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What other cheese can replace feta?

kelly Apr 19, 2006 01:38 AM

Can anyone recommend a cheese that would be good in Greek salads, orzo salads, etc, in place of feta? Something sharp, tangy, and with a soft or crumbly texture? Feta is my least favorite of all cheeses but I like to make these kinds of pasta salads. I think the flavor of Pecorino Romano would be great but it doesn't really have the right texture, unless maybe I shaved or grated it.

  1. e
    EclecticEater Sep 29, 2006 06:18 PM

    Try the Mexican crumbly cheese. Its slightly different but works well. Its called cotija. You might develop a taste for it.

    1. k
      kelly Apr 19, 2006 06:23 PM

      Thanks everyone. I bought some ricotta salata and will try that tonight.

      It may be, like some suggested, that I just haven't eaten really good feta. I've only had it when it's been served to me (people's homes, work potlucks, cafes), so I don't even really know what kinds I've had.

      1. c
        Chas Apr 19, 2006 05:39 PM

        I sprinkle grated Pecorino on my salads alot. You can cut the amount of dressing and thereby calories as well. A little pecorino goes a long way.

        1. d
          Davina Apr 19, 2006 05:11 PM

          Try queso fresco, it's wonderful!

          1. k
            KathyR Apr 19, 2006 01:49 PM

            I've had French feta in the past that was smooth and creamy and I liked it a lot better than other sharper feta I've had.

            I would strongly suggest ricotta salata though, because I love that stuff. Just used some up in salads, in fact.

            I'm frightened of queso fresco--just be sure to buy it somewhere reputable. A lot of markets make their own "bathtub cheese." It's just my own fear--may be off base for most of the queso fresco. I'm just squicked out by it.

            1. n
              Niki Rothman Apr 19, 2006 11:17 AM

              Try tastes of different fetas from good shops. If there's a Greek or "European" appetizing or food specialty shop, try that. This is because you shouldn't give up on feta. Yesterday, I made spanakopita and there is no other cheese that will work for this purpose. However, not being able to get my usual wonderful Belgian feta, I bought a locally (Nor. Cal) "artisinal" produced feta that was actually very expensive. I couldn't taste it first because it was shrink wrapped. But the final result was that the spanakopita was way too salty and rough tasting. A really good feta is subtle and smooth. Once you find one you like, you will see how wonderful it truly is for cooking. Once again, the quality of the simplest things makes ALL the difference in cooking.

              1. e
                eLizard Apr 19, 2006 09:37 AM

                Ricotta Salata would be my suggestion. I love it, and it's got the tang and texture you crave.

                1. t
                  Tatania Apr 19, 2006 07:56 AM

                  Soft goat cheese fits your description exactly.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Tatania
                    Niki Rothman Apr 19, 2006 11:20 AM

                    Well, it all depends. I bought a goat cheese that was recommended by the employee of the high-end cheese shop in the SF Ferry Building recently that was so funky I was reminded me of old sneakers.

                    1. re: Niki Rothman
                      Tatania Apr 19, 2006 03:36 PM

                      You're right -- I should have specified the kind of goat cheese I meant: the soft, white cheese you get in logs in most groceries or TJs.

                      That said, we had an aged goat cheese this weekend that was amazing -- the consistency of a parm reg (maybe a little waxier) but with more meaty, less cherry notes than most parm reg (thanks PA!).

                    2. re: Tatania
                      Dizzied Apr 19, 2006 11:43 AM

                      That's exactly what I was thinking -- one of the mild, creamy ones with just a little tang.

                    3. d
                      DanaB Apr 19, 2006 07:09 AM

                      Have you ever tried other varieties of Feta? Sheep's milk fetas are more mild; I've found that if you go to a store that has a decent variety (in California, Whole Foods has a good selection), and try out the different feta cheeses (there's a wide variety in taste and pungency), maybe you will change your tune. Brands they sell in supermarkets tend to be very salty, hard and not too flavorful.

                      The other posters' suggestions of ricotta salata and mexican varieties are good ones. I'd be interested to hear back!~

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: DanaB
                        coll Apr 19, 2006 08:36 AM

                        Bulgarian feta is nothing like Greek, try it if you see it!

                        1. re: coll
                          junglekitte Apr 19, 2006 12:17 PM

                          i second that! i MUCH prefer bulgarian feta to all the rest. but be warned its also a bit saltier and more intensely flavored (you need much less, so good for people watching fat intake)

                          i'd definitely do a taste test with various feta cheeses before you nix them all (if you haven't already) most of them are really flavorless and not worth eating! but some, like bulgarian, and a few others, are so packed full of flavor! yum!

                      2. c
                        coll Apr 19, 2006 06:47 AM

                        I've been using a lot of Queso Fresco lately, I even put it in my baked ziti the other day. Reminds me of Ricotta Salata, which might work too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: coll
                          Aaron Apr 19, 2006 10:36 AM

                          Yep...those were the firs two that came to mind, and I've used both as a replacement for friends who dislike feta.

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