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Is Vegan Cheese Healthy? Here’s The Answer From Our Nutrition Experts In 2024

Donald Romeo

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Sevginur Akdas, RD

is vegan cheese healthy
Explore vegan cheese. A tasty, diverse, and often healthy choice. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Embarking on culinary exploration, have you ever pondered the question, Is vegan cheese healthy? Vegan cheese has captured the attention of food connoisseurs and health enthusiasts alike.

Is Vegan Cheese Considered Healthy?

Yes, vegan cheese crafted from whole-food ingredients can be seen as a healthy choice providing a nutritious alternative to dairy. However, it’s important to note that certain vegan cheeses undergo processing and contain added fillings, which may diminish their health advantages. Like any food, the healthiness of vegan cheese relies on the ingredients used and how it is prepared.

Is It Healthy To Eat Vegan Cheese?

While vegan cheese provides a dairy alternative for those following a dairy-free or vegan diet, its nutritional value depends on the ingredients used and the manufacturing process. 

Research[1] focusing on plant-based foods underscores the significance of understanding the composition of vegan products. Vegan cheese often boasts protein content and lower sugar levels than alternatives. Still, it’s crucial to consider its overall nutritional value.

A survey[2] among healthcare professionals regarding supplementation in vegan diets emphasizes that proper supplementation is essential to avoid deficiencies, especially for those following strict vegan regimens.

While vegan cheese can be part of a healthy diet, careful consideration and selection are key. It’s essential to consider ingredients, nutritional content, and how vegan cheese fits your health goals and requirements.

What Is Vegan Cheese?

Vegan cheese is a type of cheese made from plant-based ingredients providing an alternative to dairy cheese that aligns with the increasing demand for ethical food choices.

According to a study[3] conducted in Brazil on vegan milk and egg alternatives, vegan cheese typically has energy values and total fat content compared to its animal-based counterparts. However, it tends to contain higher amounts of carbohydrates and dietary fiber and lower amounts of protein. 

Commonly used ingredients in vegan cheese include cashews, rice, coconut, soy, emulsions of oil, starch, and isolated protein.

It is beneficial to consider comprehending vegan cheese beyond knowing its ingredients; it involves acknowledging the shift towards eating and the advancements in food technology. Vegan cheese caters to individuals with dietary requirements and introduces a whole new range of flavors and textures.

What Is It Made From?

Vegan cheese represents a product made from a combination of plant-based ingredients that imitate the flavor and texture of dairy cheese.

A research study[4] investigating plant-based substitutes for cheese using blends of zein and chickpea protein uncovers the composition of vegan cheese. Ingredients such as shea butter and tapioca starch are utilized to target levels of fat and carbohydrates, while the protein blend contributes to achieving the desired texture and meltability.

Another study explores[5] the aspects of plant-based cheeses in the United States. Coconut oil, cashews, oats, almonds, and soy are commonly used as base ingredients for these cheeses. The nutritional content varies among products, with some fortified with calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.

How Is It Made?

Vegan cheese is crafted through a blend of plant-based ingredients, carefully selected to mimic the texture and flavor of traditional dairy cheese.

The recent study[6] mentioned above on plant-based alternatives to cheese highlights the use of zein protein isolate and chickpea protein concentrate in various ratios. These proteins are combined with shea butter for fat content and tapioca starch for carbohydrates. 

The process involves developing formulations at specific pH levels and moisture targets, resulting in a product that can melt and stretch like dairy cheese.

Vegan Cheese Nutrition Facts

Vegan cheese has a composition that can vary depending on the specific ingredients used. According to the USDA,[7] a 100-gram serving of vegan cheese contains the following;

 Around 285 calories.

 0.5 grams of protein.

 About 23 grams of total fat.

 Roughly 21 grams of saturated fat.

 Around 20 grams of carbohydrates.

 No sugars (0 grams).

 Approximately 393 mg of sodium.

Is vegan cheese bad for you? Actually, no. We can not say it’s bad for you, but its nutritional composition, especially protein content, might be inadequate when it is compared to normal cheese. Therefore, you need to balance your protein intake with other plant-based protein sources. 

The higher amount of saturated fat is often due to the inclusion of coconut oil or other plant-based fats. The lower protein content is because vegan cheese doesn’t contain dairy, which’s a source of protein in traditional cheese.

The possibilities seem endless, From plant-based cheese alternatives to vegan meal delivery options. You can even encounter vegan meal replacement bars and supplements such as fruits and veggies, essential vitamins and minerals, and nourishing green powders that cater to your requirements.

Varieties Of Vegan Cheese

The world of vegan food, including vegan cheese, is incredibly diverse and captivating. From the creamy cashew-based cheeses, which are wonderful as spreads, to the firm and melt-in-your-mouth coconut oil-based ones. 

The almond-based cheeses offer a flavor, while soy-based alternatives can satisfy those cravings for classic cheddar or mozzarella. 

For individuals with nut allergies, rice-based cheeses provide a solution,[8] and the versatility of tofu-based options allows for possibilities in creating cheesy dishes. Aquafaba-based cheese, crafted from chickpea water,[9] adds a texture and flavor that’s definitely worth sampling.

Nutritional yeast is a choice for adding that cheesy kick to sauces and spreads without relying on nuts or soy. Vegan cream cheese made from plant ingredients is wonderfully smooth. Pairs perfectly with your morning bagel.

Let’s not forget about vegan cheese slices! They come in all sorts of flavors, like smoky or spicy, closely resembling the taste[10] profiles of cheeses.

The innovative approaches employed to increase the acceptance of plant-based cheese substitutes have improved quality and overall likability.

The food industry is responding to the growing need for healthier choices by developing a range of plant-based products, including cheese.

The Bottom Line

The realm of vegan cheese is vast and incredibly tasty, providing a voyage for everyone to embark upon. Whether you follow a vegan diet or simply have an interest. In vegan food, there exists an array of flavors waiting to be discovered.

It’s important to understand the facts about vegan cheese when making choices. While vegan cheese can add flavor to a plant-based based diet, it’s crucial to consider balance. To create a satisfying and nutritionally complete meal pairing vegan cheese with foods like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes is recommended.

If you still need to delve into the world of vegan cheese, you can find it brimming with options tailored to satisfy every palate preference and dietary inclination. Enjoy the expedition!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is vegan cheese healthier than regular cheese?

When it comes to vegan cheese made from whole food ingredients, they can offer healthy dairy-free cheese alternatives to regular cheese. It’s hard to choose one as healthier as both of those cheeses have different nutrient compositions with some pros and cons.

Are vegan cheeses unhealthy?

Not all vegan cheeses are equal in terms of quality. While some are crafted using whole food ingredients packed with nutrients, others may undergo processing[9] and contain added fillers.

Is plant-based cheese good or bad for you?

Plant-based or dairy-free cheese can substitute for individuals with dairy allergies or intolerance. It can offer nutrients without the drawbacks associated with dairy consumption. However, like any food product, choosing options with minimal additives is crucial.

Is vegan cheese super processed?

It’s worth noting that certain vegan cheeses can be highly processed and may include additives and fillers. However, some brands and homemade vegan cheese recipes utilize whole-food ingredients instead.[11] Reading labels carefully and opting for products prioritizing ingredients is essential.


+ 11 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Gasparre, N., Mefleh, M. and Fatma Boukid (2022). Nutritional Facts and Health/Nutrition Claims of Commercial Plant-Based Infant Foods: Where Do We Stand? Plants, [online] 11(19), pp.2531–2531. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11192531.
  2. Jeitler, M., Maximilian Andreas Storz, Nico Steckhan, Matthiae, D., Dressler, J., Etienne Hanslian, Koppold-Liebscher, D.A., Kandil, F.I., Michalsen, A. and Kessler, C.S. (2022). Knowledge, Attitudes and Application of Critical Nutrient Supplementation in Vegan Diets among Healthcare Professionals—Survey Results from a Medical Congress on Plant-Based Nutrition. Foods, [online] 11(24), pp.4033–4033. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11244033.
  3. Romão, B., Braz, R., Eduardo Yoshio Nakano, Ruela, V., Eduarda, M., Raposo, A., Han, H., Miseldra Gil-Marín, Ariza-Montes, A. and Renata Puppin Zandonadi (2022). Vegan milk and egg alternatives commercialized in Brazil: A study of the nutritional composition and main ingredients. Frontiers in Public Health, [online] 10. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.964734.
  4. Grasso, N., Bot, F., Roos, Y.H., Crowley, S.V., Arendt, E.K. and O’Mahony, J.A. (2023). Plant-Based Alternatives to Cheese Formulated Using Blends of Zein and Chickpea Protein Ingredients. Foods, [online] 12(7), pp.1492–1492. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12071492.
  5. Craig, W.J., Ann Reed Mangels and Brothers, C.J. (2022). Nutritional Profiles of Non-Dairy Plant-Based Cheese Alternatives. Nutrients, [online] 14(6), pp.1247–1247. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14061247.
  6. Grasso, N., Bot, F., Roos, Y.H., Crowley, S.V., Arendt, E.K. and O’Mahony, J.A. (2023). Plant-Based Alternatives to Cheese Formulated Using Blends of Zein and Chickpea Protein Ingredients. Foods, [online] 12(7), pp.1492–1492. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12071492.
  7. Usda.gov. (2023). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1981679/nutrients
  8. Short, E.C., Kinchla, A.J. and Nolden, A.A. (2021). Plant-Based Cheeses: A Systematic Review of Sensory Evaluation Studies and Strategies to Increase Consumer Acceptance. Foods, [online] 10(4), pp.725–725. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040725.
  9. Tuck, C., Ly, E., Bogatyrev, A., Costetsou, I., Gibson, P., Barrett, J. and Muir, J. (2018). Fermentable short chain carbohydrate (FODMAP) content of common plant-based foods and processed foods suitable for vegetarian- and vegan-based eating patterns. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 31(3), pp.422–435. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12546.
  10. Wolf, C.A., Malone, T. and McFadden, B.R. (2020). Beverage milk consumption patterns in the United States: Who is substituting from dairy to plant-based beverages? Journal of Dairy Science, [online] 103(12), pp.11209–11217. doi:https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2020-18741.
  11. Mena Ritota and Manzi, P. (2020). Natural Preservatives from Plant in Cheese Making. Animals, [online] 10(4), pp.749–749. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040749.
Donald Romeo

Medically reviewed by:

Sevginur Akdas

Donald Romeo is a highly skilled health and wellness writer and a dedicated nutritional researcher. His expertise unravels the intricate connections between nutrition, holistic health, and well-being. With an astute understanding of nutritional science and a talent for translating complex concepts into accessible content, Donald brings valuable insights to his readers. He is committed to empowering individuals by providing practical and evidence-based advice to support their wellness journey. Through his engaging articles, Donald inspires readers to make informed choices, adopt healthier habits, and embrace a holistic approach to their overall vitality.

Medically reviewed by:

Sevginur Akdas

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