I reckon the next oft-uttered claim thrown at vegans after “I couldn’t live without bacon” has got to be “I could never give up cheese.” This dramatic declaration regularly comes from the vegetarian crowd — I know because I used to be a dairy disciple too.
In all the years I was a vegetarian I considered taking the next step — giving up dairy and eggs and going vegan — unnecessary and frightening. Why would I restrict my diet even further and give up more foods I loved when no one was getting hurt? Isn’t it natural for cows to produce milk? I had no idea the dairy industry was inflicting immense pain and suffering on the very animals I thought I was protecting by not eating them.
Once my ignorance was snuffed out with heartbreaking images of terrified bobby calves and horror stories of cruelty in the industry, my beloved cheese platter feasts felt gluttonous and hypocritical. I ditched the dairy and never looked back.
But what about the flavour that dairy adds to dishes? Butter, cream, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream are considered major players in a cook’s flavour armoury. Fat is flavour, as they say in restaurant kitchens. But what non vegans don’t understand is that we have all of those ingredients available to us: we have cruelty-free versions to boost our dishes and we don’t have to burden our bodies with fat while we’re doing it either.
We have heavenly, creamy yoghurts; dreamy dark, milk and even white chocolates; buttery baked goods; a million kinds of milk to choose from including condensed; double thick and whipped creams; and treasured tubs of ice cream that are so velvety and so rich they could nurse you through any kind of breakup. And not a precious soul was exploited to bring them into creation.
Most importantly for me is the abundance of cruelty-free cheese out there. There are already cheeses that melt, slice and shred and there are new and improved recipes and products on the market every year that are getting closer and closer to the taste and texture that we love to smother our pizzas, nachos and pastas in.
This month The Vegan Box delivered us a dairy alternative that needs zero improvement. The Vegan Cheezy Sauce from the wonderful Bed and Broccoli team is to die for! It’s cruelty-free, gluten-free and full of flavour. It is very quick and easy to make and each sachet gives you a generous amount of creamy cheezy sauce. You need nothing more that a cup of water and a whisk and hey presto, dairy-free delectable sauce to bump any dish up a few flavour notches.
- Bake your favourite love loaf and smother a side of steamed cauliflower and broccoli in the sauce (as pictured).
- Swap out the béchamel sauce in a lasagne recipe with this creamy goodness
- Add to pasta to make a delicious Alfredo
- Top a steaming jacket potato in cheezy sauce and sprinkle with chives and Kinda Bacon
- Pour on top of a veggie casserole or potato bake
- Make your moussaka next level by using vegie-mince and cheezy sauce
Emma Bailie is a freelance journalist, vegan blogger and travel-memoir writer. She is passionate about animal rights, social justice and the inner peace that can be found when dining on the tragically misrepresented potato. She has to read magazines back to front but she doesn’t quite know why. She prefers her hot chips cold but that’s just between you and her, okay?