by Karen Joslin January 17, 2020
Note (August 2021): Spero's product line has changed quite a bit since I wrote this review. Some flavors have been discontinued, new flavors have been introduced, and The Egg is on hiatus until 2022. The Goat is still a chèvre-style cheese, while the others are cream cheeses. I've removed information on discontinued flavors and will do a more thorough update soon when I've had a chance to try the new flavors. Stay tuned!
Spero Foods creates stellar vegan cheeses, primarily from seeds, all with a short ingredient list and no weird additives. They're paleo and keto as well.
Producing their products uses far less water and land than dairy or nuts, making Spero’s offerings more sustainable.
Since I took the photo above, Spero has revamped the product names and packaging. They also seem to have discontinued one of the cheeses, The Tomato (originally Sundried Tomato).
In my opinion, they’re the best vegan products that most people have never heard of. (Yet!) Doug, my omnivore dreamboat, also likes Scramblit and loves the chèvres.
Their ingredients don’t contain gluten, soy, or nuts, and Spero’s website used to have a few testimonials from people with nut allergies who love their products.
However, their manufacturing process could result in trace amounts of dairy, gluten, soy, or nuts. So if you seriously need to avoid any of those things, you’ll need to decide for yourself whether to risk it or not.
Now that we’ve covered all that, let’s get into specifics.
All of Spero Foods’ cheeses are made primarily from sunflower seeds. They share these basic ingredients:
* Sunflower seeds
* Coconut oil
* Cultures (vegan)
These are delicious, artisanal cheeses worthy of serving on a cheese board with a good wine.
Current flavors include The Goat, The Herb, The Smoked, The Original, The Cheddar, Smoked Salmon, The Strawberry, and The Chocolate. (Flavors in bold are covered in this review - the others are coming soon.)
The Goat’s only additional ingredient is natural flavors (vegan). I have no idea what they’re derived from, but The Goat’s creamy texture and tangy, slightly musky flavor closely approximates the real thing.
I think you could fool someone into thinking it’s actual goat cheese, especially if it’s in a dish.
It’s an excellent go-to cheese for almost any purpose.
Unlike the rest of Spero’s cheeses, The Herb tastes like The Goat to me, with the addition of herbs.
It might be my imagination, though, because it doesn’t have natural flavors listed in the ingredients. It does have garlic powder in addition to the herbs.
I believe they’ve changed the herb blend a little bit since the first time I tried it. The first time it tasted like Herbes de Provence.
The last time I had it, the amount of herbs had increased, with chives most prominent.
Although The Herb is less versatile than The Goat, it’s my favorite flavor. I love it on a bagel, in sandwiches, in salads, stirred into grits, and with The Egg (scrambled, omelet, or fritatta).
I bet it would also be fantastic in risotto and crèpes.
Nominated for Best Vegan Artisanal Cheese in VegNews’ 2020 Veggie Awards. (Voting is currently underway as I write this.)
Additional ingredients include liquid smoke (hickory), onion powder, and chipotle pepper.
To me, it’s more smoky than spicy. Of course, your experience will depend on how much spicy food you habitually eat and how hot you like it.
The only two ways I’ve used this that didn’t work as well for me were on a bagel and in a quesadilla.
I think it would work in quesadilla, though, if you make it in a pan or a toaster oven, instead of pressing it like I did in my Cuisinart Griddler. (I was vainly hoping it wouldn’t squeeze out of the sides too much, but my hopes were dashed.)
I like to sneak The Smoked into Mexican restaurants and add it to my veganized order.
The nutritional profile is the same for all the cheeses.
Spero lists the serving size as 37 g, which is a little odd since this results in 4.5 servings per package. Usually, a serving size of cheese is considered an ounce, and Spero cheeses contain 6 oz.
So here’s the nutritional breakdown for an ounce of Spero cheese versus an ounce of soft goat cheese (again, numbers have been rounded):
As you can see, Spero comes out ahead in terms of saturated fat content and vitamins/minerals, with the exception of calcium. Which one wins for total fat content, carbs, protein, and fiber is more subjective, based on your particular diet.
At this time, Spero Foods seems to be available only in the U.S. Here’s where you can buy it:
You can also submit a request here for Spero to sell its products in a store near you.
Do you know another place to order Spero Foods? Put it in the comments below!
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