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05/13/2014

The 6 Best New Vegan Cheeses You Can’t Miss!  »

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Yes yes, you already know that the world of vegan cheese is wider and more beautiful than it’s ever been before. You’ve got your Daiya in all its myriad incarnations, your nachos are automatically slathered in Teese, your fancy dinner guests demand Kite Hill, and you’re scheduling a trip to NYC to celebrate the opening of the Dr. Cow storefront. In our current times of cheese wealth, how could things possibly get any better, you ask? Why, with more cheeses, of course! Here are a few newcomer brands ready to be shoveled into your gob.

Parmela

You already know Parmela from the very delicious Parmesean-style topping that’s likely been all over your pasta dishes for the last year. The three new spreads—in Kalamata Olive, Black Pepper, and Original flavors—from Parmela are just as rich and umami-packed as their predecessor. Try mixing a dollop of the Black Pepper onto pasta with veggies for a nearly instant and slightly spicy Alfredo.

S+M Vegan Cream Cheese

This one’s a bit of a tease (NY readers, avert your eyes!) since S+M Vegan’s cream cheese is only carried in the Bay Area so far at Republic of V in Berkeley. But, with top-notch ingredients and constant features in drool-inducing photos on S+M’s Facebook page, this bagel-topper might be worth a trip to the East Bay (from wherever you happen to be).

Miyoko’s Kitchen

Remember that time that Artisan Vegan Cheese came out and we all lost our collective minds? It’s happening again. Miyoko Schinner is taking every single away from not having her cheeses in permanent rotation in your fridge by launching a brand new company this summer. Consider the hive appetites whetted. (Creepiest way to say that I’d like to eat this cheese? Maybe!)

Ahimsa Organics

This artisan offering comes from Portland, OR, where it debuted in a pop-up shop at Herbivore Clothing Company, which is to say that it had a super auspicious launch. With offerings including Truffled Brie, IPA, and White Cheddar, Ahimsa is certainly not harming my desire to eat cheese! (Vegan jokes! The best ones!)

SunRawise

Who could have imagined five years ago that so many incarnations of aged nut cheeses were on the horizon? The Vegan Sun line comes in seven flavors including Rosemary, Italian Herbs, and Smoke & Spicy, these small wheels keep on turnin’ (us on to the idea of eating more cheese).

Vtopian Artisan Cheeses (pictured above!)

Oh, so you want fancy fillings in your fancy cheeses? Well fine then! Vtopian might be the most ambitious cheese-makers of the new crop, as their cheddars and bries come stuffed and flavored and topped. Peppercorn brie? Spicy white cheddar? Don’t mind if I do and then do again and again until all the cheeses are in my belly.

Elizabeth Castoria is a vegan cheese enthusiast and the author of How to Be Vegan. Find more at elizabethcastoria.com and follow @ecastoria on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

05/12/2014

How to Be Vegan is THE handbook for vegan living! Plus: sneak peek recipe!  »

Elizabeth Castoria, former editorial director of VegNews, has the book to give anyone who’s ever asked you, “How can I be vegan?” (Or just give it to everyone as the most blatant hint ever!) Seriously, How to Be Vegan covers EVERYTHING!! Details on vegan foods to buy? Yep. Delicious recipes? Duh. Travel tips? You betcha. Holiday gift-giving guide? Of course. Dating advice? Check. You want flow charts? Got ‘em. My favorite chapter, however, is on MANNERS. This should be required reading for every vegan (um, and human), regardless of how long they’ve been on this path.

BONUS! Because we love you guys, here’s an awesome-looking recipe from her book(posted with permission!): 

Spinach-Tomato Frittata 
Serves 4

If you thought eggy dishes like frittatas were off the menu without eggs, think again. Tofu is a great substitute for eggs. Use this recipe as a base and customize according to the seasons or your favorite veggies.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 14-ounce package firm tofu, drained and pressed (see Note)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (see Note, page 000)
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1∕3 cup oil-packed or reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a deep 9- to 10-inch pie plate or a shallow baking dish and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 

3. Add the spinach and basil and cook until the spinach is tender and any liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer the spinach mixture to a food processor. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and process until smooth. 

5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pie plate. Mix in the sun-dried tomatoes and spread the mixture evenly, smoothing the top. Bake for about 45 minutes, until firm and golden brown. Serve hot.

Note: To press tofu, drain it well, wrap the tofu block in a clean kitchen towel, then place it in a rimmed baking pan and top with another baking pan or a cutting board, along with some canned goods to add weight. Set aside for about 30 minutes, then unwrap the tofu. It will be firmer and ready to use in recipes.

You can buy the book at a number of places, including Herbivore!

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