10 of the best vegan cheeses in Australia (yes, they really are delicious!)

“I can’t give up my cheese!”

That’s one of the things I’ve heard a lot over the years from people wanting to embrace a vegan lifestyle. And I hear ya. There’s a reason you can’t (easily) give up dairy-based cheeses, and it’s because they contain casein which has a morphine-like effect – yep, you’re actually addicted! But I digress.

The good news is: You don’t have to ditch that cheddar, or gouda, or mozzarella – just switch to a plant-based alternative.

But vegan cheeses are horrible and taste like rubber, right? Well, maybe 21 years ago when I went vegan, but not anymore! Cheese-makers from across the globe have upped the ante and created a variety of plant-based offerings to tantalise your tastebuds. There’s even a vegan cheese club!

While major supermarkets are gradually bringing vegan cheeses in, you have access to a much broader range via specialist stores such as The Cruelty-Free Shop, Vegan Perfection, Vegan Aisle, Vegan Online, and The Vegan Cheese Shop.

Here are my top 10 picks of the best vegan cheeses currently available in Australia:

Sprout and Kernel Cream Cheeses

Delicious, cream cheeses with a cashew base. Flavours include classic, chive, herb and peppercorn (my fav). Raw, gluten-free and minimally processed.

Available from: Independent supermarkets and online vegan stores

Vegusto No Moo

If you’re looking for a flavourful hard cheddar, Vegusto’s options will hit the spot. Made in Switzerland, the Piquant offers a strong, tangy taste, while the Mild Aromatic is for those who prefer something a little lighter.

Available from: Independent supermarkets and online vegan stores

Bio Cheese

My Life’s Bio Cheese was one of the first plant-based cheese brands to be stocked in major supermarkets including Coles and Woolworths. It’s also served at some of Australia’s favourite restaurant chains, including Mad Mex, Zambrero and Crust Pizza. Based on coconut oil, the cheddar block and slices are a tasty alternative to dairy.

Available from: Coles, Woolworths, IGA, and independent supermarkets

Cheezly Cheddar

Originally owned by the Redwood Company, Cheezly was the first vegan cheese that tasted like dairy-based cheddar back in 1997 in London when I went vegan. Now owned by UK-based VBites, it’s got even better. And the company offers a range of other yummy options including super-melting nacho cheese, mozzarella and parmesan.

Available at: Independent supermarkets and online vegan stores

Green Vie Smoked Gouda

Cyprus-based vegan cheese company Green Vie produces a range of dairy alternatives, and their smoked Gouda is just one of the highlights. Enriched with vitamin B12 and olive extract, it’s also gluten-free.

Available from: Online vegan stores

Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Shreds

Want to make your own pizza? US brand Follow Your Heart have got you covered with their mozzarella shreds. Just sprinkle them on top, heat up and enjoy a nice melty cheesy pizza! This is the cheese that Domino’s pizza chain uses for their vegan pizza range. Follow Your Heart also offers cheddar shreds if, like me, you fancy some occasional cheese on toast.

Available from: Independent supermarkets and online vegan stores

Dilectio Blue

I was never a fan of blue cheese when I was vegetarian, but Dilectio’s vegan Blue has converted me. This creamy cashew-based cheese has added cultures and probiotics and is aged for up to five weeks to develop a traditional blue cheese flavour.

Available from: The Vegan Cheese Shop

Artisa Ben Lomond

Artisa is a Tasmanian startup that is knocking it out of the park with original, unique vegan cheeses. The Ben Lomond is a creamy cashew blue brie with a white mould rind, containing vegan cultures and layered with Tasmanian vine ash. Check out the company’s Gladstone Cashew Cheese Smoked with Tasmanian Applewood, Kunanyi with Tasmanian Pepperberry Dusting, and the Cashew Cheese with a Cold Brewed Coffee Blend – told you they were adventurous.

Available from: Online vegan stores

Hello Friend Haloumi

Halloumi can be tricky to create solely from plants, but Melbourne-based Hello Friend has pretty much nailed it, replicating the salty taste of this traditional Cypriot cheese. The new startup has also created a cheese sauce and mozzarella.

Available from: The Vegan Cheese Shop

AVS Organics Cheese Nut and Cheese Seed Parmesan

AVS Organics is a Melbourne-based vegan food company that offers a range of sumptuous cheeses. The company’s Cheese Nut and Cheese Seed Parmesan are just the ticket to sprinkle over a nice creamy vegan pasta dish, in soup or over veggies.

Available from: Independent supermarkets and online vegan stores

The above are just the tip of the iceberg. It was hard to keep the list to 10, so I’m going to sneak in the Bute Island Sheese range, as well as Dairy Down Under, both of which are available in independent supermarkets.

With the plant-based dairy alternatives sector continuing to grow, keep your eye out for even more innovative vegan cheeses.

Katrina Fox is a journalist and PR consultant who has written for a broad range of print and online media in the UK, US and Australia. A vegan for 21 years, she is the founder of VeganBusinessMedia.com, providing resources, consultancy and training for vegan entrepreneurs, authors and creatives. Originally from the UK, Katrina is based in Sydney and is the Australia campaign manager for Million Dollar Vegan.

Photo from Felicia Campbell via Edible:San Diego 

Try Vegan For Lent

Get the Vegan Starter Kit