Goat cheese is not vegan. It is made from goat milk, a type of dairy. Many people associate dairy items with only cow milk. This is wrong; vegans don’t eat anything made from animal meat, milk, or byproducts. Vegetarians, on the other hand, consume milk, eggs, honey, and byproducts that don’t involve animal meat.
Goat cheese is vegetarian if made from non-animal rennet like vegetable rennet, microbial rennet, and genetically engineered rennet. Hence, vegetarians can eat goat cheese if it is free from animal rennet.
Overall, cow milk cheeses use calf rennet, sheep cheeses use lamb rennet, and goat cheeses use goat rennet. Rennet is usually required in a small amount to thicken a large amount of milk.
Hence, goat cheese is a no go for vegans unless it doesn’t contain anything from animals. For vegetarians, it comes to their preferences and asking; can an incredibly small amount of rennet from a slaughtered animal offend their conscious?
Check the recipe at the end of the post to make vegan goat cheese at home.
Veganism as a Lifestyle and Eating Goat Cheese
Many people follow a plant-based diet and have a generally relaxed attitude when consuming milk, cheese, and other food items that don’t have meat. Veganism, on the other hand, is a complete lifestyle based on ethics and a cruelty-free approach. It revolves around justice for animals, and strict vegans follow it wholeheartedly. They don’t even consume honey or sugar as both these sweeteners involve animal exploitation.
Can Vegetarians eat Goat Cheese?
Vegetarians consume milk, honey, eggs, and other byproducts that don’t involve killing animals. Authentic goat cheese contains animal rennet. Hence, it is a no go for strict vegetarians. Some vegetarians may eat goat cheese because it doesn’t contain animal meat.
Some goat cheese is made from non-animal rennet. Vegetarians can eat these cheeses without any worries.
Can Goat Cheese be made without Animal Rennet?
Yes. Goat cheese can be made without animal rennet.
Generally, hard cheeses are made with rennet, and soft cheeses don’t have rennet. Common examples include feta, Brie, Ricotta, and cream cheese.
However, you need to check the particular cheese you are interested in. Make sure you go through the ingredients and ensure it doesn’t have animal rennet. Some brands also label their cheese as vegetarian.
Common Vegetarian Goat Cheese Brands
Some brands cater to a huge vegetarian audience worldwide. They usually mention and label the products with terms like non-animal enzymes, vegetable enzymes, thistle rennet, plant rennet, vegetable rennet, microbial rennet, or simply non-animal rennet. Please note that animal-rennet cheeses may have vague and misleading labels.
Here is a list of famous brands that sell vegetarian goat cheese.
- 365 by Whole Foods Market
- Laura Chenel
- Alta Dena
- Spero Foods
- Coach Farm
Please note that all of these brands offer different variations of cheeses. You must check the ingredients before buying vegetarian goat cheese from them.
Why should you avoid using Goat Cheese?
Non-vegetarians usually believe that cheese doesn’t harm animals and is a cruelty-free product. This isn’t true. Commercial-scale goat cheese production isn’t doing justice to goats. Here are some reasons you might want to avoid goat cheese and use vegan goat cheese.
- Goats are forcibly impregnated to enhance milk production.
- Goats are given injections and medicine to increase milk production.
- Babies are not given milk.
- The male babies are killed for meat production.
- Sick goats are usually denied veterinary care, often in third-world countries.
- Dead goats are not treated properly.
Vegan Goat Cheese Recipe
- Food processor
- Small pot
- Plastic wrap (optional for making a log)
- Kitchen Scale (optional for weighing ingredients)
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (about½ a lemon)
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- ⅓ cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 90 grams extra firm tofu (about¼ of a typical 350 grams block)
- 1 teaspoon salt
Option 1: Using Agar
- 1 ½ tbsp agar powder
- ½ cup water
Option 2: Without Agar
- ¼ cup plant-based milk (unflavored, unsweetened soy)
- Soak all sunflower seeds and cashews in boiling water for 10 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
- Remove cashews and sunflower seeds from the soaking ball and add them to a food processor or blender.
- Add the remaining ingredients (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, miso paste, salt, and tofu).
- Follow the directions given below for agar and without agar options.
- Add agar powder and cold water into a small pot. Wait for 5minutes and then boil the contents using a medium-high heat setting for 5-8minutes. Make sure that agar is dissolved in water.
- Partially blend the ingredients before adding agar to the food processor. Once agar is added, blend until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the contents in a blender to a container of your choice. The cheese will take the shape of the container.
- You can make cheese logs by pouring the contents on a plastic wrap and rolling the plastic wrap around the cheese, converting it to your desired shape.
- Refrigerate the cheese for at least 2 hours or until it feels firm and the agar is set.
- Add plant-based milk into the food processor with already partially blended cheese.
- Blend until smooth, creamy, and fluffy.
- Remove the mixture into a bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes before serving.
- This recipe is not fermented, making it quicker and much simpler.
- Please be careful while draining water if you have soaked it in boiling water.
- You can let the cheese sit in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor.
- Plant-based milk option requires less time in the refrigerator.
- The nutritional information may vary based on the quality and quantity of ingredients.
- Calories: 138 kcal
- Protein: 5 g
- Protein: 5 g
- Fat: 11 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 9 g
- Sugar: 2 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Sodium: 376 mg
- Potassium: 173 mg
- Calcium: 33 mg
- Iron: 2 mg
- Vitamin A: 5 IU
- Vitamin C: 3 mg