Fake cheese has come a long way since those plasticky, soy-based and (let’s face it) kinda scary vegan substitutes first started popping up in grocery stores a decade ago. Now cheese substitutes are healthier (some even have as much protein as real cheese), classy enough to display on a cheese plate and actually taste pretty damn close to the original. Presenting our three favorites.

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Miyoko's Kitchen

Best For a Cheese Plate: Miyoko's Kitchen Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash

That black stuff is organic vegetable ash, and at first we were concerned it would taste funny. But this sliceable cashew-based cheese has a delightful Gouda-esque flavor that’s complemented by the earthy rind. Serve this guy at your next dinner party and watch it disappear in minutes.

Meltiest: Daiya Cheddar-Style Slices

Unless you’re brand-new to the vegan cheese scene, you’ve probably already heard of Daiya. It’s been available in most grocery stores for years, and it’s still the gold standard if you’re making a vegan grilled cheese or pizza. The slices (made mostly of tapioca starch and coconut oil) melt better than the shreds, and if you add in a little vegan cream cheese, it becomes extra gooey and creamy.

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Most Spreadable: Kite Hill Soft Fresh Truffle Dill and Chive

Like Mt. Vesuvius, this almond-based cheese is also perfectly at home on a cheese plate, but it gets major bonus points for its ability to slice with ease, then spread beautifully on a cracker. Pop a piece in your mouth and it practically melts—its taste and texture is similar to ricotta salata, but with an extra kick of herbs.

RELATED: Dairy-Free Friends, Rejoice: This Almond Milk Yogurt Tastes Exactly Like the Real Thing

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