Monday, April 23, 2007

Follow Your Heart Pizza

On a recent trip out of town I was finally able to pick up some Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheese. I've been hearing about this stuff for years and couldn't wait to try it for myself. Today I took a bit of the mozzarella-style cheese and turned it into a lunch box pizza with tomato sauce, broccoli, and capers.

On the side is, yes, another Applesauce Fruit Squeezie and a bite of fair trade dark chocolate.

Verdict: I really, really wanted to like Follow Your Heart. It's more local than Sheese and isn't made with transfats like Tofutti slices. Perhaps it's a case of having inordinately high expectations, but I was disappointed. None of us liked the taste or texture of any of the Follow Your Heart cheeses. We found them gritty, soft, and watery. But still, I felt worlds better giving this to my son versus giving him Tofutti, and cooked on top of pizza shmoo said the mozzarella tasted "not bad". At lunchtime shmoo picked the broccoli off the pizza first and gobbled it up (dang, I should have put more on!), then ate every last bite of the pizza -- even the crusts! 3 stars for Follow Your Heart.

43 comments:

Roxy said...

Awww...I'm sad to hear you didn't much like the FYH cheese. I LOVE it and eat it more than I probably should. I agree that it can be watery/liquidy, but I just let it sit to cool and firm up for a few minutes.

kjohndrow said...

The FYH cheese is so much better when melted! Try it in a veggie lasagna...I think you may like it better. :)

Rare said...

I understand what you're saying. I had the same reaction the first time I tried the Follow Your Heart cheese. I think it was as you suggested: a case of high expectations, in my case set high because of the incredible taste of Vegenaise. I figured that if they could produce a vegan mayonnaise that good--almost identical to my favorite brand of mayonnaise--then this cheese that bears their name must be equally similar in taste and texture to real cheese. When it turned out to be neither, I was disappointed.

However, I tried it again, and again. Pretty soon I was hooked. Believe it or not, my favorite way to eat FYH cheese is plain, just sliced off the block. It isn't really very similar to real cheese, but we like it.

So my suggestion is to not give up on it just yet. :-)

We haven't had much success with getting it to melt on pizza though. Is there a secret to that?

saggio1 said...

HI, the FYH is wonderful on almost anything...pizza, sandwiches, etc. but the secret is putting it under the broiler on the middle shelf until the "cheese" becomes bubbly and even a little brown if you'd like. It is wonderful that way! My husband and I will even order a pizza with no cheese and throw some of the FYH on top and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes. Delish!!! I hope this helps a few people. Even the FYH Monteray Jack is great on sandwiches and pizza!

Thought Criminal said...

See, I've tried the follow your heart grilled (and then under the broiler or in the microwave to melt it a bit more) and I just don't like the flavor or texture. Unfortunately, the only vegan cheese I like is the tofutti, which I've only found in American flavor, making it unsuitable for pizza anyway.

Fortunately, there is a pizza place near my house that makes an AMAZING cheese-substitute sauce for vegans. I'm not sure what it is, but it tastes like it involves tahini. It's vry tasty.

Vegan Dogs said...

My suggestion for FYH cheese is to put something on top of it. When I use it on pizzas for example I put it directly on the sauce and then put all my toppings over the cheese. It actually melts if you do this & tastes like cheap cheese. But I haven't tried it cold...I'm too scared. :-)

shorty said...

Did you cook your broccoli before you put it on the pizza? Thanks
Shorty

bridget said...

jenn, the secret to follow your heart is shredding it with a cheese grater on one of the smaller settings. i can tell by looking at the pizza that the cheese needs to be smaller to melt better/give it a better taste in terms of texture. i had the same reaction the first time i tried follow your heart as you and schmoo, then a friend suggested i use a cheese grater and i've been hooked ever since! it's weird how texture makes a difference, but trust me, it works

Lira said...

Yes, I totally agree with you about the FYH cheese. It really is...erm...slimy. However, it's also the only vegan cheese that I buy and eat (always in melted form, I might add) exactly because it melts. Also, the nacho cheese flavor is pretty good.

I'm a new vegan and the cheese issue is really the most frustrating for me. Thanks for being the community product tester/reviewer! Your insights really help me to make better food choices and develop more creative meals.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Did you cook your broccoli before you put it on the pizza? Thanks

Yes, I steamed it until it was tender but still crisp, then put it on the pizza before baking it in the oven.

Avery said...

I can't STAND FYH!!!

I like Vegan Rella much better!

The Geographical Vegan Says... said...

don't forget to try some scheese!
(it may not be local, but the flavours are unbelievable)

it's a tricky one to melt, but scheese makes a great grilled...scheese..sandwich

NightOwl said...

You have to cook FYH cheese at very high temperatures, 450-500 degrees Farenheit. And broil it too, towards the end, for delicious meltiness. You do have to let it "set" for a bit. I made mini pita pizzas with it today, and it melted beautifully. My husband makes pizza from scratch with it and it is so amazing, omnis don't even know it's the real thing. Don't give up!

NightOwl said...

Oops, meant to say "omnis don't even know it's NOT the real thing"!

LadyRachelLynn said...

Have you thought of just leaving off the cheese toppings and loading the pizza with veggies? When I was younger and we were fully vegan this is what we did and no one really missed the cheese so long as the pizza was covered with veggies (which I do now even if I add cheese).

I'm sorry you didn't like the FYH cheese. Yah for Schmoo eating the broccoli first though!

Susan said...

I have to agree with Avery on the Veganrella. My DOG even refused the FYH! He ate the food my daughter scraped into his bowl and left the "cheese"! We have used the cheddar and mozzerella flavored veganrella for different things like quesadillas, tacos, bagel pizzas, etc.

jurisdrdre said...

i concur. you have to put in under the broiler for a couple minutes at the end. it gets seriously melty. or you can shred it, add a little soy milk, and make it into sauce over the stove and then pour it on your pizza and eat it after it hardens a bit again~ yum!!! AND last but not least, the mozzerella is flavorless but the monterey jack is amazing!

Aarwenn said...

Get the Monterey Jack! It's LOADS better than the Mozz!

Also, I am now so addicted to FYH that I, too, will eat slices off the block. My favorite way is to make "cheese" toast, which involves toast spread with EB, marinara, or pesto, slices of FYH Monterey Jack on top, and then stuck under the broiler for about five-seven minutes, and then sprinkled (covered) liberally with nutritional yeast. YUM YUM YUM.

Jody from VegChic said...

My thoughts after reading you post were the same as the others.

1. Grate it finer
2. Melt it

Otherwise, that looks like a great lunch for Schmoo.

I like veganrella which most people despise and I also dig FYH. Perhaps it is an expectation thing. In the past, when I tried new foods I wanted them to taste like their non vegan counterparts.

Now, that isn't the case. I just enjoy it for the flavor/taste that it is.

Cheese was likely an acquired taste for anyone before they were vegan. Perhaps it takes a couple of tries to like the new stuff.

Here's a question I pose to people sometimes. When an omni tries FYH and say yuck, it doesn't taste like Cheddar or Mozzerella then I ask them: What if you grew up eating FYH or other soy cheese, do you think cheese made from milk would taste odd to you?

We just get used to certain flavors and sometimes it is hard to break habits. Of course that doesn't apply to everyone, maybe some people really just don't like the taste.

For instance, I despise the taste of raw green peppers!

Aubade said...

I'm surprised you didn't like the FYH, I'm really picky and I enjoy it. Inmho the mozz & montery jack are good, but the cheddar tastes like toes- I can't eat that one.

Really, although you can't beat the convience of something pre-made, in the end I still think its best to make your own from Joanne Stepaniak's "The Uncheese Cookbook". I was lucky to find it when I first became vegan- thank goodness or I probably never would have made it these 9 years. I especially love the muenster, gooda, gee whiz, onion dill horseradish..oh heck, I like ALL of them! And they make fantastic grilled chreeze sandwiches...

Linda L. said...

OK Jennifer I have wondered, sorry if this has been covered before. Were you ever non-vegan and is that the tastes you compare with, when you try vegan "meat" and "cheese" products - or is it simply your expectations of a delicious taste and texture?
Linda

wronskian said...

i use it when i make pizza, and with the method i use, it's EXACTLY like real cheese. even non-vegans couldn't tell the difference.

here's how to do it:

- put the cheeze on last (don't put toppings on top of it)

- drizzle with olive oil (VERY important- don't omit! this helps the cheeze melt and brown)

- put it in the middle rack of a 400 degree oven (no need to put right under the broiler)

- bake long enough so that the toppings and crust are cooked as desired (maybe 12-15 minutes)

- now change the oven setting to broil (on highest heat, if your oven has different heat options for broil)

- leave it for about 3 minutes (keep an eye on it) until bubbly, gooey, and slightly golden

this method results in a gooey, "cheesy" pizza just like the ones made with real cheese.

Veg-a-Nut said...

Hi Jen, I have found that if I freeze it then is grates into little pieces and melts better. I tried it with bigger strands and had to mash it with a fork when it came out of the oven. Bought the nacho flavor and don't like the smell of it so I wasted it and threw it away before really tyring it. It smelled like dirty feet. So Gross! I have never tried the tofutti because of the transfat and never had vegerella that everyone is talking about. Wonder if it has transfats. hmmm The good thing, your broccoli looks wonderful. I can't get enough of it!

Katie said...

Oh dear, did you guys taste it raw? It's pretty bad raw. And it takes awhile to melt properly, but once it does it's okay. Stay away from the cheddar flavor, though.

Sarah said...

I don't like FYH either. I could stand it on pizza, but meh.

Now that I've had Sheese, I will never need to try other brands. The shipping charge is downright painful, but the smoked cheddar is worth it.

BTW, when I did the FYH pizza, I had good luck by slicing paper thin strips and placing them on the pizza, rather than grating it. Melted perfectly.

Twisted Cinderella said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE FYH cheese. My favorite is the Nacho flavor. I always grate it and melt it though. I have never even tried it raw. I love it too much melted.

Autumn said...

we use this stuff too! i just bought some today to make pizza for friday :)

Rebecca said...

I have never had the Veganrella, but I agree the FYH isn't that tasty, I would guess that it does better hot in a melty dish. I like the Vegan Slices I can get in the health food section of our reg G-store, http://www.galaxyfoods.com/default.asp
The ones marked "VEGAN" I make grilled sandwiches with those. It is more like common "american" style cheese slices. I saw one called "Smart Beat" (I think by Smart Ballance)that looks maybe worth trying.

sarakoopa said...

My almost 3 year old daughter loves the FYH cheese. I only buy the monterey jack though. I think it is pretty gross raw but she is always asking for more. I figured it was because she has always been vegan. Even after 12 years, I am not a real fan of any vegan cheese but do enjoy a little on pizza, burgers, or nachos. Oh, and PARMA tastes great on pizza and is easy to recreate.

Neva Vegan said...

Seems to work better for me on pizza if I melt it first in the microwave and then put a small amount on the unbaked pizza, then bake. It kind of grosses me out in gobs on the pizza.

Also, for mac'n'cheese with FYH, mix in a dollop of the good kind of Tofutti cream cheese too (there's one with no trans fats) and melt them together--creamier texture that way.

b said...

ooooo that looks delicious! I'm looking for recipes to feature on my website if you are interested I will credit and link your site. email me b@burtonlancaster.com

vibinvegan.com

The Veggie Vixen (Formerly The Garden of Eatin' by Sweet Pea) said...

Re:
Lentil Rice Balls
Hi Jennifershmoo, I tried making the Lentil Rice Balls today and they would not stick together. Any suggestions?

Jennifershmoo said...

Since you provided no specific information on what you did, I don't really have any specific advice for you. Maybe your ingredients were too wet and you should have added more flour. Maybe they were too dry and not cooked enough. How can I know? The recipe has been tested by myself and other people and has been quite a success.

Cat said...

Jennifer,
I am so happy that Shmoo gets an Equal Exchange Mini chocolate bar in his lunch! We love them in my house, too -- their very dark chocolate bars and baking cocoa are also vegan and soooo good. www.equalexchange.coop

thanks for all of your creative cooking, and for working to promote sustainable vegan lifestyles!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hello Jennifer, I've just come across your blog and read about Sheese. What a novice, but I'd never heard of it! Have emailed the suppliers and will wait with bated breath to see if I can get it in France!
Thank-you
Pigx

jenni said...

I don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but if you add some fresh , or in a pinch, granulated, garlic to the FYH Mozz cheese it is worlds tastier.

but then, I haven't tried the sheese and don't remember if I like the tofutti slices...

Christina said...

When I make pizza with FYH cheesy-stuff, I usually use mini frozen crusts like the ones available from French Meadows, add sauce, veggies, and other toppings, then pinch off pieces (usually about 1/4 of the block for one personal pizza)and flatten the pinched pieces between my thumb and index finger before placing them on the pizza. It looks sort of like goat cheese before I bake it. Then I broil the pizza until the FYH cheesy stuff is melted, probably 15 minutes (there's no need to bake then broil since the crust is already pre-baked).

And I ALWAYS use the montery jack flaor for pizza, although the cheddar flavor isn't so bad. Mozzerella is very blah.

I also make (more adult) mini pizzas on pita bread with a parsley pesto, homemade tofu feta, blanched arugala, sautéed mushrooms and onions. They're beautiful and spring-y.

DonnaW said...

Thy FYH cheese is best showcased as a melted cheese. It's awesome when you follow a tradition mac-n-cheese recipe and use the FYH cheddar. So gooey, creamy, & delicious.

Sara said...

I love the FYH cheese. But it doesn't melt that easily. It has to be heated to at least 500, maybe 550 in the oven, and then it takes awhile (you have to worry about burning the crust). but it melts in less than a minute in the microwave for some reason.

when it melts, the texture is better.

Kes said...

What a great page to encourage kids to eat good food that is good for them! Thanks, Kes

Kamagrian said...

I feel quite lucky right now as I live in Scotland and Sheese is very easy to get here (obviously!), but I first heard of FYH a few years ago when living with someone on a non-dairy diet. She really misses melty cheese dishes so I tried emailing FYH to buy some of the Vegan Gourmet, only to be told there were no British stockists and the shipping costs were so astronomical the company wouldn't consider it unless I bought a case! So I never did get to try it...

Since then, Cheezly has been released in some 'Super Melting' versions, which have been a lifesaver at times when I can't eat any dairy at all. :D And of course, I still have my Sheese...

Laura Kennedy said...

it cracked me up because me and Boyfriend got Follow Your Heart to make pizzas because the packaging said, "it really melts!"

it should have said, "it really melts eventually!'

by the time that it melted our crusts burned.

when it finally melted it tasted really good, but we had to melt it then let it set back up.

still, yummy first try at vegan pizzas!

red said...

thank you



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