state the left overs can be refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. They don’t reseal all that well. Another issue I recently learned about the wedges is that they contain palm oil, which is a huge environmental issue; you can google it if you are interested.

The Cheddar Wedges flavor, compared to the above grilled Cheddar Teese, was much better but you will want to keep the wedge sliced thinly (1/8″). Too much of a good thing can sometimes be gross. On the vegan cheese platter, the texture was that of a very soft, almost spreadable cheese. If it is allowed to warm at all, it can be a little difficult to get out of the container. The texture and flavor of 1/2″ cube was very nice on its own or dipped in agave mustard.

Daiya Cheddar, Jack, Jalapeno Garlic Havarti wedges.

Jack – Other than Jack Wedges being white, Daiya Wedges Cheddar’s orange, the they are identical in texture, flavor and melt-ability. It would make a nice grilled cheese and color contrast on a vegan cheese platter. I will mention here that the cat did NOT shnub the Daiya Wedge piece we offered him.

Jalapeno Garlic Havarti – All of the Daiya Wedges were favored on the cheese platter but this flavor was tops! The texture, how it melted on a vegan burger, how it cut and came out of the container was identical to the other wedge products but the zippy garlic flavor made it outstanding. It and the cheddar would be the two I would suggest purchasing if you want the most two diverse colors and flavors.

This vegan cheese taste test chooses:
Daiya Wedges over any of the Teese firm cheese products, especially when eaten cold on thier own.
Daiya Shreds over any vegan cheese that you need shredded.
Queso over the Teese Nacho Sauce.
Teese Cheddar Sauce over having to make a blend of any vegan cheese in a white sauce.
Teese Mozzarella over Vegan Gourmet for anything requiring a piece of mozzarella larger than a shred.

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