Do Vegetarians Eat Cheese?
Many cheeses are made using an enzyme called rennet, which is added to help with curdling. Rennet most commonly comes from slaughtered animals. so any cheese containing it is not vegetarian friendly. Read on further details and to find out which cheese types are vegetarian.
So, do vegetarians eat cheese or not?
According to the definition of vegetarianism, cheese seems to fit the bill at a first glance. However, if we take a deeper look at what is involved in the process of making cheese, we find a surprising and unfortunate truth: many kinds of cheese are made with animal-derived enzymes.
Many cheese types, especially those of European origin, are made using an enzyme called rennet, which is added to help with curdling (thickening) the cheese. If you didn’t know, rennet most commonly comes from the fourth stomach of slaughtered young animals (such as cows, goats, sheep, and even pigs).
As you can see, this means that many of the most popular cheese varieties are actually not vegetarian-friendly.
Is there any cheese that vegetarians eat?
The great news is that not all cheeses are made with rennet. Softer cheeses such as paneer, ricotta, and cream cheese are all rennet-free. The bad news is that most popular cheeses are not vegetarian-friendly. Cheeses such as parmesan, cheddar, pepper jack, and provolone are all made with rennet.
However, there are now more vegetarian cheese options available than ever before due to the surge in vegetarian and vegan diet adoption. At just about any grocery store, you can expect to find a few plant-based cheese options that, while not the real deal, mimic them impressively well. Brands such as Organic Valley, Applegate, Tillamook, Bel Gioioso, Laughing Cow, and Horizon all make vegan-friendly cheese that you can enjoy.
So there you have it. Next time you’re writing up your grocery list, make sure to include cheese as one of your staples. However, just be mindful of which cheese are vegetarian and which are not, and you’ll be good to go.