Dairy issues aren’t just about lactose intolerance. Some people have an immune response to dairy proteins that affects their sinuses or they break out in a rash. It could even be the cause of the acne flair ups you’ve been having lately. You’ll gladly give up Greek yogurt for clear skin again, but cheese is going to much harder. Grilled cheese is your favorite easy meal, comfort food and indulgence when dining out all in one. If this is really going to happen you’re going to need amazing vegan grilled cheese sandwich recipes.

How could we have a month of vegan foods without talking about cheese? Until very recently, finding a good vegan cheese was very hard. I used to make my own vegan cheese from a recipe in the La Dolce Vegan cookbook because the ones in the store tasted awful. My homemade version was pretty good on pizza but it never made a great grilled cheese sandwich.

Now, with more and more people choosing a plant-based lifestyle, vegan cheese makers have stepped up their game. With a variety of textures and delicious flavors these new vegan cheeses are making a delectable vegan version of your favorite sandwich possible.

There are three things that make the best grilled cheese – vegan or not. First, at home you need a cast iron skillet. If you’re making your grilled cheese sandwich any other way you are missing out. A cast iron skillet it perfect for the right level of browning and melty goodness.

Two, you need a cheese that tastes good. American processed cheese food product does not make a great tasting grilled cheese sandwich. Quality really matters for a grown up grilled cheese. Third, and this may be even more important with vegan grilled cheese sandwich recipes, you need a supporting cast of complimentary yummy flavors.

After you’ve bought your cast iron skillet, you need to get good quality vegan cheese. The first one I’m going to recommend is Chao Slices by the team at Field Roast. These tofu and coconut based cheeses taste delicious and melt creamy on a grilled cheese. They are presliced and ready to add to any sandwich with ease.

Now to add those yummy flavors! My first combo is Chao Creamy Original along with pears and whole grain Dijon mustard. You’ll toast your bread first (I recommend a sprouted grain or whole wheat bread) and brush coconut oil or olive oil on one side of each slice of the toasted bread. Place the oiled side down in your well heated cast iron skillet and place your cheese layer down first on each slice. (I recommend two slices of Chao vegan cheese for one sandwich.)

Then lay down a few thin slices of pears and, on one side, spoon on one tablespoon of mustard. Heat until the bread starts to brown. Then flip one side over to create your sandwich and press down with a spatula. Let the cheese melt and flip whole sandwich if necessary to get the other side brown.

You’ll follow the same process with my second combo, Chao Tomato Cayenne and tempeh bacon slices. (I made the tempeh bacon from the Protein Ninja cookbook but you can also find tempeh bacon at Mama Jean’s Natural Market.) The cheese has so much flavor you won’t need any other condiments, I promise.

Now for a little twist on your normal grilled cheese. How about sweet instead of savory? My third combo is Kite Hill Vegan Cream Cheese with strawberry jam and blueberries. Follow the same process for prepping your bread. Spread Kite Hill Vegan Cream Cheese on one slice of the bread. On the other side spread strawberry jam. Place the oiled sides down in the cast iron. On the cream cheese side, place 1/3 cup fresh blueberries. You won’t get much melting but do cook until the desired level of brownness on both sides. Use your spatula to flip one slice onto the other to make a sandwich and press down with the spatula. Serve this one with your favorite tea for festive elevens break or an amazing afternoon snack.

With these heavenly vegan grilled cheese recipes you’ll have your comfort food cravings covered. Plus, you can use the Chao vegan cheese on next week’s summer time favorites – vegan burgers and hot dogs!

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