Daiya Cheezy Mac

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

When we saw this easy-to-prepare Daiya Cheezy Mac on sale at the local grocery, we couldn’t resist.

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This mac-and-cheese is so easy, in part, because it doesn’t require any vegan butter or plant milks to prepare — all you need is in the box.

And, for anyone with food sensitivities, this product is not only vegan but gluten and soy free. The pasta (be careful not to overcook; it takes only 8 minutes!) is nice and chewy, not rubbery as many gluten-free pastas can be.

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And the cheese sauce is thick, cheesy,  rich, and has a sharp-cheddar taste — but it has a slightly chemical smell and flavor as well. (This should probably be expected of something that comes in a foil package.)

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Obviously, nothing comes close to good, homemade vegan mac-and-cheese (and Miyoko’s cheesy cheddar sauce tastes a lot more fresh), but this is pretty good, and insanely convenient, if you must have a packaged variety. And the fact that all the ingredients are in this little box and that it takes about 10 minutes to prepare, start to finish, makes it a good product to keep handy.

Heidi Ho Creamy Chia Cheeze

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

While we didn’t love Heidi Ho’s Smoky Chia Cheeze, we thought we’d try the creamy version.

HeidiHo1We found this to be very much the same — not very cheeselike in texture, but it had a very nice flavor.

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Because the label says this cheese sauce can be served hot or cold, we tried it cold this time — and it was spreadable but a little clammy. So we’d definitely recommend heating it. It’s not quite creamy enough for a satisfying mac-and-cheese, but it would make a nice heated dip.

Miyoko’s Sharp Cheddar-Style Cheese Sauce

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

Here’s the thing about the very best Miyoko’s cheeses: You have to act fast. And when we learned that Miyoko’s had a new cheese sauce, we did just that. (It was then sold out for a while, and now it’s back! So…act fast.)

This Sharp Cheddar-Style Cheese Sauce is phenomenal. While many plant-based folks make homemade cheese sauce that is very good, I’m not among them, and, until recently, I had yet to find a truly incredible cheesy sauce that requires nothing more than pouring it over pasta to make a delicious meal.

But now, there’s this:

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As with other Miyoko’s cheeses, this ships in two days via FedEx, and it comes in smallish containers (one meal, basically, for no more than a pound of pasta, and less if you want it to be super cheesy).

IMG_4514Because it’s cashew-based, the ingredients separate a bit, so you have to give it a good stir, then heat it over the stove until it gets thick and creamy — about 10 minutes or so.

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The result is a beautiful, thick, cheesy sauce that is perfect for pasta shells. And, just for a little variety, we also tried it with macaroni, which was equally delicious.

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As many vegan cheese lovers know, consistency is among the toughest things to perfect when it comes to plant-based cheeses, but Miyoko’s nails it. And this sauce also has the sharp, cheddary flavor of any classic mac-and-cheese recipe.

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Don’t forget to ask your local retailers about carrying Miyoko’s cheeses … we are thrilled to see them in no fewer than four of our local stores, and counting, in many different flavors. But ordering online has its benefits, too — Mikoyo’s donates 1% of its online sales to an animal rights/vegan nonprofit.

 

 

 

Heidi Ho Smoky Chia

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

After trying Heidi Ho’s Ne Chevre, we were looking forward to sampling the melty cheeses that Heidi Ho seems best known for. The first one we’ve had the opportunity to try was the Smoky Chia Cheeze, which was available at the local food co-op.

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The nice thing about this cheese is that its ingredients are few and mostly organic. This version is advertised on the Heidi Ho website as a base for pizza, as well as for artichoke dip, au gratin potatoes, or fettuccine alfredo.

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Yet the cheese wasn’t as creamy as we’d hoped — the texture was a bit grainy, and the flavor was a little chalky as well. It did have a nice smoky flavor, but it didn’t have the feel of “real cheese” that so many vegans are looking for.

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While we love the idea of having a ready-made vegan pizza base or pasta sauce, this flavor didn’t quite measure up. Yet Heidi Ho does have other flavors, and we’re always up for tasting something new.