How to Go Without Cheese

By Leo Babauta

One of the hardest things for vegetarians thinking about going vegan is cheese. I know, because I was in this boat not that long ago — cheese seems like a hard thing to go without.

But here’s the thing: it’s actually not as hard as you might think.

For years, I wouldn’t quit cheese because I loved pizza, and cheese on my veggie burger, and nachos, and tacos with cheese on top, and pasta with cheese, and feta on my salads, among other things. However, the secret to veganism is not to focus on what you’re “giving up”, but on the delicious food you’re eating instead.

So for me, I just found delicious vegan food that made me not miss cheese.

Some examples:

  • I learned to love veggie tacos with fresh-made soft corn tortillas, veggie taco meat, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, vegan sour cream, and avocados/guacamole. This is an amazing combo, and the fresher the ingredients, the better. You won’t even miss the cheese.
  • I love veggie burgers of all kinds … put some avocados and Veganaise and dijon mustard and thick slices of tomatoes, and you won’t miss the cheese.
  • Thai food, veggie sushi, vegan miso soup, Thai curries … all kinds of Asian food is delicious without cheese.
  • Stir fries of all kinds … with tempeh or tofu, lots of veggies, some kind of Asian sauce, or just simply salt & pepper. Mmmm.
  • Chili & brown rice. Yum.
  • Thick spagetti sauce with veggie grounds, diced carrots and kale, tomato sauce, garlic & onions, bell peppers, mushrooms … put this over some pasta and yowsa!
  • You can find lots of vegan pesto recipes for pasta, and they’re superb.
  • For pizza, if you pile lots of veggies on top of crust and marinara sauce, it can be a different kind of delicious. More and more pizza places are using Daiya cheese to please vegans with cheese cravings.

You get the idea … don’t use cheese substitutes and think it’s going to be exactly like cheese, and then mourn your “real” cheese. Instead, find fantastic food, and celebrate its deliciousness. You’ll be happy, and the cheese cravings will quickly fade into the ether.