Salad is one of those dishes that has become a stereotype associated with diet culture which seems to have sucked all the joy out of what can be a filling and delicious meal.
The great thing about salads is that there are so many varieties and countless ways to make a salad that you love (and they don’t have to be entirely healthy).
Of course, as is the case for most dishes, adding cheese is one of the easiest ways to instantly improve any salad. But like the world of salads, cheese is vast and varied. So, what is the best cheese for a salad?
Cheese that can develop a crumbly texture and have a mild but tangy flavour is the best cheese to pair with your salad. That is why feta is considered to be the best cheese for salad.
Why Is Feta A Good Salad Cheese?
If you have ever ordered a salad at a restaurant, it has probably come with feta as the choice of topping. Or if you have gone to a buffet with a wide range of salad choices, there is no doubt that feta would be amongst that selection.
After all, it is one of the most popular types of cheese used for salad in the world, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, where feta has been used for thousands of years.
Crumbly Texture for the Win!
A large reason that feta cheese is so often used with salads is because of its crumbly texture.
Though the cheese is sold in blocks similar to how it is aged, it is extremely soft and very easy to crumble apart. Like most types of cheese, the texture of feta changes and varies as it is aged.
Feta that has been aged for a short while remains creamy and smooth, while aged feta can develop a grainy texture.
However, regardless of how long it has been aged, all feta is crumbly, which is why no matter where you buy your feta, it is a safe choice for salad as you can easily crumble it into your salad and avoid large, obstructive lumps of cheese in your salad.
Saltiness is Key
The taste of feta also plays into its status as the best cheese for salad.
Traditionally, a mix of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk is used to make feta. Once the cheese has been processed, it is then brined for around 5 weeks.
This is not a long brining time by cheese standards but the natural tanginess of the sheep and goat milk combined plus the salty brine makes for the perfect amount of sharp tang to cut through the more acidic elements of a typical salad.
Other types of cheese are either too tangy or sharp that they overpower the natural taste of the salad. Such intense flavours may work in certain types of salad, but it is the carefully balanced flavours of feta cheese that makes it a far more versatile choice.
4 More Types of Salad Cheese
As perfect as feta may be for a range of salads, it is not always the most affordable choice of cheese, especially if you want to use high-quality feta that will deliver just as much flavour as it will texture.
So here are a few more types of cheese that you can use in your salad instead:
- Parmesan – There are plenty of cheaper parmesan knock-offs in UK supermarkets that deliver just as much sharpness as the protected Parmigiano Reggiano made in Italy. You will find just as many European salad recipes requiring parmesan cheese as you would feta simply because its bitter, nutty, and slightly fruity taste offers a savouriness that instantly improves any salad.
- Cheddar – By far one of the cheapest types of cheese in the UK is cheddar. As a standard cow’s milk cheese, it can add richness and a typical cheesy flavour to your salad but may be overwhelming for overly flavourful salads.
- Mozzarella – When you want the creamy cheese texture without adding too much flavour to your salad, a sprinkle of mozzarella can work wonders. As its main flavour is milk, the wow factor of mozzarella is its extremely creamy texture. Better yet, you can find a cheap mozzarella in most UK supermarkets.
- Halloumi – Like feta, halloumi is a much-loved Mediterranean cheese made mainly from goat and sheep milk. It is a much harder cheese than feta but is incredibly creamy once bitten into. The flavour of halloumi is surprisingly mild and is perfect for those who don’t like the intense sharp tang of feta.
Cheese for Salad FAQs
If you have more questions about cheese and its use in salads, then check out these FAQs:
Yes, you can! In fact, a popular salad is blue cheese, walnuts and pears. The sweetness of pears and the nuttiness of walnuts balance the blue cheese perfectly.
Of course! One of the most popular salads in Italy is basil, tomato and mozzarella sliced and layered on a plate. Baby mozzarella pearls are perfect for salads too.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.