Product: Field Roast Original Grain Meat Co. Chao Tomato Cayenne Vegan Cheese Slices – $4.99+
I had another “ah-ha!” moment in Whole Foods a few weeks ago. While perusing the vegan cheeses and trying to convince myself not to just settle on another inadequate sliced vegan cheese that just stays a hard lump of…whatever vegan stuff it is made out of…I decided that the next time I needed cheese for my infamous grilled cheese sammies, I was going to get something new. Try something different. Maybe get better results instead of toasted bread with a warm slice of cheese that didn’t melt stuck in the middle.
One could hope.
Here is where not being able to tolerate much dairy is a downfall. Vegan cheese…it just doesn’t melt like the real stuff. But if I eat the real stuff, my stomach hates me for hours and hours. So, I do what is best for me. I get the cheese that doesn’t get creamy and gooey and stretchy when I pull my cheese slices apart. You know, for the sake of my health…it’s the sacrifice I have made.
But it doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed.
So, while I had spotted some new vegan cheese slices at Whole Foods one weekend while grocery shopping, these made by the Field Roast Original Grain meat Co., I was hesitant to take the leap and to actually purchase them. So…I stared longingly at them for the next few weeks until…my roommate surprised me by buying them for me. With them now in my clutches…and safely in my fridge, it was time to bust out some soup and sandwiches for sure! And this past Sunday was the perfect day to do just that.
After a long day on Saturday of hitting up the Farmer’s Market and getting absolutely soaked…before seeing Jurassic World for the second time (we wanted to see Inside Out, but it was sold out) and then hitting up our local professional soccer team match (we are season ticket holders), Sunday was a pretty easy day. Hit the gym in the morning, saw Inside Out, finished grocery shopping, did some meal prep for the week, remembered I was heading out of town in the middle of the week, then cooked up a quick soup and made my infamous grilled cheese sandwich (or…as I call it…toasted cheese!) to go with it.
My roomie had picked up the Field Roast Original Grain Meat Co. Chao Tomato Cayenne Vegan Cheese Slices at Whole Foods as my surprise. She knows I love a bit of spice in everything I eat. So, she chose wisely, for sure! These slices of cheese are a rich and deep orange with speckles of green and red throughout it. They looked amazing and actually felt like the real cheese slices that go atop her grilled cheese sandwich. I used my Earth Balance spread and buttered up each slice of bread before placing it on the griddle and topping each slice with a piece of cheese, real for her, and one of the Chao Tomato Cayenne Vegan Cheese Slices for me. The other slice of bread topped off the sandwich and I was toasting away to a perfect golden brown.
At the start of the grilling process, I noticed that, like with every vegan cheese I have put on a sandwich, the edges weren’t melting. “Here we go, another warmed through slice of cheese that doesn’t really melt.” I was actually feeling let down…betrayed once again by the non-dairy options that are left to people like me. I flipped the sandwiches over, watching the real cheese melt to a perfect stretchy-gooeyness in my roommate’s sandwich. I placed the soup in bowls and got out plates for the sandwiches. I got my roommate’s done first, slicing it in half and carrying her dinner over to her to start feasting on while we polished off another episode of Friends. I went to retrieve mine, slicing it into little triangles and realizing, that despite those corners, the inside was melted. It was warm and melty-gooey. Almost stretchy gooey, but not there. But melty-gooey was a definite improvement.
But the true test would come with the taste. So many vegan cheeses taste like…plastic. Or in the case of Daiya…it tastes like Daiya, which isn’t a bad thing, it just is very distinctive. I have to say, I was surprised when I took my first bite of my toasted cheese that was stuffed with a slice of the Field Roast Original Gran Meat Co. Chao Tomato Cayenne Vegan Cheese. I mean, honestly surprised. No plastic flavor. No fake taste at all. Just a creamy, rich, smooth melted bit of cheese. Forget the unmelted corners of the cheese, the inside of the sandwich is really what counts, and what I found was a delicious, melted center. Something I hadn’t experienced since giving up dairy. The cheese itself was rich in flavor. I could taste the subtle tomato flavor with the hit of spicy cayenne. The green flecks…those are dried bell peppers…and they add a nice touch of sweetness to this cheese as well. I was completely, 100% in love with this cheese. I forgot what melted cheese in a sandwich was like. Now…I was in complete melted cheese heaven…with a flavor kick to boot. One that I could actually taste (Go Veggie Slices, I’m looking at you!)…one that actually tasted real. You don’t know true bliss until you get a vegan grilled cheese that has melted cheese inside. Truly.
Field Roast’s Chao cheese slices are the newest memeber of their vegan food lineup. This cheese is made from a coconut cheese alternative and seasned with a traditionally fermented soybean cured called Chao by the Vietnamese. Hence…the name. As Field Roast loves blending Asian and European heritages, the cheese is a perfect fit.
So what is the Field Roast Original Grain Meat Co. Chao Tomato Cayenne Vegan Cheese Slices made from? Good question. I’m going to tell you. These slices of cheesy goodness are produced with filtered water, coconut oil, modified corn and potato starch, tomato juice, potato starch, fermented chao tofu (soybeans, water, salt, sesame oil, calcium sulfate), sea salt, green and red dried bell peppers, cayenne pepper, natural flavor, olive extract (antioxidant used as a preservative), paprika extract and beta carotene. These slices are free vegan, non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten free, cholesterol free, and free of trans-fats.
As for nutrition, I loved these stats. A serving size is one slice and there are 10 slices per package. One slice will serve up 60 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 4 grams saturated fat (remember…coconut based), 180 mg sodium, 4 carbohydrates, no fiber, no sugars, and no protein. So, not filling…but tasty!!
Definitely going to have to try more of the Field Roast Grain Meat Co Chao Vegan Cheese Slices in the future. These cheese alternatives come in three flavors: Tomato Cayenne, Creamy Original, and Coconut Herb. Yes…I really want to try them all! What a great find!