Taste Test: Best Vegan Parmesan

Best Vegan Parmesan Redwood Parmesan Style Cheezly & Life Free From Parmazano

Now that Redwood have launched a vegan parmesan cheese we can run a taste test...against the only other vegan parmesan available in the UK...Parmazano from Life Free From. They're very different interpretations of parmesan...one a carton of cheese sprinkles, the other a block of faux vegan cheese. We took them both to the kitchen to see if either of them were worthy parmesan substitutes.

Best Vegan Parmesan

The Parmazano is basically just a powder and is mostly starch. The Redwood Parmesan is like any other cheese in their Cheezly range, except a little harder and drier, which makes it easier to grate with a fine grater.

We tried out both of the parmesans in the simplest way first...as a topping sprinkled on some cooked pasta. The Parmazano has the better of the flavours, with a kind of earthiness that the Redwood cheese lacks. Texture wise though, the Redwood parmesan is the winner with a little meltiness versus the dry powdery texture of the Parmazano. We don't think either of them is very much like Parmesan though (from what we remember...).

Next up...to the oven. We prepared some stuffed mushrooms and gave our test cheeses a chance to form a Parmesan crust...fingers crossed. Here goes 20 minutes in the oven at 190C (375F).

The results were wholly disappointing. The Parmazano, being mostly a starch just dried out even further and our stuffed mushroom shrunk as its juices were absorbed. The Cheezly meanwhile didn't melt at all, although we got a crust by way of the cheese going crispy....but not really in a nice way. It looks like there's more work to be done on the vegan parmesan front...

Parmazano from Life Free From has a certain likeness to Parmesan in taste, and if you can put up with the powderiness you might like it on your pasta. If you're cooking with it, maybe best to use it to flavour a sauce. The pot will keep for several weeks once opened so it's a reasonable store cupboard item.

Redwood's Parmesan Style Cheezly meanwhile is actually pretty good on a sandwich (we tried it), but doesn't really have the flavour or the texture to replace Parmesan. The other thing about a chunk of dairy Parmesan is that it lasts for months, and Cheezly doesn't...you need to eat it within 5 days of opening...that's a lot of parmesan shavings to eat in 5 days. We're therefore not sure of the wisdom of a vegan Parmesan sold in a large block. Sorry guys (we love you really).

Verdict: A little work to be done on the perfect vegan parmesan.

Veganoo Score: ★★☆☆☆
Life Free From Parmazano

Veganoo Score: ★★★☆☆
Redwood Parmesan Style Cheezly

Footnote: Ingredients
Here are the ingredients panels from the packs we reviewed.

Vegan Parmesan Life Free From Parmazano Ingredients
Vegan Parmesan Style Cheezly Ingredients
Parmesan Style Cheezly

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  1. What a good, objective, taste test. You might enjoy the Vegan Cheese episode of our internet radio show The Vegan Option: as well as investigating casomorphines and finding out how they get vegan cheese to melt and stretch, we pitched Redwoods, Daiya and Vegusto against each other in a taste test - by putting them on the same pizza.

  2. Hey thanks, nice link. We're planning a similar taste test here with Sheese, Cheezly, Vegusto, Teese and Tofutti. We can't get Daiya in the UK but as it came last in your pizza test maybe we're not missing anything!

  3. Let us know how it goes!

    We're based in the UK too - but since we try to be an international show, we made a big effort to get hold of some Daiya.


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