Kathryn studies and writes about health, nutrition, and food safety.
Five Alternatives to Feta
Crumbly much like feta
Similar firm texture to feta
Queso Fresco (Mexican)
Tofu (see recipe)
Feta cheese is one of the most popular types of cheese in the world. However, it is also a food that people tend to either love or hate. So what do you do if you're not fond of feta, but you have a recipe that calls for it? Try a feta substitute. Many of these alternatives are similar in texture but not as strong in taste, appealing to people who like feta recipes but have an aversion to that cheese's strong flavor.
This is the number one substitute for feta cheese. It is easy to find in most locations. It has a much different taste than feta, being a sweeter cheese where feta tends to be salty and slightly bitter. The crumbly texture is very similar, though, so it serves the same purpose as feta in many recipes. People who are looking for a recipe substitute that doesn't taste like feta but cooks similarly will find that ricotta is a good choice.
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This type of cheese is very similar to feta. Like feta, halloumi is a Greek cheese. Feta is typically made from sheep's milk but Halloumi is made with a combination of sheep's and goat's milk. Note that there is halloumi packaged in its own brine, and there is a milder version that looks like regular packaged cheese. People who tend to not like feta's taste may find that the milder version of halloumi is a better selection for them.
This is a Mexican cheese that is available to purchase in some parts of the United States. Note, however, that there is a difference between the queso fresco bought in Mexico and that bought here. True queso fresco is made from raw milk, which is not the case in the U.S. due to American concerns about bacteria. That being said, either version is a type of crumbly cheese that can be used as a topping in place of feta. It is milder in taste than feta.
These days there are many different varieties of goat cheese (especially if you have access to a good farmer's market). Goat cheese has similarities to the sheep's cheese or sheep-goat combo that makes feta. Look for a crumbly variety of goat cheese to use as a replacement for feta. The taste will likely be milder than the taste of feta in your recipe.
There are some people who opt not to eat feta cheese because they are vegan and don't want to eat dairy. These days there are many recipes out there for vegan alternatives to cheese. Tofu-based recipes are the most common feta alternative, since tofu can crumble in a manner as feta.
© 2010 Kathryn Vercillo