Is Cheese Vegetarian friendly? You may have heard all cheeses are, but is it really? Let’s dive into the science of cheese and find out if this beloved dairy product can be part of a vegetarian diet.
What Makes Cheese Non-Vegetarian?
The main factor that makes cheese non-vegetarian is the presence of rennet, an enzyme that helps to curdle milk and turn it into cheese. Rennet is traditionally made from the stomach lining of slaughtered calves or other animals, which makes it non-vegetarian. However, some cheeses are made with vegetable rennet or microbial enzymes instead, making them suitable for vegetarians.
The Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan Cheese
It’s important to note that not all vegetarian cheeses are vegan. While vegetarian cheeses are made without animal rennet, they may contain other animal products like eggs or milk fat. These ingredients make them unsuitable for vegans who don’t consume any animal products at all. On the other hand, vegan cheeses are completely free of animal products and therefore more widely accepted by vegans looking for dairy-free options.
Identifying Animal Rennet in Cheeses
If you’re unsure whether a particular type of cheese contains animal rennet or not, the best way to find out is to look at the label. Many brands will clearly state on their packaging whether they use traditional rennet or microbial/vegetable rennet in their production process. If there’s no mention of rennet on the label, then you can assume that it contains animal rennet and therefore isn’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
So there you have it—cheese isn’t necessarily vegetarian after all! To ensure that your cheese is suitable for a vegetarian diet, look out for labels indicating vegetable or microbial enzymes used in production instead of traditional animal rennet. That way you can enjoy your favorite cheesy dishes without worrying about breaking your dietary restrictions!
If you want to dig deeper into the science of cheese, visit the American Cheese Society to learn more.
If you want some yummy cheese recipes, click on these links below to get to the recipes:
The World Famous Master’s Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Quick and Easy Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese