What is vegetarian cheese?

When you order something vegetarian at a lunch room, you probably get a sandwich or salad with cheese in it. But did you know cheese is actually not vegetarian usually? So all those restaurants are wrong when they serve dishes with cheese in it and say it is vegetarian. Unless they can prove that the cheese is actually vegetarian. Cheese might be the nr 1 food product in the Netherlands, every Dutchie loves it, and many Americans love their "Gouda" too!

What does vegetarian mean

First of all, What does "vegetarian" mean? Most people consider food vegetarian if  no animal has been killed to produce that food product. So with that explanation foods derived from animals, like eggs, milk and butter can be used as the animal has not been killed for it. But some people argue that the production of milk and eggs is also not that humane for the animals and they also refuse to eat that too. So there are many different kinds of vegetarians, that the exact meaning of being vegetarian means something different to each person. On the most extreme end is veganism, and vegan food which means the food has no animal derived ingredients whatsoever. There are vegan cheeses on the market. But I personally don't like "fake" vegan cheese.  A lot of times vegan products are too processed, or are full of fats and/or sugars to make it taste good.

Is cheese vegetarian

Cheese is only vegetarian if vegetarian rennet is used to produce the cheese. Most cheeses use animal rennet. Rennet is a complex of enzymes found in an animals stomach, to digest the mother's milk. These enzymes coagulate the milk. (separate into a solid curds and liquid whey) To get this rennet you have to extract substances from animal stomachs.... (yuck!) They are a byproduct of veal production. So there goes your idea you save an animal by not eating meat...

Vegetable rennet

Vegetable rennet is made from either fungal/bacterial sources or genetically modified micro-organisms. (different plants like figs, nettles, thistles, mallow, and ground ivy (Creeping Charlie) to name a few) Sometimes it is even made from the mold Mucor miehei or soybeans. These plants  also have coagulating properties.

GMO rennet

I was taught that there are even cheeses that are made with GMO (vegetarian)rennet, so besides checking what rennet is used, you should also find out if the cheese is made with GMO ingredients or not. In the Netherlands, organic cheeses and cheeses for export do not have GMO. The cheeses made in the Netherlands and sold in the Netherlands usually do.

READ MORE: The Story behind GMO

READ MORE: About rennet and vegetarian cheese

READ MORE: About vegetarian cheeses

Love, Lonneke
p.s. for the Dutchies: Vegatopia has a list of cheeses sold in the Netherlands and you can read about vegetarian cheeses ( in Dutch).
First published on  July 30th 2013, updated in 2019

Indian Pumpkin coconut soup

Soups are great for the cold days, or just when you are craving a nice nourishing soup!

I like to use coconut milk sometimes to make my soups a bit creamier instead of cream. And since pumpkins are big usually, I like to use half of the pumpkin in a nice oven dish, and the other half to make soup.

Check out the recipe below for my delicious pumpkin soup with coconut,

Love, Lonneke

cooking pumpkinpumpkin soup

Indian Pumpkin coconut soup
A delicious nourishing soup

Cuisine: indian
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 4

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

  • half a pumpkin, cut in pieces
  • half a can of coconut milk
  • 1 cups of water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp indian curry powder
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp pine nuts
  • handful of (alfalfa) sprouts

  1. Cook the pumpkin in enough water until soft.
  2. Turn heat off, rinse pumpkin with cold water.
  3. Take of skin of pumpkin and put back in pan with a cup of water.
  4. Add indian curry powder, fennel seeds and pepper
  5. Add coconut milk.
  6. Stir on medium heat.
  7. When cooking turn on low heat
  8. Use blender to blend soup
  9. For flavoring add salt.
  10. Taste the soup and add any (indian) herb or condiment to your liking.
  11. Serve in a bowl, add a bit of pine nuts & alfalfa to garnish (or anything else you like)


Purple Power Smoothie

While I believe in a diet based on local foods, mostly plant based, I do occasionally use Superfoods. For instance in my smoothie. But while Superfoods are foods that have a high nutritional value, they can be expensive. That's why I eat them one at a time, and in a can't-go-wrong recipe, like a smoothie! You don't have to stock your whole kitchen with Superfoods, but try them one at a time, just like me!

Try this Purple Power Smoothie with Acai powder. Acai Powder comes from Acai berries that come from the Acai tree that is found in the Amazon rainforest. It is high in antioxidants and that means it can reduce the power of destructive free radicals which your body produces as a byproduct. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce the risk of some diseases like cancer.

So enjoy this Purple Power Smoothie any time of the day! (Great as a breakfast smoothie) I added a bit on top of the smoothie for the color :)

Love, Lonneke

Purple Power Smoothie
A smoothie rich in powerful antioxidants due to the acai, and easy to make!

Recipe type: smoothies
Serves: 1

Prep time: 
Total time: 

  • 1 banana
  • 1½ of rice milk
  • 1-2 tsp of acai powder

  1. Mix everything together in a blender until smooth, enjoy!

I add a tablespoon of unsweetened hemp protein for extra protein and/or teff (love grass) for their high nutritional value including amino acids.

You can also use another kind instead of rice milk, like regular, soy, almond or hazelnut milk.


Pear mint smoothie

 This is a recipe for a delicious easy pear mint smoothie!

Pear smoothie
a refreshing smoothie for any time of the day!

Recipe type: smoothies
Serves: 2

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

  • 4 juicy pears
  • 1½ cup of rice milk
  • a handful of organic mint leaves

  1. Cut the pear into cubes without the skin and the seeds.
  2. Add all ingredients into a blender and blend.

If you think the texture is too thick you can add more rice milk.
You can also use almond milk, regular milk or coconut water.

pear mint smoothie

Cashew pudding recipe

It's a true fact that after only one week eating less sugary foods, our body does already respond to it not craving for sugar. But in case you are a big sweet tooth, there is a lot of desserts and sweet treats you could satisfy your craving with. I used to drink a delicious and very nutritious cashew milk as a kind of "dessert" before going to sleep. When making this recipe, I found out a beautiful new version where I can turn the milk into a pudding only by adding less water to it!

So here it goes the cashew pudding recipe :

ingredients cashew pudding

cashew pudding
A delicious and nutritious dessert or snack for when you crave something sweet but healthy!

Recipe type: dessert

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

  • 350 grams of raw cashews
  • 1 tablepoon of coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoon of agave ( or more depending on how sweet you'd like )
  • 1 cinnamon stick or cinnamon powder ( 3 teaspoons in case you prefer to use powder )
  • 3 units of date
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( alcohol free )

  1. Soak the cashew overnight.
  2. then wash the cashews before putting to freeze.
  3. Next day: use the frozen cashews, put them into a good blender together with all the ingredients listed adding a cup of water ( about 200 ml).
  4. Blend it well until you get to a creamy texture.

In case you wanna try the milk version to drink, add 800 ml of water. Shake well before drinking, cause I don't usually drain my milk. It can be stored 4 days in the fridge!!






Brazil Nut Milk Recipe

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If you want to start a healthy diet but you don't know where to start, nut milk is a great way. You can use for your smoothie, oatmeal, coffee, tea, and off course just as it is. So lets get started!

Brazil Nut Milk
A lovely recipe for home made Nut Milk. This recipe contains Brazil Nuts, but you can also use almonds or any other nut.

Cuisine: Healthy Kitchen
Recipe type: Drinks

Prep time: 
Total time: 

  • 2 cups of Brazil Nuts
  • 2 Dates
  • 4 cups of Water
  • 1 tsp of Organic Vanilla Powder
  • 1 tsp of Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt

Milk Base
  1. Put about two cups of Brazil Nuts into your blender.
  2. As a sweetener your can add two dates. You can also use organic honey or sugar.
  3. Add about 4 cups of water depending on the thickness you prefer.
  4. And for some extra flavor I used one teaspoon of Vanilla Powder and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Please make sure you don't use liquid vanilla that contains alcohol.
  5. To bring up the flavor just add a pinch of Salt.
  1. Use a reusable nut milk bag to strain the mixture.

Most nut milk bags are reusable, they can be used for nut milks and straining juices. A bag is much easier and faster than using a strainer. The fine mesh material minimizes sediment and allows for sprouting of even the smallest of seeds and grains.


Chocolate Cashew Milk

I love chocolate! Who doesn’t?! Ever since I have discovered  a raw food, I've been making this chocolate “milk” shake every other day as a treat. Also, if you are trying to cut back on a coffee, this Cashew Chocolate Milk is a good “wakeup” drink for breakfast or before workout.

The ingredients are all raw and unprocessed. It is dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free and guilt –free.

Raw cacao is one of the top 10 superfoods. Raw chocolate is packed with antioxidants, giving you a healthy looking skin. In addition, raw cacao offers a powerful boost of phenyl ethylamine (PEA) and anandamide, which promotes happy and positive feelings. Raw chocolate is also a good source of manganese, zinc, cooper, iron, magnesium and omega-6 fatty acids.

In this recipe I use cashew nut butter. It tastes so good in this recipe that I highly recommend to include it! Cashews are excellent for your health: good source of protein, rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which protect you against cardiovascular disease. Cashews are high in copper, manganese and selenium, which protect you from free radicals. In addition, cashews are high in vitamin B-complex.

The ingredients you can find in any health food store:

  • 2 tablespoons cashew nut butter
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1,5 – 2 cups of water
  • pinch of vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt (yes! Salt will help to bring up the flavors!)

Mix everything in a blender. Ready!