Adventures with Daiya: zpizza, Quesadilla & Native Bowl

Thank You, zpizza.

The first time I tried Daiya, I was in Laguna Beach, CA and had a pizza delivered by zpizza, pictured above. I was in such dislike with this goo on soft crust that I thought I was being tricked with soy cheese with casein.  This new soy-free vegan cheese had just arrived on the scene at Food Fight! in Portland days before, and across the vegan internet, the hype was through the roof.  And it didn’t come across like hype, there seemed no doubt that this vegan cheese was revolutionary.  New and old vegan cheese eaters seemed to be ridiculously impressed.

It’s been released across the country and added to menus like no vegan cheese before it.  In Portland, Mississippi Pizza, Savor Soup House cart, Whiffies (in a vegan meatball pie!) and Native Bowl are all using it so far.

There’s no tricking to melting it.  It does what it’s supposed to. It comes in two flavors, Italian blend and Cheddar style, and I’ve accepted that it’s the new king of the vegan world. Does that mean I have to like it?  Do I simply dislike it? Is it too realistic, channeling too much Velveeta (thanks Maeve, for that)?

On my first post about Daiya, after grilled cheese trials at home and from Savor Soup House, I mentioned my mixed feelings.  On one hand, this is a melty, available vegan cheese making waves and getting real respect (restaurants, consumers and bloggers); on the other, there’s something about the cloying, stick to the roof of your mouth texture and flavor it gets when melted that rubs my taste buds the wrong way. Yet, I actually liked it raw at VegFest.

Onto the adventures.

Quesadilla with Spicy Pinto Bean Spread and Italian Daiya

daiya quesadilla

I was utterly impressed with the melt action! This was so easy and I wanted to like it. Sadly, couldn’t manage more than two bites.  Is there cilantro in the cheese that’s activated once it’s melted?  I’m joking, sorta.

Lunch from Native Bowl in the Mississippi Marketplace, featuring a grilled cheese with Cheddar Daiya, housemade cashew cheese, seitan  and jalapenos.

Native Bowl

This sandwich rocked the house, but I think I could have easily lived without the Daiya: it’s didn’t capture everything in a melty embrace, and that was OKAY! The other ingredients, fine, working with the Daiya, made for an excellent, unforgettable sandwich.  And pickles! Cookie! Love, love Native Bowl.

Final Thoughts:

When I told people about the zpizza experience, I was told a couple tips repeatedly – there was too much cheese and there needed to be more toppings, and that I should try it again in a sandwich.

So, because I don’t want to be the crazy official hater, or called names and kicked out of veganism, and every so often I can bear and appreciate it, I’m trying to think of this new product like an acquired taste and I’m welcoming more tips! Vegans will never live without the gooey cheese sensation again – you’ll tell the next generation stories about this! The pre-Daiya era.

And if you’re a hater, well come here for a hug, because it’s taking over.


  1. i’ve liked it on a few sandwiches where it was very much in the background and it just sorta stuck the sandwich together, but the goopy, mucusyness wasn’t obvious, but as you know, i too am a hater overall. hug!

  2. major dislike over here. I think it could be a too much phenomenon as well. All I know is that my husband and I both think that Cheezly is much better in lasagna.

    There was so much hype I was really excited and then really let down. I know that it actually ruined my lasagna that night, and I love lasagna.

    I’m still willing to give it another try on nachos, sparingly on pizza, or in a grilled sandwich.

    Daiya, what a disappointment.

  3. Daiya’s the first vegan cheese I actually crave. Pizzeria near our apartment in Washington, DC carries it and we often have a spinach-black olive vegan cheese pizza on a particularly busy night.

  4. I’m obsessed with Daiya. I just let it cool for a moment so it’s not as melty. The way you feel about Daiya is the way I felt about Teese. Even now, I can only eat teese on pizza. And only the mozzarella flavor. The cheddar makes me all gaggy.

    I think all vegan cheeses are an aquired taste. Hee hee.

  5. Awww, sorry you didn’t like it. I tried it for the first time several weeks ago, when I decided to make a homemade pizza. I loved it! Maybe it’s because I didn’t use a ton?? We don’t usually like overly cheesy pizza anyway. Could that be the trick? I’m not sure. I’ll have to try it on other stuff too…..I’m always open to any good vegan cheese, especially for pizza.


  6. I am surely buying some at Food Fight this weekend as a Christmas present to myself. ;] I am really intrigued by all the hype and want to see if I should recommend it to friends…especially those in LA with the ability to get it delivered to them!

  7. I am so glad I’m not the only one to dislike Daiya! I was all pumped cuz it finally made its way to MI, so I purchased the Mozz and made (what would have been great sans Daiya) a pizza and made it through a couple bites and felt sick…Too realistic perhaps? I don’t know but no thank you! Hater hug!

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