Authentic mozzarella is not vegetarian. It is made from animal rennet, a product taken from the stomach of a young calf. It is a big no for vegetarians and vegans alike.
Consuming mozzarella also depends on how “vegetarian” you need to be. You need to ask yourself this question. Can a trace amount of an enzyme taken from a slaughtered animal’s stomach offend your conscious? Lacto-Ovo vegetarians consume mozzarella cheese without any worries.
Vegetarian cheeses do exist. They are made from microbial rennet, a coagulating agent made from mold, yeast, or fungi. However, this type of cheese still contains milk. Vegans don’t consume milk or any other product that comes from animals. Hence, vegetarians can eat vegetarian cheese, but vegans cannot.
The problem with vegetarian cheese is the absence of animal rennet. It is required to break the proteins so they can be kneaded and pulled to give mozzarella its signature outlook and finish. It also explains why vegetarian cheese fails to melt satisfactorily and transforms into an oily liquid when heated. Vegetarian cheese doesn’t have the typical mouthful feeling you get from authentic mozzarella and other cheeses.
Which cheese doesn’t contain Rennet? Rennet Free Alternatives to Mozzarella
Paneer, cottage cheese, cream cheese, Ricotta, swiss cheese, and provolone don’t require rennet. However, these varieties are softer than cheese made from rennet. Here is a detailed list of vegetarian cheeses and brands.
These types of cheese and other types made without rennet are good for vegetarians. Vegans, on the other hand, avoid eating cheese if it has milk or any product that comes from animals.
The famous brands that manufacture vegetarian mozzarella include Miyoko’s Creamery, Daiya Foods, Field Roast, Violife, Follow Your Heart, So Delicious, and Treeline.
Rennet options for Vegetarians
There are three types of rennet options for vegetarians.
Vegetable Rennet: Vegetable rennet can be made at home or bought from a supermarket. You can use ivy, dried caper leaves, wild thistles, fig juice, and safflower. Vegans can also consume vegetable rennet if the end product contains no animal-derived ingredients.
Microbial Rennet: Microbial rennet is cheaper but doesn’t taste too great. Made from bacteria, fungi, or yeast, it adds a certain aftertaste to your dish. Vegans and vegetarians can eat microbial rennet without any worries.
Genetically Engineered Rennet: It is made by mixing a calf’s stomach DNA with DNA of bacteria and yeast. Its taste is closest to animal rennet. Vegans usually avoid genetically engineered rennet because it is made using animal DNA.
How to make sure that your Cheese is Vegetarian?
The use of non-animal rennet has been on the rise recently. More and more people are now adopting a cruelty-free lifestyle that aims to minimize the suffering of animals.
The first step is to check the ingredients. FDA also approves certain cheeses for vegetarians. You must avoid cheeses that mention animal rennet or simply rennet in the ingredients. Look for vegetarian enzymes, vegetable rennet, microbial enzymes, or non-animal enzymes if you want to buy vegetarian cheese.
You may find that vegetarian cheese tastes awkward if you have recently become a vegetarian or if it is your first time with vegetarian cheese. Your taste buds will adjust over time.
The practice is different when you are eating out. Most restaurants don’t use vegetarian cheese because the final product doesn’t have the typical cheesy look and taste. On the other hand, some mention that they are using plant-based cheese. However, you must always ask about the type of cheese they use if you are a vegetarian.
Can vegans eat Mozzarella?
No. Vegans cannot eat mozzarella cheese even if it is made from non-animal rennet. It still contains cow milk. However, some vegan products are almost but not exactly like mozzarella.
Is Buffalo Mozzarella Vegetarian?
It depends on the ingredients. If the buffalo mozzarella cheese is made from non-animal rennet, it is vegetarian.
Can vegetarians eat Amul Mozzarella Cheese?
Amul cheese, a famous cheese brand from India, is vegetarian because it is free from animal-based rennet.
Can vegetarians eat Kraft Mozzarella Cheese?
No. Vegetarians cannot eat Kraft mozzarella cheese because it is made using animal rennet.