18 Dairy & Vegan Feta Cheese Substitutes for Healthy Recipes

Feta cheese is a tasty staple in many Mediterranean dishes. However, there are excellent replacements if you can’t get your hands on it or don’t eat it.

There are plenty of options, so don’t bail on your Greek salad because there was no feta around.

It isn’t just about a substitute, but you want a good substitute for feta cheese so you can still be happy with the result of your dish.

Dairy Substitute for Feta Cheese

Here are the top 14 dairy substitutes for feta cheese for those looking for a similar option.

1. Goat Cheese

goat cheese

Is feta and goat cheese the same thing?

Goat cheese is very similar to feta in that it crumbles and can be a tasty topping for many dishes. But they are different.

The main difference is in texture. Goat cheese is much creamier, while feta is a bit drier.

Goat cheese is slightly sweeter than feta, but the flavors aren’t too far off, which is why this is our number one substitute for feta cheese. Because of how the cheese crumbles, it is an excellent option on a Greek salad or Mediterranean sandwich.

2. Halloumi

halloumi

Like feta cheese, halloumi [1] comes from the Mediterranean and has a similar flavor palette to feta cheese.

Halloumi comes from Cyprus despite going by its Greek name and has its roots in Mediterranean meals.

Like feta cheese, halloumi has a very high melting point making it great for baked dishes like the popular Baked Feta trend on the internet. Slice halloumi cheese into small chunks to resemble crumbled feta.

3. Cotija

cotija

Cotija is an aged cheese that originates from Mexico. It crumbles just like feta cheese does and offers a saltier, milky flavor.

The texture falls somewhere in the middle of feta and goat cheese because it is moister than feta but not nearly as creamy as the goat.

Cotija is aged, but the younger the cheese is, the closer it will resemble traditional feta cheese. Look for ‘young cotija’ to get a cheese closer to feta, as older cotija closely resembles parmesan in its dryness.  

4. Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is the product of cheese curds. Its texture is rather soupy and very moist. Cottage cheese is on the sweeter side, while feta cheese is much saltier.

Because cottage cheese lacks the sharp saltiness of feta, sometimes adding an extra pinch of salt to the dish helps keep the flavor profile consistent.

Substituting cottage cheese for feta cheese is a good idea in pasta dishes where the cheese will be mixed into the meal and blended into the flavors. It’s also a super nutritious [2] option!

BTW, cottage cheese can also be a good substitute for yogurt.

5. Queso Fresco

queso fresco

Queso fresco is a crumbly Mexican cheese that works well as a substitute for feta cheese. The crumbly texture mimics feta’s, but queso fresco has a milder flavor that isn’t as rich.

It is always white cheese which is why the flavor isn’t as robust as feta.

However, it is an excellent substitute for dishes like Greek salad or savory Mediterranean pie. The dry texture of queso fresco is possibly the closest to the feta’s level of moisture.

6. Ricotta

ricotta

Ricotta is an Italian cheese [3] that is often used in lasagnas. The cheese is creamy with a significant texture that resembles a grainy quality or grittiness.

Because of how creamy this cheese is, it doesn’t crumble in the same way as feta.

Ricotta isn’t best used as a substitution for a feta cheese topping because you can’t sprinkle it over something. It works very well in spinach pies or other fully-cooked feta dishes.

As ricotta lacks the sharp flavor of feta, an extra pinch of salt can help the flavors come out.

Further reading: 5 Best-Rated Ricotta Cheese Reviews

7. Panela Cheese

panela

Panela cheese is a mild, light cheese that originated in Latin America.

The cheese crumbles, but not quite as well as queso fresco. The texture is generally smooth with some graininess, just like ricotta. Instead of soft cheese, panela cheese is firm and typically round.

It has a high melting point like feta, so it subs well in recipes that use feta as a topping that goes in the oven.

Like halloumi, panela can be pan-fried and will sear well, so it is another good choice for Baked Feta recipes without the feta.

8. Paneer

paneer

Paneer is an Indian cheese made from curdled milk. It is often used as a meat replacement in Indian dishes but can also act as a good substitute for feta cheese!

It is set in acid, like lemon juice, which has caused it to be deemed the Indian cottage cheese.

Paneer doesn’t have much flavor on its own, so it is best as a substitute for dishes that use feta cheese along with a heavy sauce, like a pasta dish or baked pie.

9. Mizithra

mizithra

Mizithra is similar to ricotta cheese but is a Greek cheese derived from sheep’s milk or goat’s milk.

Most mizithra is a fresh cheese, but it is also available in a dried version depending on the dish you are making.

It has a distinct salty flavor that isn’t far off from feta’s taste. Fresh mizithra can be crumbled or sliced like mozzarella, while dried mizithra is used more for grating.

10. Aged Asiago

aged asiago

Asiago is an Italian cheese that ranges in texture depending on the aging point it reaches.

Young asiago cheese is a smooth, rich texture close to mild cheddar cheese. When it is entirely aged, it becomes crumbly and more similar to feta.

Asiago works as a decent substitute for feta cheese in dishes such as Greek pasta so it can melt in.

The flavor of asiago gets stronger as it ages, which is why aged asiago is the best choice to use in place of feta. It resembles feta’s sharp, salty flavor, so it compliments other common Greek ingredients very well.

11. Cheddar

cheddar

You may think cheddar seems very far off from feta, but in certain meals, it can slip into feta’s place quite nicely.

Avoid yellow cheddar, but white cheddar is relatively similar to feta. Yellow cheddar’s flavor goes in a sweeter direction while feta, and white cheddar, are saltier.

The texture is a bit smoother, and the taste is more robust, but a young cheddar won’t have as much pungent taste as aged cheddar.

Cut the cheddar into small cubes or crumble it by hand to make it similar to feta cheese.

12. Mozzarella

mozzarella cheese

Mozzarella is an Italian cheese made from Buffalo’s milk. The cheese is formed into dense balls that are typically sliced and served.

One thing you should note is that mozzarella is a milder flavor than feta with less salt. So adding a pinch or two to the mozzarella helps get it closer to feta cheese.

The texture is more rubbery and solid than crumbly feta. But like feta, mozzarella has a reasonably high melting point, so it’s great in baked dishes like TikTok’s Baked Feta recipe.

You should avoid mozzarella in dishes that are meant to be saltier because it can throw off the flavor. Moussaka and other eggplant dishes can come out on the blander side if the feta is replaced with mozzarella.  

Further Reading: Provolone vs. Mozzarella: Key Differences to Know

13. Roquefort

roquefort

One of the most popular varieties of bleu cheese is Roquefort. Made from sheep’s milk and aged well, Roquefort is creamy, pungent cheese that, when needed, can step in for feta cheese.

Bleu cheese can seem like an odd substitute for salty feta, but the flavor profile is similar enough it works in a few Greek dishes.

The texture is similar to that of brie, making it nearly impossible to crumble up like feta. However, the cheese has a low melting point, so it works well in baked dishes, not raw ones.

So avoid using Roquefort as a feta cheese substitute in dishes like Greek salad. This French cheese works in place of feta but shouldn’t be the first choice.

14. Gorgonzola

gorgonzola

Gorgonzola texture is very similar to feta cheese. It crumbles easily and has a buttery, salty taste that replaces feta very well in most Greek dishes.

The veins of bleu are the most noticeable difference when you replace feta with gorgonzola.

The Italian cheese has a richer flavor than feta and can wind up enhancing your favorite Greek recipes, bringing them to new heights of flavor.

The added bite from the bleu veins brings the flavor up a notch and compliments Greek ingredients like olives and tomatoes perfectly.

Non-Dairy & Vegan Substitute for Feta Cheese

1. Tofu

toufu

As far as appearance goes, tofu might look the most similar to feta cheese. Yet, the flavor profiles are entirely different.

Tofu is a soy-based product, it is a great vegan & non-dairy substitute for feta cheese but will need some help in the flavor department.

Some salt and a bit of pepper will go a long way in boosting the tofu’s taste. Crumbling up pressed, extra-firm tofu will result in very similarly shaped pieces as crumbled feta.

2. Nutritional Yeast

nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent vegan substitute for feta cheese. This option is versatile and has more flavor than many think. It can crumble similarly to feta, so it works well as a topping.

Unlike many cheese substitutes, nutritional yeast has a sharp, salty flavor that closely mimics feta cheese.

This option can make even better substitutes for feta cheese when mixed with other ingredients.

3. Cashew or Almond Cheese

cashew cheese

Another vegan substitute for feta cheese, vegan cheese made from nuts, is one of the best alternatives to dairy cheese. And as a substitute for feta cheese, it holds up well in most dishes.

Cashew and almond cheese are easy to make, and if you follow the right recipe, you can achieve a similar texture to feta cheese. The nuttiness of these vegan cheeses comes close to the taste of feta because of the salt content.

Either nut will work as a feta substitute, but to reach the most similar flavor, use cashews with a generous amount of salt for the best method. Almonds tend to be drier and blander than cashews.

4. Homemade Vegan Feta Cheese Recipe

Feta cheese is a beautiful addition to many meals and is almost essential when cooking Greek food.

For people that have gone vegan, the salty, crumbly feta may feel out of reach or an old friend from the past you had to say goodbye to.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case! This list features some great vegan substitutions for feta cheese like nut cheeses, tofu, and nutritional yeast.

Here is a recipe to get you as close to that fabulous feta flavor without compromising your values or diet.

This dairy-free tofu recipe is easy and ever so satisfying for those that have been dreaming about feta ever since they left it behind.

homemade vegan feta cheese

Homemade Vegan Feta Cheese

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes

Your dairy-free feta cheese recipe!

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces of extra firm tofu
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • ½ of water
  • ½ of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano or basil
  • Pinch or two of salt

Instructions

Step 1. First, you need to drain and press the tofu. Gently squeeze as much liquid from the block as you can.

Place the tofu between paper towels or absorbent towels and place it on a cutting board. Place another cutting board on top of the tofu block and add weight on top, such as a can of soup and leave for at least thirty minutes.

Step 2. While the tofu is being pressed, start the vegan marinade. Combine the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, water, and oregano in a bowl and stir until well-mixed. Add the salt until you like how it tastes.

Step 3. Remove the tofu from the cutting boards and towels and chop delicately into feta-sized pieces. Don't be worried if the cuts are a bit rough. Feta isn't usually in perfectly shaped cubes.

Step 4. Coat the diced tofu in the vegan marinade. Make sure each piece is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for about 4 hours.

Step 5. Taste a small piece after four hours and if you are happy with the taste, pull them out and enjoy! If the flavor isn't strong enough, leave it for another hour and taste again. Repeat until you reach the salty feta flavor you want.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g

Recipes with Feta Cheese

Here are some popular recipes that call for feta cheese, of course you can also use one of the above substitutes to make the meal.

Greek Salad


Whipped Feta Dip


Baked Feta & Tomatoes


Greek Feta Flatbread


FAQs About Feta Cheese

What does feta cheese taste like?

Feta cheese has a salty, tangy, and slightly sour flavor. This makes it the perfect addition to dishes that are high in flavor but low in calories. It is also a good source of protein, calcium, and other nutrients.

Feta cheese goes well with tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, lettuce, and other salad ingredients. It can also be used in pasta dishes, quesadillas, and other entrees.


What’s a good substitute for feta cheese when pregnant?

As is known to all, you can’t eat feta cheese when pregnant, you’d better eat some vegan replacement for feta cheese, such as toufu. It’s good for fetal development.

Which country is granted the right to be Europe’s sole producer of feta cheese?

The European Union approved the use of the label “feta” for cheese produced exclusively in Greece, effectively banning producers elsewhere from calling their cheese feta. The decision came after producers complained that cheap foreign knockoffs of the cheese were hurting sales.

European officials say that since feta is found on supermarket shelves in every country of the EU, the name should be protected as a geographical indication (GI), like Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and champagne.

Conclusion

As more of the world opts for veganism, there is a greater demand for substitutes for popular dairy products, especially cheese. Feta is the essence of many Greek dishes, so if you don’t eat feta or don’t have it around, keep these seventeen substitutes in mind.

Don’t suffer through another cheeseless moussaka or Greek salad, and keep these handy feta cheese substitutes in your metaphorical back pocket.

2 thoughts on “18 Dairy & Vegan Feta Cheese Substitutes for Healthy Recipes”
  1. This was really good in our pasta salad. The great flavour from the “feta”recipe was enhanced by the Italian herbs and spices from our pasta salad recipe. The extra firm tofu is a must for a great authenticity. Thank you!

    Reply

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