6 Healthy Dairy-Free Cheese Hacks

May 18, 2021

Dairy-free cheese alternatives are gooey, melty, and tasty, but we won’t pretend that they’re the healthiest option when compared to whole foods. Nondairy cheese is great every now and then, and it’s perfect for someone making the transition to dairy-free, but for day-to-day cheesy goodness, we rely on healthy dairy-free cheese made at home. These cheesy hacks are simple, quick, and wholesome. Here are five healthy dairy-free cheese options to recreate your favorite cheesy dishes. 

Hummus

At first, hummus and cheese seem to have little in common. Yet somehow, it just works. Trust us on this. Hummus provides substance, flavor, and satiety in the same way cheese does. It can be used in both cold and (some) hot applications. Here are our favorite ways to swap hummus for cheese:

  • Sandwiches
  • Wraps
  • Quesadillas (yep, this works)
  • Pizza (as a sauce or dolloped on top, pre-baked)

Cashew Cream

Whether you’re working on a sweet or savory recipe, a simple blend of cashews, lemon, and water can add a cheesy taste to a plethora of meals. It’s infinitely versatile based on the spices you add—sprinkle in garlic and onion powder to replicate sour cream or add a bit of sugar for a sweet cream you can use in fruit tarts or spoon onto pancakes or waffles. Here are our favorite ways to use cashew cream:

  • Dolloped on baked potatoes
  • Stirred into a pasta sauce
  • Drizzled over nachos
  • Spooned onto soup
  • Stuffed in a burrito

Tofu Feta

Recreate that funky, briny, crumbly experience of feta with a simple tofu marinade. It’s amazing how a humble block of firm tofu can transform with the help of coconut vinegar, salt, and oregano. Find the recipe here and start batch-prepping to always have dairy-free feta on hand. Worried about soy? Don’t be. Read up on this misunderstood food here. Here are our favorite ways to use tofu feta:

  • In a Greek salad
  • Tossed with tomatoes and cucumbers
  • Layered on a sandwich
  • Crumbled on top of pizza

Tofu Ricotta

There are few things tofu cannot do. In addition to funky feta, firm tofu can also mimic ricotta. It’s quick to prepare and only takes a few key spices to zhuzh a bland block of tofu up into a creamy ricotta filling for all of your favorite Italian-inspired dishes. Bonus: tofu contains 6 grams of protein per serving and no saturated fats (you won’t find that with dairy-based ricotta). There are a few store-bought options as well, but this is a healthy dairy-free cheese alternative when you have a bit of time. Here are our favorite ways to use tofu ricotta:

  • Stuffed into pasta shells
  • Between layers of lasagna
  • Dolloped onto pizza
  • Spread on a plant-based meatball sub
  • Rolled into these zucchini spirals

Cashew Parmesan

Stockpile this. Like tofu, cashews are extremely versatile and have the ability to replicate a number of dairy-based cheeses. We stand by this four-ingredient recipe—all you need is nutritional yeast, cashews, salt, and garlic powder. Here are our favorite ways to use cashew parmesan:

  • Sprinkled on steamed or roasted veggies
  • On top of pasta
  • Between casserole layers
  • Shaken on salads
  • Mixed into marinara
  • Piled on pizza

Nutritional Yeast

Like cashew parmesan, nutritional yeast amplifies virtually every savory dish. It even works in some sweet applications—like adding a cheesy dimension to dairy-free cheesecake. It contains five grams of protein per two-tablespoon serving in addition to two grams of fiber and B vitamins. At 40 calories per serving, it’s also the lowest calorie alternative to cheese and definitely qualifies as a healthy dairy-free cheese. Here are our favorite ways to use nutritional yeast: 

  • On popcorn and french fries
  • Sprinkled on soups, stews, and chilis
  • Tossed with steamed or roasted vegetables
  • Stirred into pasta sauces and sprinkled on top
  • Garnish for pizza
  • Shaken onto salads
  • Blended into sweet dairy-free creams and cheesecakes
  • Virtually on everything

Want more dairy-free cheese? Check out our 6 Easy Dairy-Free Nut Cheese Recipes and 6 Easy Ways to Cut Out Cheese.

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