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If You’re reading this, chances are you’re a fan of feta cheese. But you’re most likely here because you’re trying to eat what’s right for you and not necessarily what appeals to you. In that case, this right here is where you’ll find the best substitutes for feta cheese that’ll meet your requirements.
We all need to tend more to our food habits in the hope of making better decisions whenever we’re choosing nutritious products. But it’s understandable how that can be somewhat difficult, especially for anyone spending most of their day away from home working. Giving up your favorite, yet not-so-healthy, foods won’t be an appealing idea. After all, if it was healthy, we’d all be consuming Ice Cream all day long. I’d even go the extra mile and prepare a Gingerbread House and a Chocolate Fountain if it was up to me.
All of that can be adjusted if approached from the right way. It’s preferable to try and make subtle changes in our food choices instead of forcing a big alteration to the diet.
One great way of doing that is trying to find substitutes for your favorite unhealthy foods. Since Feta cheese is high in calories and sodium, it definitely falls into this category. What’s great about this is that most people how no problem with it and actually commit to the healthy change that occurs.
So let’s get back to feta cheese. Here’s the deal up front; you won’t really find anything that can give the same strong tangy taste that you’ll get from it, but there are still substitutes worth taking a look at.
Even though it won’t be as similar as you’d hope it to be, you can rest assured that all the substitutes that we’ll be listing have less sodium and fewer calories. If you ask us, that’s a pretty good bargain.
Let’s Talk a Bit About Feta Cheese
This is a traditional Greek food. It can be made by either using pure sheep’s milk or even by mixing it up with goat milk. The word “feta” itself is actually derived from the Italian word “fetta” which means “slice”. Don’t reach to your Milkshake Maker, we’re talking cheese here.
Let’s talk about the texture and the taste. The taste is strong. It’s very particular, tangy and salty. There’s no exterior shell on the surface; it’s soft, it has no holes and can easily crumble.
It’s quite abundant with nutrients. It also makes for a great candidate to anyone looking for substitutes for cow’s milk because of an allergy or any kind of sensitivity to dairy products. This cheese isn’t hard on the stomach, and the mixture of both goat and sheep milk gives it an irresistible taste.
If we go into further detail, it’ll be tricky to go over everything seeing how the nutritional value of feta cheese differs from one brand to the other. But here’s what you should know: It’s a full-fat cheese that comes with a whole lot of sodium (~260mg/serving).
Also, you should know that feta cheese made from raw milk would contain more nutrients and have a better flavor than the one made from pasteurized milk.
So in reality, we wouldn’t call it an unhealthy food, but it should not be eaten frequently. But if you suffer from a condition that obligates you to monitor your calorie, saturated fat or sodium levels, then you should probably stay away from feta.
Besides that, anyone with histamine intolerance should also keep away from the cheese. Histamine is one of the substances found in feta cheese. Anyone suffering from the condition may experience unpleasant symptoms after ingesting the cheese. So, if you notice irregular sweating, hives or swelling, then you should probably put this dairy product down and make an appointment with a doctor.
Don’t be brought down by all of this. The whole point of this article is to help you pass these downsides. The substitutes that we’re about to list will hopefully do just that.
The Best Healthy and Nutritious Feta Cheese Substitutes
#1 – Ricotta
Ricotta is prepared from the residue left from cheese made out of goat, sheep or cow milk. So it’s a dairy by-product.
When it comes to the flavor, this one is the closest it can get to the feta cheese. Obviously, it’s way less salty than feta. Besides that, it has this sweet aspect to it that will surely generate mixed opinions about it. But hey, to each his own.
Of course, you can add salt from your Salt and Pepper Grinder Set to it whenever you feel like it. But then, there won’t be a point of eating ricotta instead of feta if you’re trying to avoid high sodium intake.
Now, for the texture, you won’t make any distinction between the two. Ricotta, just like feta is characterized by a soft, crumbly nature. So if you’re thinking of using it for Pasta or salads instead of feta, get your Salad Dressing Shaker and Salad Spinner and go right ahead.
But, you should know that this is not an ideal substitute, unfortunately. Ricotta ranks pretty high when it comes to the number of calories. It’s also no good for anyone with high cholesterol. So because of that, it’s highly advised that you eat ricotta only occasionally to get all the great minerals and vitamins without any of the health risks.
#2 – Queso Fresco
This cheese is Mexican-made. What makes it an excellent choice to be a feta replacement is the similar salty and tangy flavor. Anyone with cow milk allergy needs to keep in mind that this cheese is made out of unpasteurized cow’s milk.
Besides the similar taste, what great about it is that it’s significantly lower on both the fat content and the amount of sodium. The cheese’s mild and fresh taste is best complemented by salads or eggs. It can also be put in good use for making amazing enchiladas.
Now the texture isn’t as similar as the taste. Fresco has more of a creamy nature compared to feta. If you’re going to heat it up, don’t expect it to melt, it’ll instead grow softer. And if you’re planning on getting some of it, get only the amount that you’ll need for that particular day. Storing Queso Fresco cheese for longer than two days will significantly alter the texture and flavor.
#3 – Mozzarella
When Mozzarella was first prepared, buffalo milk was used to make it. But in today’s world, you can see how that can be difficult to make happen. So, as you can guess, people started using cow milk to produce it.
It goes without saying that mozzarella is one of the most known kinds of cheese around the world. That of course, is because it’s one of the main ingredients of Pizza (you know what that is). But Mozzarella shouldn’t just be kept in the small pizza box. It can be used in such versatility that it would perfectly complement seafood, salads, and meats.
The texture of mozzarella isn’t similar to feta. Mozzarella is a moist and soft curd cheese. It can be chopped into small parts. So, do not go with this substitute if you’re not okay with the change of texture.
Similarly to feta, Mozzarella has a lot of saturated fat, so if you have any cardiovascular condition, stay away from it. That being said, one great thing about mozzarella is the high amount of fat-soluble vitamins that it packs. We’re talking about things like vitamin A, D and E. It’s also not a salty as feta.
But for anyone worried about the fat intake, you’ll be happy to know that there’s now a wide variety of mozzarella brands that address this issue. You’ll find the low-moisture, low-fat and affumicata. You can even prepare it at home by yourself.
#4 – Tofu
This one here is a substitute for our vegan readers and those suffering from lactose intolerance. If you’re staying away from dairy products yet you miss the lovely flavor of feta cheese, tofu might just be the thing for you.
There are several reasons as to why you’d want to get yourself some tofu. It’s completely free of all things dairy, it’s low on saturated fat, it can help in reducing bad cholesterol, and it packs only a few calories.
Tofu is prepared through curdling raw soy milk. Seeing how it’s basically tasteless, it can absorb and acquire almost any kind of flavor you wish it to have. So if you’re looking for feta-flavored tofu, you can make it yourself!
Tofu Feta Recipe
- About 10 oz of pressed tofu
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
- 2 lemon juice tablespoons
- 1 oregano tablespoon
How to prepare
- First, you’ll have to take the tofu out of the package, drain it, put it on a kitchen towel and then commence to press it using a heavy object. Keep it like that for 30 minutes or until you notice that it has become firmer.
- Now prepare a marinade. Take the lemon juice, water, oregano, and vinegar and mix them in a big bowl
- Make the tofu into small cubes and put it in the marinade. Put the bowl in the fridge for 2 hours after you cover it. (the longer, the better)
- It’s ready to be eaten!
#5 – Goat cheese
Seeing how feta itself is made up of 30% goat milk, it only makes sense to look for substitutes made entirely of goat milk. Goat cheese is not as salty as feta, and it also has fewer calories in comparison.
The texture is also not the same. Goat cheese is softer than feta. So that means that you spread it over bread or eat it with some tasty crackers. But know that the older the goat cheese gets, the harder it’ll become. So look for that if you’re looking for a firm texture.
You’ll also be able to find different flavors for goat cheese, from mild to strong, and that creates more choices for different people. Don’t forget to put it in the fridge when you’re not using it seeing that it would dry out quickly. Make sure to wrap it up before you do so for better results.
We, as food consumers, are always going to be different. Sometimes we have different tastes, and sometimes we enjoy the same thing but can’t have it for one reason or another. Because of that, it’s good to know that, somewhere in the world of food, there’s always something that can accommodate our needs and satisfy our taste buds. So when it comes to feta cheese, we hope that we gave you all the help that you’d need.
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!