Taste Test – Daiya Non-Dairy Cheese Shreds

One of the items in my bag of promo goodies for The Wellness Show was a coupon for a free package of Daiya Non-Dairy Cheese products. I’m all for trying out new products, not only for my own tastes, but because I feel as an RD to be, the more products I have tried and know about, the better I can counsel patients with different dietary wants and needs. So I took my coupon to the store, ready to pick up some faux cheese to try out. When I saw that we had Daiya on sale that week, I figured why not splurge and get the 2 varieties that we carry – the Cheddar and Mozzarella Style Shreds.

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What can I say, I like to be thorough in my research πŸ˜‰

I had also been having a craving for pizza lately, which seemed like the perfect test to see how these shreds melt and taste.

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A little background on Daiya products – they are dairy free (no casein, lactose, or whey), nut free, gluten free, soy free, egg free, and vegan. As such, they are suitable for many people with allergies or various food restrictions. What are they made with? Tapioca/arrowroot flours, non-GMO canola/safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein and a few other flavour type ingredients. They make both shreds (which come in cheddar, mozzarella, and pepperjack), and wedges, a ready to eat cheese (which comes in cheddar, jack, and jalapeno garlic havarti). Also of note – they are a local Vancouver company. Thumbs up for local companies!

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So before making my pizzas I figured I should just try the shreds out as is. They have a very cheese like mouth feel and taste. They aren’t as sharp/flavourful as aged cheddar or parmesan, but they are still tasty. I found they have a bit of an oily feel on the outside – not a lot, but it was noticeable to me.

I was lazy and bought premade pizza shells, which came in a two pack, so I made two pizzas (kinda of excessive for 1 person, but it meant I had lunch for the rest of the week).

Pizza 1 – pepperoni, onion, mushroom, red pepper, both cheeses, but heavier on the cheddar.

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Pizza 2 – pesto, spinach, onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, both shreds but heavier on the mozzarella.

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And now…the post bake photos!

Pizza 1

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Pizza 2

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As you can see, the shreds did melt. They keep their shape a little more than regular dairy cheese would, but when you bite into them, they tasted and felt just like melted cheese. In fact, I got the usual pizza cheese burn on the roof of my mouth (I’m way too impatient to wait for my pizza to cool).

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I tried to get a photo showing that you can even get a cheese pull with this stuff, but it was really hard to pull the pizza and hold the camera at the same time. Trust me though, this stuff is pullable.

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Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the Daiya shreds. I had heard good things from a few people I knew, but I’m not gonna lie – the idea of faux cheese wasn’t something I was too sure about. Will I replace my usual dairy cheese with Daiya? I doubt it – mostly because they are very limited in their flavours, the flavours are milder than I would like, and I do like dairy cheese better. These are definitely more processed than dairy cheese, and if I don’t need to replace a less processed food with a more processed one, then I feel there is no benefit to me. But if I had an allergy to dairy or soy or something, they would definitely be a great substitute for things like pizza, grilled cheese, etc. And in talking to one of my preceptors, she said that these are a great option for children who need to be on a very low protein diet because of metabolic issues – it allows them to have things like mac & cheese or grilled cheese again with their low protein pasta & bread. So like I said, great to know about these products simply for my future career.

Ultimately, I think they are a good product and they have their uses. But because I don’t have the dietary restrictions of the population they are targeting, I won’t be replacing my regular dairy cheese with them. At least I know how they behave and taste, and would recommend them for people they may be suitable for.

Cheese or faux cheese – which do you use (if any)?

Disclaimer – I received 1 of these packages of cheese for free as part of The Wellness Show promotions. All opinions are my own.

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Categories: Cheese, Dinner, Local, Review, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wellness Show

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2 Comments on “Taste Test – Daiya Non-Dairy Cheese Shreds”

  1. February 23, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    I’ve always been curious about daisy but never really had a reason to try it. I think you’re absolutely right though that we future dietitians need to be aware of such products!

  2. kristaskravings
    February 24, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    Thanks for the review, Marianne! I can’t say that I’ve ever tried a faux cheese…

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