Feta cheese is known as the best Greek cheese. The cheese story can be traced far back in history to the ‘Odyssey’ by Homer. It is a delicious cheese, but the process used to make it gives it a distinct flavor and texture, unlike other cheeses.
The cyclops Polyphemus is credited with being the first being to make the white cheese. It is salty when you taste it and white in appearance.
In Greek, feta means ‘slice.’ This is the name given to the cheese and could be a reference because it is sliced and placed in barrels, packed in brine. The brine is used to pick and preserve the cheese, ensuring that it stays a lot longer on your shelf than other kinds of cheeses.
To be specific, you can keep it on your shelf for six months longer than most other types of cheese.
In the kitchen, feta cheese is used in many dishes. To find the best substitute for feta cheese, we need to look at its characteristics. That way, we will know what is closest to feta cheese as a substitute.
It is made using about 70% sheep’s milk and 30% goat’s milk. This gives it a distinct taste, combined with the fact that it is put in brine.
Before we start swapping out good old feta for something else, why don’t we find out what kind of benefits you get when you use it.
Many people are hesitant to add this delicious cheese to their recipes because they are afraid of calories. But who wouldn’t be? We are all watching our weight and trying to stay healthy.
Well, once you see what this cheese type gives you, you’ll know why you should use it before you swap it out for something newer.
What are the health benefits of feta cheese?
- Feta has a significantly lower fat content when compared to many peers. If you like cheddar or parmesan cheese, you should start thinking about swapping that out for some feta cheese because it is 21 grams of fat for every 100 grams of cheese. Compare that to cheddar and Parmesan, which have 33 and 29 grams per 100 grams, respectively.
- Feta cheese is less allergenic and easier to digest than its counterparts. It is a great option for those who are allergic to dairy products in general.
- It is a great source of protein if you want to do some muscle building. It is also loaded with probiotics and vitamins.
Now that we know what feta cheese is good for, which substitutes can we try for it?
We have several choices to go with. Let’s get started.
Ricotta will give you a less slaty, less tangy taste than feta cheese. Ricotta is one of the most popular substitutes and is an originally Italian delicacy. It can be used as a topping for pasta and salads plates or anything else that needs feta.
You can use ricotta Salata, which is the aged kind or the normal creamy ricotta. Whichever option you take, you will find that it has less salt than feta, which might mean you have to add some yourself to get that taste.
If you want to make a dish that usually uses fete, ricotta is a great option to reduce the saltiness levels.
Cotija originated from Mexico and is made using cow’s milk. It is named after a town in Mexico, Cotija. The taste is very similar to Parmesan, meaning the Cotija will also work as a great substitute for Parmesan.
As a substitute for feta, you can use about the same amount required in a recipe. It is a crumbling type, which means it tastes stronger than Parmesan. However, like Parmesan, you can get it grated and make it easy to use.
This type is the most similar to feta cheese. How? Well, it comes from Greece. Not just that, it is made from a combination of sheep and goat’s milk, just like feta cheese. This kind of cheese has a high melting point, making it a great option for grilling or frying.
You can think of it as a milder version of feta. There is a very good chance that you might even find that Halloumi is your favorite and prefer it over the feta.
Cottage cheese tastes nothing like feta cheese but, hear us out. It is a great substitute if you are going for texture. If you have a recipe that requires a feta texture and you have no feta, you should consider cottage cheese.
If you want to bring it closer to feta in terms of taste, you should try adding some salt to it and see how that works out. Cottage cheese is rich in flavor and works as a substitute if you do not mind adding some salt to it or a taste different from feta but feels like feta when you touch or eat it.
Queso Fresco is Mexican, like Cotija. It is not easily available in the US, but if you find it on a shelf, buy it because it is one of those cheeses that can stand in for feta. The thing about Queso Fresco is that there is an original type made in Mexico and the US-made version.
The difference between them is the regulations that govern how cheese is made and the bacteria present in the Mexican version. Either version can be used instead of feta. But you should know that it has a milder taste than feta, but it crumbles just as well.
Goat cheese is exactly what the name says it is. It is cheese made from goat’s milk. Even though it seems similar to cheese from cow’s milk, it is a little tart. If you can get really good goat cheese, you will be able to substitute feta cheese.
The popular examples you can use are brie and aged cheddar. The texture is the same as that of cream cheese and is a great ingredient if you want to spread it. The aged version is chalky and can be crumbled for dishes where you normally have feta cheese.
If you are vegan and trying to stay away from dairy, you will need something that is not feta cheese. This is where tofu comes in. Tofu crumbles just like feta. Tofu has a unique taste that goes well with some vegan recipes, which you can find online with relative ease.
Some cooking pros say that if you soak the tofu in some mild saltwater, you can get it to taste a bit like feta. So, there you go. You now have vegan feta essentially.
Do you like blue cheese? Why not replace feta with Roquefort? It is not only one of the most popular cheeses globally; it is made from sheep’s milk, giving it a distinctive tangy taste and crumbly constitution. It has a unique odor as well.
Before you grab a packet of this cheese, there is something you need to keep in mind. You have to be a true fan of blue cheese and the taste it has. If you are not, there is a good chance you might not end up eating the dish you make with this.
Another Greek cheese makes the list! It is made from goat or sheep’s milk. If you are not a big fan of the salty and tangy taste that comes with feta cheese, Mizithra is the way to go. It is milder than feta cheese.
There is also a sweet and mild version. You get to choose which version you would like to go with.
From Italy, the Gorgonzola cheese is a crumbly kind that feels just like feta cheese. It is a blue cheese like Mizithra with a mild flavor. When fresh, it is soft and creamy, but when it ages, it becomes stronger, and the scent is pungent, adding more flavor to your dishes.
It looks a lot like marble and combines well with fruits like grapes. When using the cheese as a feta substitute, you need to be careful because you cannot just substitute feta cheese with an equal amount of Gorgonzola. After all, it is strong.
It would help if you had less of it as a sub for feta.
Nope. There are Danish, Bulgarian, and Austrian feta variations, among others. All you have to do is look at the ingredients and what it tastes like, so you get the best kind. The Greek stuff is made using 70% sheep’s milk and 30% goat’s milk, giving it a very high rating in feta cheeses tested. Make sure you get the right feta cheese.
There will be a reason that will make you substitute your feta cheese. Whatever the reason, consider the health benefits that the substitute brings to you.