Hello and welcome to my first vegan product review! I’m starting us off with Applewood’s vegan “smoky cheese alternative”. This product has been so sought after it’s been flying off the shelves in Asda, with many turning to the Vegan Kind Supermarket to get their smoky cheesy fix! The cheese costs £2.30 for a 200g block, just 30p more than Applewood’s dairy equivalent. In addition to being vegan, the product is labelled gluten and soya free; fantastic for those with allergies! I’m going say right from the start that I love this cheese. In fact, it’s my favourite vegan cheese to date. However, it has divided opinion among vegans! I asked users of the Facebook group Vegan UK how they felt about this product. At the time of writing, 52% of those who answered said they love it, while 10% said they hate it! A further 8% said they found it “ok”, while the remaining 30% hadn’t tried it yet. Clearly, the majority are loving this cheese alternative. Read on to see what some of the people I polled said…
Jasmine Russell of Little Piece of Vegan said, “My favourite for homemade pizza, it melts all gooey and delicious!” As you can see from my photo below, it does melt beautifully and makes a perfect creamy cheese sauce. Although Ciara Dunseith said she doesn’t “like the texture right out the pack”, she does enjoy it melted or grated and even said, “It’s the only vegan cheese I like!” Mike Austin loves it too, and said, “I’ll melt it on or in stuff but also just eat an entire block to myself… don’t even bother cutting it just gnaw on the block!” Mike, I’m with you there! So for those who don’t love it, why? Sammy Brace said, “It tasted nice but the rubber texture wasn’t pleasant.” Ben Potts agrees: “I find that the taste is very good, but the texture is off. It’s very rubbery.”
For my part, although I enjoy the cheese straight out the pack, where it really comes alive is when melted into a cheese sauce. The smoky flavour adds a delicious twist to classic dishes like mac and cheese. It’s now my go-to choice of cheese for mac and cheese; in fact, I fed the recipe below to my non-vegan family members and they loved it! I’ve included two options in the recipe: a stove-top version for a quick, simple meal and a baked version for when you want something a bit special! The cheese sauce is made in the classic way, but with the butter, cheese and milk substituted for vegan versions. It’s super easy, comforting and is a hit with kids and adults alike!
So, what’s my final verdict on this cheese? I would give it a solid 5 gold stars! Having been vegan for five years, after being a lifelong cheese lover, this is the closest to dairy cheese I’ve tasted. Hopefully, Applewood will release more cheese alternative products… Debbie Sutherland says, “If the same brand did a mature cheddar I’d be thrilled!” Debbie, so would I!
This makes it a fantastic product for new and seasoned vegans alike, as well as those just interested in cutting their intake of animal products. It’s vitally important that products like this are available in supermarkets, making it easier than ever to go vegan. This may be the new Marmite of vegan cheese but I, for one, am a fully fledged convert!
Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with this product or its manufacturers. I was not asked to review this product, and I did purchase it myself. Any views I express in this post are my own.
“It melts all gooey and delicious!”Jasmine Russell via Vegan UK on Facebook
Applewood vegan cheese… My verdict:
Classic Vegan Mac & Cheese (Stove-top or Baked, serves 4)
- 350g macaroni
- 2 tbsp vegan butter or margerine
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 500ml non-dairy milk + more if needed
- 200g block Applewood vegan smoky cheese alternative, grated
- Salt & black pepper
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (baked version only)
- 1 tsp paprika (baked version only)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric (baked version only)
BAKED VERSION ONLY: PREHEAT OVEN TO 200 DEGREES CELSIUS
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil, season generously with salt and add the macaroni. Cook according to the package instructions and be sure to stir every so often so it doesn’t stick.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce: melt the vegan butter or margarine in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. Once melted, add the flour and mix until there are no lumps. Add a little non-dairy milk and again stir until there are no lumps. Keep adding the milk a little at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. If you add the milk a little at a time and make sure to stir until there are no lumps before adding more, you should end up with a thin white sauce.
- Stir in the cheese and continue to cook, stirring often, until completely melted. You should now have a thick, creamy sauce that drips easily off a spoon. If the sauce is too thin, stir in a little more milk.
- STOVE-TOP VERSION: Stir the sauce into the macaroni and serve sprinkled with a little paprika.
- BAKED VERSION: Stir the sauce into the macaroni and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Mix the panko, paprika and turmeric and sprinkle over the macaroni cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumb topping is golden brown. Serve with a side of roast vegetables or whatever your heart desires!