Amazing and Surprising Feta Cheese Substitutes You Can Add to Your Dishes
You probably know that feta cheese originates in Greece. It is actually Greece’s favorite cheese and it’s a component of the famous Greek salad.
It’s even mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, that’s how far back the tradition goes! Made from goat and sheep’s milk and kept in salty brine in barrels for up to six months, feta cheese has an acidic, tangy, salty taste and a unique flavor.
Feta can’t be mistaken for anything else. Yet, there are plenty of other cheeses you can mix into your recipes if there’s no feta around. We’ve got together some vegan and dairy-free replacements for feta cheese. And if you’re in love with some recipes that contain feta but could actually go for another type of cheese, we’ve got you covered too!
Get him to the Greek!
It could be the grass the sheep and goats eat in Greece. It could be the salty air or maybe the turquoise color of the sea that makes this cheese so good! Not only is it tasty but it also has a lower fat content than most cheeses.
Due to the fact that it contains locally fed goat and sheep’s milk, feta is easy to digest and can trigger fewer allergies than other types of cheese. Because it’s cured in brine for several months, feta gains a tangy, rich, mildly fermented taste. It’s filled with protein, vitamins, probiotics and, let’s face it, it’s totally delish!
Yet, not everybody appreciates its flavor. And if you’re someone who would rather go for no cheese at all than try Feta, you can still enjoy the recipes that use it. Just with another cheese.
Or a vegan substitute for that matter! There are plenty of Feta cheese substitutes that have similar taste, texture, and uses, don’t go dismissing those recipes just yet! Hear us out! Well, read us out!
Go for these feta cheese substitutes!
A great addition to your salad with its mildly salty taste. A great filling for your pastry due to its creamy and crumbly texture. A fabulous garnish to your veggies and meats, to add some tanginess and flavor. A delicious topping for omelettes, pizzas, pasta, fries, and even a burger. A surprising topping to your fish and shrimp, making them bubble and extra flavorsome. There are so many ways in which feta cheese can be the perfect cheese for your dishes, including the famous Greek saganaki.
While feta means slice in Greek (coming from the Italian word fetta) there are many people who wouldn’t even want the tiniest slice of this cheese. If you have an aversion to feta’s strong flavor or maybe you simply don’t have any left in the fridge and you’re wondering what could replace it, or maybe you’ve gone vegan, there are plenty of ways to get around a recipe! Try these amazing, finger-licking feta cheese substitutes!
1. Cottage Cheese
What cheese can replace feta and cut back on sodium and fat content? Well, if you’re looking for that crumbly feta texture but dislike its taste and you’re watching your salt intake, cottage cheese is the way to go!
It has a rich flavor and while it’s healthier it still contains the same amount of protein. Works great in lasagna, meat, burgers, salads, pasta, and pizza and even in desserts. Are you also craving a slice of creamy cottage cheesecake?
2. Goat’s Cheese
Goat cheese can easily replace feta since the taste is quite the same. Feta cheese actually contains about 30% goat’s milk. While feta is fattier and unctuous, the tartness of goat’s cheese makes it a good alternative to feta.
They do differ when it comes to texture: feta is crumbly while goat cheese is rather creamy and can be easily spread. However, if you choose aged goat cheese, you’ll get the crumbly texture as well.
4. Queso Fresco
This Mexican cheese, queso fresco, resembles feta when it comes to its crumbly texture, although it has a creamier side to it. When it comes to taste, it rather has a mild aroma. Since it’s made from fresh, unpasteurized milk, it lacks the same tangy, intense, fermented, and matured taste you find in feta cheese.
Queso Fresco has a lower fat content than feta cheese. It makes a great topping for dishes such as pizza, pasta, and gratins, but keep in mind that it turns soft and creamy rather than crusty. And don’t forget, it’s a great addition to burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas.
A Greek cheese in origin (well, to be fair, it has its origins in Cyprus), halloumi is made from sheep and goat’s milk. And the resemblance to feta stops right there. While feta is salty, halloumi is rather mild in flavor, sweet and unctuous, making it the perfect addition to melting, bubbly crust recipes: yes, to pizzas, puddings, pasta, and everything au gratin.
While feta and halloumi have a similar flavor, when it comes to texture they differ. Feta is crumbly and halloumi is rather firm.
Its mild sweet aroma, its firm texture, and its high melting point make halloumi a dish in itself. So simply grill it and serve it salty or sweet with some nuts and honey!
We’re pretty sure the French will not be happy about this swap. However, Roquefort can replace feta since it has a similar flavor (it’s made from sheep’s milk).
It also has a tangy taste, a similar odor, albeit stronger than its Greek counterpart, and a crumbly texture. This blue cheese can easily be added to any recipe: in salads, in gratinated crusts, all over pizzas and pasta, and in sweet and salty desserts. Oh, yum!
If you like feta but prefer a milder-tasting cheese, go for this Greek one! Also made from sheep and goat’s milk, Mizithra does not come with the same tang as feta. Add it to salads but make it the star of pasta, au gratin veggies, pizzas, and puff pastry.
This Mexican cheese is more similar to parmesan but can equally substitute feta as well. Made from cow’s milk, it has a crumbly texture and a stronger, more pungent aroma than parmesan.
Extra tip: if you’re looking to add some melting, bubbling texture to your dish, Cotija might not be your best match.
If you have to reduce your sodium intake and rather fancy a sweet-tasting cheese, go for this Italian cheese. It’s creamy and milky and it can be successfully added to salads, pasta, pizzas, omelets, burgers, soups, pastry, and well, anything that originally contained feta cheese.
While you wouldn’t think so, ricotta is the closest feta substitute in terms of flavor. And it also contains plenty of whey protein, making it a great muscle builder!
This blue cheese has a tart, pungent, and tangy taste, just like feta only stronger. Unlike its Greek friend, this Italian cheese is rather soft and creamy. It pairs great with pasta, salads, pizza, fruit, tomatoes, and veggie soups and it really, really makes your mac and cheese or cheese melt sandwich a work of art.
Actually, we recommend combining a sweet and tangy tomato and basil soup with a great cheddar and gorgonzola melt! Yum!
If you want to get the same flavor as feta cheese, a young, white cheddar can provide the same aroma. Make sure to adapt your recipes since this British cheese can be more pungent than feta.
While feta is a curdled goat and sheep’s cheese, mozzarella is made from cattle milk (cows or water buffalos).
It has a sweet aroma and a mild taste and its texture is rather soft and gooey as it contains a lot of moisture. If you’re not a fan of feta’s texture and you want to cut back on sodium, this is your go-to cheese.
It works great as a topping and filling, providing a melting, bubbling crust. While you may think it’s only suitable for the popular pizza, mozzarella can also be a great addition to salads, meats, seafood, and sandwiches. Just give it a go!
12. Panela cheese
Another Mexican substitute for feta cheese is panela. While the taste does resemble its Greek equivalent, the texture comes closer to halloumi, since it’s rubbery and chewy. FYI, there are also more dried and crumbly textured panela cheeses if feta is out of your reach.
Dairy-free Feta Cheese Substitutes
The famously pickled curd cheese is not everyone’s favorite. While some adore it, others can’t stand it. And many more can’t eat it due to dietary restrictions. Such categories (lactose intolerant and vegan) can now enjoy their feta-based fav dishes without the feta! Check out these vegetarian feta cheese substitutes!
If you refrain from dairy or you’ve chosen a vegan lifestyle, tofu can easily replace feta. It crumbles just like feta cheese and if you keep it in a salty brine, you’ll get the taste as well. While you may associate tofu with Asian cuisine, this soy ingredient can easily replace any dishes in which feta cheese would be used, making it the perfect vegetarian substitute.
It’s made by curdling fresh soy and it has a firm texture that easily crumbles, just as feta does. FYI, keep reading and you’ll find out just how to make your tofu (or any other vegan cheese) get that tangy, fermented taste you love about feta! And for all of you healthy eaters: tofu is low in saturated fat content and calories, which makes it great for reducing cholesterol and trimming up your figure.
2. Cashew/Almond Cheese
Another great vegan option is cashew cheese. It has a gentle, mild taste and a nice nutty, deep flavor. Almond cheese is also a great suggestion if you love feta but are lactose intolerant or vegan. It has the same consistency and crumbly texture and a great aroma.
3. Nutritional Yeast
A great option if you’ve gone vegetarian or want to cut down on your calorie intake. While it’s neither cheese nor vegan cheese, nutritional yeast adds the perfect flavor of feta when sprinkled and added to your food. And let’s not forget it’s rich in Vitamin B12 as well as adding nutritional value to your gut bacteria.
How to make your own vegan feta cheese:
When it comes to feta cheese substitutes adequate for a vegan lifestyle, you can make your own healthy cheese at home. These recipes will taste like feta cheese and are 100% vegetarian! All you need:
- 10 ounces pressed tofu
- Half a cup of apple cider vinegar
- Dry oregano (about 1 tablespoon)
- Half a cup of water
- One or two tablespoons of lemon juice
- Oregano or basil
Make sure to press the Tofu for a couple of hours in order to drain it. Prepare a marinade out of the ingredients above and place the tofu in it. You can cut it into cubes so that it will marinate faster. You can leave the tofu in this brine in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days. You’ll get that feta cheese taste and tang and no lactose!
Extra tip: you can then keep the obtained feta cheese in aromatic olive oil or in the brine and oil left from Kalamata olives.
- 10 ounces pressed tofu
- 2 spoons nutritional yeast
- 2 spoons of miso paste
- Half a cup of apple cider vinegar
- Two tablespoons of lemon juice
- Extra salt
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 5 spoons of coconut oil or melted vegan butter
Place everything into a blender and mix together until you get a smooth texture. Make sure to taste it and add more salt if needed in order to obtain that briny feta taste.
Place the silky-smooth mixture into a bowl or glass container in the fridge and let it firm overnight. After that, you can cut it into cubes or slices, just like feta cheese. Keep it in salty brine or, even better, in olive oil flavored with herbs and spices, stored in your fridge.