Friday, July 12, 2013

Review - Follow Your Heart Vegan Shreds

I decided to give these a try  .... 

The Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Shreds in the Fiesta Blend. This is a flavor with some spice and heat to it, much like you'd get in a 'taco cheese'.  This also comes in mozzarella and cheddar flavors.

It is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-gmo, and soy-free.

Here is the company statement regarding their source of palm oil.

I should give you a point of reference for this review. I can tell you that if you ask 10 vegans their fave vegan cheese, you'll get ten answers and what one vegan loves, another loathes so you have to take reviews as they are - the opinion of one person.

That said, I will tell you my taste profile when it comes to vegan cheese. I love the Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti wedges but I very much dislike the Daiya shreds. I like the Teese Cheddar Sauce for mac & cheese but the other flavors are just 'meh' to me. I didn't like the FYH blocks of cheese. I thought they lacked flavor. I tried the Trader Joe's Mozzarella shreds and while it was 'ok', I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. I really do prefer pizza without cheese now so taste testing mozzarella flavors isn't really a fair test with me because I'd just rather have it without it.

So, trying a Mexican flavor is better because I love Mexican food and while I can certainly live without a cheese in my Mexican food, it very often can punch it up a level.

Vegan cheeses tend to have a powdery flavor. I'm not sure what that ingredient is but they all seem to have it in common. This one does as well.

My grocery store had it for $5.39 but I had a $2 coupon from Veg News Magazine. The Daiya Wedges I buy are the same price at this store so while it's pricey, I feel like it's reasonable in a certain way since I use small amounts and I can get quite a few servings out of a package. The truth is that it's still an all fat ingredient so it isn't something you should eat large amounts of anyway.

Out of the bag, it isn't horrible. It's probably the first vegan cheese I've tried that I didn't make a face when I tried it raw. I probably wouldn't toss it raw on a salad tho. It has cheddar orange and cream color shreds but the cream colored ones have maybe a pepper or spice in them that honestly, makes it look like blue cheese/mold so I'd be very aware of that so you don't mistake it for having gone bad. It has a bit of a tanginess to it that I've not really had in vegan cheese before.. a flavor very much expected in a cow cheese so that was interesting.

I decided to try it on nachos. I did some with just the Fiesta blend and some with some leftover enchilada filling of black beans, corn, tofu and black olives.

I put it in my toaster oven and it melted ok. I probably should have let it go longer than I did but I just have no patience.  It melted better on the plain chip, of course. It tasted mostly the same melted as it did raw. A little more mellow. Pleasant and with a slight spicy kick so you know it's a 'taco' cheese. Besides the normal powdery flavor, it didn't have any lasting aftertaste that I noticed. 

I will be trying this in my enchiladas, quesadillas and burritos for sure. I'm curious to see the meltability in those items. I do think it pairs well with other ingredients rather than on it's own. I don't know that I'd make a grilled cheese out of it.

So.. bottom line .....  Would I buy it again?  

Possibly, if I felt like I wanted that fiesta type flavor but given a choice, I'd always choose the Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti over this. That can be sliced for use in a grilled cheese or grated.  This is a clear second tho. I like knowing I have an alternative to Daiya wedges if I can't find it.

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